AudioReputation is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission Learn More
Static noise in headphones is a very common problem that most people have experienced at least once in their life. This issue may be related to a lot of different causes such as using the wrong audio settings in your device, improper connections, faulty wires, and even dirt in the connectors. That’s why in this article, we will go through how to fix static in headphones.
Fixing static in your headphones is a quite simple process because, in most cases, the problem stems from something that can be fixed in a matter of minutes. However, your headphones or listening device may be damaged. In this case, the fix will be more time-consuming and may require you to spend a little extra money.
In our guide, we will guide you through all steps on troubleshooting and fixing the static noise in your headphones using simple and understandable steps and terms.
Also Check: Bass Frequency Response on Headphones Explained
Table of Contents
- What is Static Noise and Where Does it Come From?
- Why Am I Hearing Static Sound in My Headphone?
- How to Get Rid of Headphone Static Noise
- Connect your Headphones to a Different Device / Try a Different Pair of Headphones
- Check your Audio Settings
- Disconnect your Laptop from the Power Outlet / Use a Grounded Connection
- Clean your Headphone Port
- Turn Off Potentially Interfering Devices (Wireless Headphones)
- Avoid Physical Obstructions (Wireless Headphones)
- Reset your Headphones (Wireless Headphones)
- Change your WiFi Router Channel (Wireless Headphones)
- Fix Headphone Static Noise on Different Devices
- 1. Windows PC
- 2. MacBook
- 3. Android Smartphone
- 4. iPhone (iOS)
- 5. Linux
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Static Noise and Where Does it Come From?
Static noise may be described as a frequent hiss sound that you can hear through your headphones, especially at quieter volumes. Static noise in itself may have infinite causes such as interference from other electronic devices, manmade radio waves, grounding issues, and even satellites in outer space.
Of course, the cause of static noise will also depend on whether your headphones are wired or wireless, but one fact that we can all agree on is that static noise can be quite annoying and will impact your listening experience.
Why Am I Hearing Static Sound in My Headphone?
As we said before, there may be a lot of different reasons why you are hearing static sounds in your headphone and it may be related to multiple causes. These include:
- Wrong audio settings
- Improper connections
- Faulty wires
- Damaged headphone driver
- Interference (in the case of wireless headphones)
Identifying and troubleshooting these is, most of the time, a simple task. We will explain below each cause and how to solve the problem according to your particular case.
1. Wrong Audio Settings
In this case, both the headphones and your listening device are functioning 100% well, still, you hear static noise. This case is difficult to troubleshoot because the solutions will vary depending on the device you’re primarily using your headphones with.
If you’re using an iPhone, for example, you may check your settings to see if anything is interfering. Streaming apps usually have a settings panel as well where you can tailor the sound to best suit your headphones.
Another possible issue is with the equalizer settings: your equalizer settings might be boosting super-high frequencies (usually above 10kHz). The majority of static noise content is located in that area so that would cause an imbalance in your sound.
2. Improper Connections
If you’re using a pair of wired headphones, then make sure that everything is connected correctly. It might sound silly but if you have a sound card that has, for example, both an AUX and headphone input, connecting your headphones to the AUX port will likely reflect on your sound quality.
3. Faulty Wires
This is a very common problem that I’m sure most of us have experienced at least once in our lives: having to fiddle around and bend your headphone wire at certain points until you get an audio signal. The problem is that once the audio signal finally comes through, the sound is drenched in static noise.
Headphone wires are usually fragile and prone to tear and wear. If your headphone has a detachable cable, try replacing it. Most headphones of the type use 3.5mm aux wires and they are very cheap.
In case the cable is not detachable, you will have to bring it to a repair shop in order to fix the issue. That shouldn’t cost that much.
We spend a considerable part of our day with our smartphones in our pockets and most people don’t even consider that little debris could easily accumulate inside your headphone or charging port.
This is a very common problem with the lightning ports found in iPhones but may easily appear on devices with a 3.5mm headphone port as well. This can cause problems in the connection between your headphones and your listening device.
If you’re using a computer or laptop, dirt and dust may accumulate inside the headphone port as well.
5. Damaged Headphone Driver
If your headphone has a damaged driver, it is prone to producing static noise. Of course, you should try all troubleshooting methods before considering your headphones are damaged.
If they truly are, not everything is lost. Repairs are usually cheap depending on the type of problem with your device.
Interference (In the Case of Wireless Headphones)
Wireless headphones are much more prone to interference than their wired counterparts. This is because your wireless pair communicates with your device continuously via BlueTooth or wireless receptors.
The thing is, we live in a world populated by waves that are traveling around us all the time. These may come from wireless routers, cellphone towers, radio stations, monitors, and even satellites in outer space.
