How to Stop Headphones from Popping: Ultimate Guide

Picture this: You have a long day at work or school. You get home to relax and try to play some of your favorite soundtracks or video-games. And right then-



Sorry for ruining the picture for you. But if you own a pair of headphones that are doing this, you are not the first one. You are probably super frustrated by the crackling, popping and static sounds that your headphones are making. These issues contribute to a decrease in the overall audio quality as well.

Headphones are a piece of essential equipment for your daily activities and their quality, even more. Those annoying sounds you hear are fixable. But how? Do not give this question too much thought because I am here to answer it! You have got nothing to worry about because I have taken it upon myself to discuss ways you can tackle this problem.

Before we talk further, you need to understand why you are experiencing this problem. Continue reading to find out some reasons why you are headphones are acting out.

Identifying the Problem

Before you go ahead and try out the solutions given below, I recommend you reduce the volume of the device your headphones are connected to. If you stop facing this problem after doing this, your headphones were probably popping due to one of the following reasons:

  • Your headphones are not capable of handling the volume
  • Or the amplifier that you are using does not have sufficient power to drive the headphones

Here are some reasons why your headphones may have been producing audio disturbances. Check out the questions I have listed and see if you can relate to any of them.

Have you checked for loose or broken cables?

This one is a common problem. There is generally some plastic covering surrounding your wire that ensures their protection.

Wires allow the transmission of electrical signals to be relayed to speakers. This plastic or rubber material is easily bent, which makes the wires prone to breakage if not handled carefully. The areas where the headphone cable is susceptible to breaking might lead to damage of the wires connecting to the jack.

Consequently, the signals get disconnected that ultimately causes popping sounds.

For a quick fix, you can try some electrical tape. But if the damage is more serious, you will need to get professional help. If stripping the rubber to fix the wire does not work either, it is probably time to start looking for a new pair of headphones.

 Are there any problems with your Auxillary (AUX) Port?

Another common problem that people with popping headphones observe is a problematic Auxillary Port or the headphone jack.

Here is the easiest, and in my opinion, the best way to figure this out. Plugin your headphones to a different port and with different devices as well. When you plug it in, make sure that it is correctly plugged into the port. A loose or partial plugging-in can cause static sounds because of inadequate signal transmission. Now, check if the popping is still audible. This way, you can find out if your headphone jack is the one that needs repairing.

How is the condition of your headphone driver?

If the condition of your headphone driver is causing crackling sounds, it is absolute worst!

Your headphone driver could be damaged due to various reasons such as high volumes, improper wiring, physical pressure, or long-term usage. Damaged headphone drivers are not too common unless there has been physical impairment (dropping something substantial on them, stepping on them, etc.)

Regardless, if you find out that the reason your headphones have been popping is due to impaired headphone drivers, it is time to get them replaced. Check if your warranty still exists so you can get a free replacement.

Are your EQ settings poor?

Your headphone may start to pop if you have personalized your EQ settings. Popping, crackling, and static sounds are mostly heard when the audio is at a high volume setting. If the bass or treble is too high, it may have maxed the volume out. This volume setting might be too high for the media player to accommodate.

You can start by adjusting the volume to a lower setting and checking whether the issue is still present. But if you still hear these sounds even after changing the volume, your EQ settings are not what is at fault.

Have you updated your sound card or audio drivers?

Updating your sound card or audio drivers to the latest version might help you get rid of any popping in your headphones. You can get a new sound driver by downloading them on your PC or contacting your manufacturer.

To ensure that your audio drivers are always up-to-date with the latest ones in the market, you can opt for an automatic update on your system. This way, you do not have to do it manually every time you need to update it.

Are your speakers broken?

If none of the above reasons, your speakers are probably broken. Listening to audio on high volume, poor wiring, long-term usage, improper care, etc. can result in damaged speakers. If you still have the warranty for your headphones, you can get them replaced if they have specified it in the Terms and Conditions. If you do not have that option, I recommend buying yourself a new pair of headphones.

Ways You Can Fix Headphone Popping

Finally, to the solutions. I have talked about some solutions you can try out if you are headphones are popping. You do not need to try all of them. Just read your way through our list and see what suits you the best.

1. Reconnect Your Headset:

Disconnecting and reconnecting your headphones sounds like a basic solution, I know. But you still need to give it a try! Move the device you are working on around and move the headset to another place. If you find out that the problem lies in the interference, you will have to move the device and your headphones accordingly, until you hear clear audio. Try to reset your headphones, move its base away from the computer, change its channel to try and fix this problem.

 2. Check the Hardware:

Connect your headphones to other devices and see if they work all right. If they do, your headphones are not the problem. If they still do not, there is a high possibility that you have faulty headphones that need to be fixed. You can contact the manufacturing company to take a look at them or to get them replaced.

Try them on different ports on your PC as well to test how they work. If they usually work, it means one of your PC ports is at fault. If the cracking persists, you need to troubleshoot this audio popping issue.

 3. Look for Loose Wires:

You probably hear popping or crackling sounds due to a loose wire either in your headphones or the cord. If you can listen to it when you speak and people on the other end can hear the sounds too, you have a problematic mic. Try to wiggle the cord near the plug and move the mic around to detect where the loose connection might be present.

When you figure out where the loose connection exists, you can loop the wire or tape it down to stop hearing these sounds temporarily. You can use this method until you have the link fixed, or you get a replacement.

 4. Try Updating the Audio Driver:

Using the wrong audio driver or out-of-date audio drivers can also help you get rid of the popping sounds. Try to update your audio driver and see if this eliminates your problem. If you think you do not have the time or knowledge to update your audio driver manually, check out automatic methods. This way, you can find out what kind of drivers are perfect for your headphones.

 5. Change the Sound Format and Exclusive Mode:

Exclusive mode means that one particular app will take control of the device, which does not allow any other apps to control it. However, this feature may hinder the performance of your audio drivers, causing popping or crackling sounds. Try to manage the audio devices by clicking on the Windows logo key on your PC.

Change these settings and check whether you are still facing audio disturbances. If this has not worked. Try switching up the audio formats and see if it works.

 6. Alter the Minimum Processor State:

Try to adjust the minimum processor state. Many people have claimed that this is a super-effective way for people facing headphones popping.

7. Test Your Headphone Jack:

Plugging your headphones into various devices will give you an idea of whether the problem is with your headphone jack. You can also try other pairs of headphones to see if the popping still exists. If it does, your computer’s sound card is probably what is responsible for the audio disturbance.

Try cleaning your computer’s sound card with a cotton swab. Use some rubbing alcohol to rub gently. After you are done cleaning the jack, let them sit to dry. Make sure you have placed the sound card back in correctly, without improper seating.

Final Thoughts

I hope I helped you understand the ‘Why’s’ and ‘How’s’ of headphone popping through this article. With everything that is going on, all you need is a peaceful sound experience; you deserve it!

Here is a recap of the ways you can fix your crackling headphones:

  • Check the Hardware
  • Try Updating the Audio Driver
  • Change the Sound Format and Exclusive Mode
  • Alter the Minimum Processor State

If the methods we have discussed above have still not helped, I recommend you either taking them to the store or just finding a new pair of headphones if your current ones are beyond repair.

In conclusion, do not take the crackling or popping sounds too lightly. Not only can they be maddening, but also harmful depending on their severity and consistency. Figure out why your headphones are producing such sounds before you replace them or cause further damage to your device. This will also enable you to find the proper fix.

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Paul Goral

I am the founder of North Creek Music and I have a master’s degree in Engineering Acoustics. Sound is my passion. I wanted to start this blog and share my passion with others.

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