Headphones Making Static Noise – What You Can Do

There’s more than one reason why your headphones may be making static noises. Even if it’s just the headphones and not your speakers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your headphones are broken. Headphones generally have higher rated sensitivities than speakers, so you can hear static noises easier.

Headphones Making Static Noise - What You Can Do

Multiple problems also mean multiple solutions. Although they are easy to implement, it may take some time before you figure out which situation applies to your problem.

Check for Hardware Issues

Cable or Wi-Fi receiver issues

First, plug your headphones into another computer or tablet to check if you get the same static noise. If the problem persists, you probably need new headphones, or at the very least a new cable.

If your headphones have a wireless feature, you might want to check and see if the hissing noise persists during both wired and wireless connections.

Sound Card Issues

If you’re still not convinced that the headphones are at fault or if you don’t have another device with which to test them, then inspect your sound card. Start by powering off your system and removing the side panel of your PC case.

Ensure that the sound card is plugged firmly in its designated port. If the sound card is integrated into your motherboard, move on to the next step.

Control Buttons

Although this is a problem only with cheap headphones, it is still possible that faulty volume control buttons are the source of hissing noise. If the controls are damaged, they might create unwanted interference at certain volume levels. Adjust the dial or knob in each direction as slowly as you can to detect possible defects.

Verify the Audio Port Connection

Plugging your headphones in the wrong port may result in static feedback. This won’t usually happen if you plug them into the microphone port, but it may happen if the headphones are plugged into the line-out port.

Checking for Software Issues

Depending on what type of sound card you have, you may or may not have access to a dedicated control interface. If you have one, try to adapt the following tutorial for the menu available in your control interface.

This is how you can adjust the audio settings to avoid static by using the Windows interface.

  1. Right click the speaker icon on the taskbar
  2. Open the Playback devices window
  3. Double click Headphones
  4. Choose Levels
  5. Set Microphone volume to 0
  6. Select the Enhancements tab
  7. Select Disable all enhancements
  8. Apply and exit

Disabling sound effects can often get rid of static feedback in headphones. If you plug your headphones into the speaker system and not directly into the sound card, disable sound effects for your speakers as well to be extra safe.

Tinkering with the recording settings may also help if the problem persists.

  1. Right click the speaker icon on the taskbar
  2. Select Microphone/Recording devices
  3. From the Levels tab, set the volume to 0

Check to see if there is still any static when you plug in your headphones.

Updating the audio drivers may also help. If you’re not using a third-party program to monitor the status of all drivers on your system, proceed to the manufacturer page for your motherboard or for your dedicated sound card.

Download the installation kit for the latest driver that fits your OS (32-bit or 64-bit). Alternatively, you may also update the driver from Device Manager.

  1. Open Run dialogue box or Search Box
  2. Type device manager and press Enter
  3. Find Sound, video and game controllers
  4. Expand the list
  5. Locate your audio device
  6. Right click on it to open context menu
  7. Select properties
  8. Select Driver tab
  9. Select update driver

It is best to reboot your system after updating or installing a fresh audio driver for the changes to take effect.

Alternative Tip

Some integrated sound cards seem to stop producing static noise if you install a third-party audio driver. Asio4All is often used to fix input/output latency issues when using programs such as Cubase. It is also known to fix static noise issues. The default settings of the driver should work just fine on any system.

Note that you will still need the latest driver version for your sound card before installing Asio4All.

A Final Thought

Although most of the time static noise comes from faulty cables or damaged speakers, it is possible for a software incompatibility to also be the cause. Short of your sound card being damaged internally, you can figure out the problem and implement a solution for just about any causes of static noise if you follow the tips in this article.

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