All these things may result in static noise in your audio signal. Most wireless headphones are shielded against this type of interference; however, it is normal that you experience static with these devices from time to time.
There are simple things you can do to minimize this effect, though. If you’re using a wireless pair with receptors, make sure that the receiving device is as near you as possible and there isn’t any object in between.
If you’re using a Bluetooth pair, check the audio settings on your smartphone or computer/laptop to ensure you’re using the optimal settings. Also, try disconnecting and connecting your headphones to your device.
Also Check: Top 8 Loudest Headphones In 2022
How to Get Rid of Headphone Static Noise
Connect your Headphones to a Different Device / Try a Different Pair of Headphones
This will allow you to determine whether the problem is with your headphones, computer, laptop, or smartphone.
Check your Audio Settings
Regardless of the device you’re using; you should check your audio settings before doing any other procedure. In Macbooks, for example, the right audio device must be selected under “System Preferences” in order to provide the best audio signal.
Disconnect your Laptop from the Power Outlet / Use a Grounded Connection
If you’re using a laptop and experiencing static noise in your headphones, the problem can come from your power supply. Especially when the connection isn’t grounded, it can very easily cause interferences with your audio signal.
You can also use a power strip to charge your laptop since these usually solve any ground loop problems that may lead to static noise.
Clean your Headphone Port
Especially in the case of smartphones, the headphone port may accumulate debris over time that will prevent the headphone jack from making the proper connection with the equipment. In the case of computers and laptops, the most common offender is dust.
This can be easily solved by using a pair of tweezers or canned air. Clean the headphone port regularly.
Turn Off Potentially Interfering Devices (Wireless Headphones)
As we said, everything can interfere with your headphones in case they are wireless: wireless routers, keyboards, mouses, screens. Try turning them off or disconnecting one at a time to potentially find where the problem is.
After you find the problematic equipment, you can try reconnecting it since your computer/laptop will most of the time refresh the drivers and the static noise won’t be present anymore.
Avoid Physical Obstructions (Wireless Headphones)
The performance of wireless headphones can be impaired by physical obstructions, especially if you’re using a Bluetooth one. For example, a signal loss is likely to happen if there is anything between your laptop or smartphone and your Bluetooth headphones.
Each material has a different effect on obstructing Bluetooth signals. For example, wood and glass have the least interference, while concrete and metal are the most likely to interfere with your audio signal.
If you’re using a pair of wireless headphones with a USB receptor, try keeping the receptor as close as possible to the actual pair, and you should have a much better experience.
Reset your Headphones (Wireless Headphones)
Wireless headphones, especially Bluetooth ones, need to be reset repeatedly to ensure all drivers are working correctly. Each time you do a reset, the driver refreshes itself and solves any problems the pair may have with other potential interfering technologies such as WiFi.
To do so is very simple. You just need to access the Bluetooth settings in your computer/laptop or smartphone: the same place you accessed to connect your headphones. There, you will find an option called something along the lines of “Unpair Device”.
From there, simply unpair and pair your Bluetooth headphones again just like you did the first time you connected them.
Change your WiFi Router Channel (Wireless Headphones)
We mentioned before that you can try turning off potentially interfering devices to improve your wireless headphones’ audio signal. But, this isn’t a long-term solution since most of us have WiFi connection in our homes and need it daily.
The best solution is to change your WiFi router channel. Every wireless equipment makes use of a certain wavelength and it is very likely that your router is using the 2.4GHz wavelength: the same as your Bluetooth headphones.
Most modern WiFi routers allow you to use the 5GHz wavelength instead. This will prevent any interference with your Bluetooth headphones. To change the wavelength of your router, you must refer to the manual of your specific model.
Fix Headphone Static Noise on Different Devices
Depending on your device, the troubleshooting process will be different.
1. Windows PC
Update the Drivers
You can try updating the drivers on your Windows PC to see if that resolves the static noise on your headphones.
- Use the search box to enter and select “Device Manager”.
- Find and open the tab “Sound, video and game controllers”.
- Right-click “Realtek High Definition Audio”.
- Select “Update Driver Software”.
Simple as that, the audio drivers will be updated. We recommend that everyone do this step because it can not only be a potential fix for your static noise problem, but it is important to keep all your drivers updated.
Fix Corrupted Drivers
Sometimes drivers get corrupted, and simply updating them won’t do the job of solving static noise. In this case, we recommend you restart your computer before trying anything else.
You may need to reinstall the drivers if the problem is not solved. You can do this, in most cases, by going to your audio card manufacturer’s website and downloading the driver installers. In most cases with Windows PCs, it is Realtek.
It is also worth trying to use the Windows Troubleshooter for this task, especially if you’re unsure about how to reinstall the drivers on your PC.
Change the Audio Format
Sometimes changing the audio format on your Windows PC will do the trick of fixing static noise. You can find these settings under Sound > Playback > Speaker Properties. There, you will find a dropdown menu with different audio formats you can try.
- Use the search box to enter and find “Control Panel”.
- Find and select “Hardware and Sound”.
- Find and select “Sound”.
- Under the “Playback” tab, right-click on your speakers/headphones.
- Select “Properties”.
- Under the “Advanced” tab, you will find a dropdown menu with different audio formats for you to choose.
Scan your Computer for any Malware
While it may not seem likely, malware may be directly related to static noise. When you have malware on your computer/laptop, it can mess with the audio drivers and with the Bluetooth settings in case you’re using wireless headphones.
The solution is simple. You can use the built-in Windows Defender to scan for any potentially malicious software on your system.
- Go to your start menu and open “Settings”.
- Search and select “Update & Security”.
- Select “Windows Security”
- Select “Virus & threat protection”.
- Open “Settings”.
- Go to the “Current Threats” tab.
- Select “Quick Scan”.
The system will scan your files for any potential malware. Windows Defender usually does a very good job, but you can also try the free version of commercial antiviruses such as Avast.
Check your Settings
Try checking your settings if you’re experiencing static when using your headphones with your MacBook.
- Open “System Preferences.”
- Select “Sound.”
- Under “Output,” make sure your headphones are selected as the main output.
Update your OS
While Mac OS drivers can’t be reinstalled or updated separately, you can always update the OS. This will correct any potential compatibility problems that may be causing static noise in your headphones.
Disconnect other Bluetooth Devices (In Case you’re Using Wireless Headphones)
As we said before, sometimes different wireless devices can interfere. For example, if you’re using a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse along with your wireless headphones, it is worth disconnecting one device at a time to check if the static noise isn’t caused by interference.
If it is, then the simple act of disconnecting and reconnecting your different Bluetooth devices should allow your MacBook to reset its drivers and allow you to continue using the multiple wireless devices.
Check the Activity Monitor
Contrary to the popular belief, MacBooks are not immune to malware. It is true that Apple computers are less prone to malicious software, but it can still happen and potentially mess with your audio and Bluetooth settings.
The activity monitor is a great built-in tool to identify any potential threatening malware.
- Select “Launchpad”.
- Select “Others.”
- Select “Activity Monitor.”
- Sort by “% CPU.”
- Scan for any unidentified software.
If you spot any suspicious activity, don’t shut it down just yet because it is easy to mistake an actually important system process with a malicious one. Instead, download a free tool such as CleanMyMac and scan for any malware.
Do a System Clean Up
The tool we mentioned in the last topic, CleanMyMac, is one of the most popular when it comes to keeping your Mac clean and tidy. The tool can scan for registry problems, malware, and overall make your Mac faster.
These actions can potentially solve headphones’ static noise, but we recommend them to every Mac user who wants to keep their system clean and organized.
3. Android Smartphone
Update your Android Version
Updating your Android version can solve a lot of problems. Google releases updates every once in a while so you should keep your eyes open in order to have your phone always updated.
In the case of static noise, Android updates can solve any problems related to registry files or drivers inside your smartphone. This includes issues with WiFi and Bluetooth, so especially useful if you use wireless headphones.
The steps will vary depending on your Android smartphone model, but in most models, it will go something like this:
- Open “Settings”.
- Select “About Phone”.
- Select “Check for Updates”.
- Wait until your Android smartphone is done updating.
Do a Factory Reset
A factory reset can work wonders for solving any problems related to audio settings in your Android smartphone. Be aware that this should be a last resort, and you must back up your files before attempting the steps.
Back up your files first! You can backup your Android smartphone content either to a computer/laptop or Google Drive (or your preferred cloud storage service).
First Step – Backing Up
- Open “Settings.”
- Select “Google.”
- Turn on the option “Backup by Google One.”
- On the main backup page, select “Backup Now.”
Second Step – Performing the Factory Reset
- Open “Settings.”
- Select “Backup and Reset.”
- Select “Factory Data Reset.”
- Select “Reset Device.”
- Select “Erase Everything.”
Once again, ensure you’ve performed a backup of your Android Smartphone before doing the Factory Reset.
4. iPhone (iOS)
Perform a Soft Reset
A soft reset can be an excellent solution to a wide range of iPhone problems, including static noise. It is also very simple to do.
- Hold the power button and turn your phone off.
- Wait a minute or two.
- Turn your iPhone on again.
- Check if the problem was solved.
Check your iPhone Settings.
In a lot of cases, checking your iPhone settings can do quite a lot to solve any potential problems the smartphone may have. In the case of static noise, we advise you to check if there aren’t any potential offenders to the audio signal, such as the equalizer boosting ultra-high frequencies.
- Go to “Settings.”
- Select “Music”
- Select “Equalizer.”
- Turn off the equalizer. You can also try different settings to see if they could potentially lessen the problem.
Another thing to try, if you’re using wireless headphones, is unpairing and pairing the pair with your smartphone once again.
Try Turning On “Airplane Mode”
The Airplane mode feature found in all smartphones will turn off your WiFi, cellphone reception, and any potential functions that could interfere with wireless headphones. This is not a long-term solution, but it could help temporarily solve the problem.
- Open “Control Center” by swiping down on the upper right portion of the screen.
- Select the airplane icon.
Alternatively, you could try turning off potential interfering functions one at a time to find where the problem is. It is worth noting that this solution will work with Android smartphones too.
If you find that a certain function in your iPhone is interfering with your Bluetooth headphones, it is best to take it to a Genius Bar at an Apple Store.
Update and Fix your Drivers
Similar to Windows PCs, Linux computers are also prone to registry errors and corrupted drivers that could potentially impact your listening experience and cause static noise in your headphones.
The difference is that most Linux drivers are built-in inside the system, meaning you can’t reinstall them. Still, you can look for additional drivers to solve compatibility problems with audio cards, for example.
- Open the Dashboard.
- Search and select “Additional Drivers”
- Update all audio-related drivers.
Before you do these steps, it is worth as well trying a few simple solutions, such as restarting your system to see if the static noise problem goes away.
Also Check: Best Headphones Under 500
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much does it Cost to Have a Pair of Headphones Fixed?
This will largely depend on where you live, your particular model of headphones, and whether the fix is something simple or something more complex. Simple repairs such as replacing the jack connector shouldn’t be too expensive.
However, more complex repairs, such as replacing the headphone physical drivers, are usually more expensive. You should consider whether or not it is worth having your headphones repaired versus buying another pair.
In the case of Bluetooth headphones, a common problem is a faulty battery. Batteries are prone to degradation over time. Depending on your wireless pair model, the cost to replace a battery can range from very cheap up to a hundred dollars.
Are Bluetooth Headphones More Prone to Static Noise?
Yes. As we mentioned in our article, Bluetooth headphones have to maintain a constant connection with your computer/laptop or smartphone. Since this wireless connection, certain things could interfere with the audio signal: waves from WiFi routers, for example, and microwaves.
Apart from that, physical barriers could also mean degradation in the audio signal. Most modern Bluetooth headphones are shielded from this type of problem; however, it can happen quite frequently with certain pairs.
Should I Buy Bluetooth or Wireless USB Headphones?
It depends on your particular application. Bluetooth headphones are better for those on the go and for smartphones, while wireless pairs with a USB receiver are better suited for computers and laptops.
Consider your application when deciding the best option for your particular use case. It is worth noting that, for PC usage, wireless USB headphones usually perform better since you can position the receiver freely, therefore avoiding any potential barriers between it and the pair.
Also Read: USB Headphones
As we discussed, static noise in headphones is a common problem that might happen to everyone. There isn’t a single cause of static noise: it could stem from faulty wires, corrupted drivers, dirty headphone ports, and interference (in the case of wireless headphones).
Whichever your particular use case might be, always try simple solutions and try them all. Sometimes you don’t even need to go that far in solving these kinds of problems: simply cleaning the headphone port, for example, might be all you need to do.
If you find that your headphones are damaged, we suggest taking them to a repair shop since, in a lot of cases, the pair can be cheaply repaired.
We hope our article on how to fix static in headphones was helpful. If you have any suggestions for our website or any underlying questions about the subject, feel free to contact us!
Hello, my name is James Longman.
I’m a writer and editor at AudioReputation. I disassembled my first portable AM/FM radio when I was only 8. At the age of 11, I burned the circuit board on my old boombox cassette player. I’m not going to explain how but it was reckless and stupid.
Since then, I have become much more careful around radios, boomboxes, and other audio devices (at least, I like to think so) but I have never lost the passion for audio equipment. Throughout 20 years of my professional career, I’ve been working for various audio equipment manufacturers and even started building speakers on my own in my little workshop.
I love the work we do here at AudioReputation. Testing, comparing, and evaluating all kinds of audio devices (speakers, soundbars, headphones, home theater systems, etc.) is something I truly enjoy. I try to be unbiased and give you my honest opinion on every piece of equipment I test. Still, you should take my reviews with a pinch of salt and always be just a little bit skeptical. The fact that I liked some speaker or soundbar doesn’t mean that you are going to love it. If you have the opportunity, you should test it/hear it before buying it.