What to Do With Broken Headphones | 6 Best Ideas

Although headphones are great listening devices, they can break at any time. 

Don’t be quick to dispose of your broken headphone when they do because you can reuse some of their parts. 

And if you try to repair your broken headphone and it doesn’t work, you can recycle the functioning parts to make other gadgets.

This article will discuss extensively six things you can do with your broken headphones. But first, let’s see some of the reusable and recyclable headphone parts. Which Headphone Part can be Reused or Recycled?

Headphone Parts: Which Ones Can Be Reused or Recycled?

Headphones are made of different components. Some of these components can be reused or recycled if your headphone breaks. And some of them can’t. Then again, you might be able to use them or not, depending on the level of damage to the individual parts.

Let’s learn about the headphone parts.

Headbands

Most headphones bands are usually made from hard PVC, which isn’t recyclable. If the headband is damaged beyond repair, sell it for parts.

Earbuds

These are made from rubber, latex, silicone, or leather. If your earbuds are made of latex, you can’t recycle them. 

Speakers

The materials in your headphone speakers include copper coils, magnets (metal), and cones (plastic). All of these materials are recyclable.

Cord

Headphone cords are made of rubber insulators and aluminum or copper wires, all of which can be recycled.

Jack

The headphone jack plug, which connects your earphone to other devices, is made up of copper and a metal or PVC casing. Both the copper and metal material can be recycled.

What to do with a broken headphone

If you have some broken headphones lying around in your apartment, here are five things you can do with them.

1. Fix your headphone

Fixing broken headphones is pretty easy, as most times, all you need is a little soldering skill and the replacement part.

If, for example, you suspect that your headphone jack is faulty, you can easily replace the plug instead of spending exorbitantly on a new headphone.

Another common problem with headphones is damage to the cable’s internal wiring, which is also simple to fix.

2. Give the headphone to manufacturers or recycling facilities

If your headphones are beyond repair, give them out to the manufacturer or recyclers nearby. These people will help you properly dispose of the headphone and even pay a few cents for your donation.

3. Trade your headphones

Take your broken headphones to a store that accepts trade-ins and exchange them for cash or gift cards. This is an excellent way to get some money back if you are saving for a new headphone.

4. Convert your headphones to speakers

There’s a good chance that your broken headphones aren’t ever going to work again. However, if you are in for some technical DIY, you can convert the headphones into working speakers. Here’s a quick guide on how to turn your broken headphones into speakers

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The Materials You Need

Steps

  1. Peel off the external casing of your broken headphone until only the speakers and the headphone circuit board are left.
  2. Next, open up the Bluetooth speaker. This step may require removing a few screws and melting the glue holding the Bluetooth speaker in place.
  3. Desolder the old speakers from the headphone circuit board and then solder the new speakers to the board.
  4. Now connect the headphone to your device and test your speakers.

5. Keep the good parts as replacement parts

As we said earlier in this article, headphones are made of several parts that perform different functions. 

You can open up your broken headphones and save the still-functioning parts as replacement parts. These sets may be helpful to fix other listening gadgets.

Unscrew the broken headphone and see if you can reserve anything. Here’s what the replacement parts can do for you.

Headband

If the headband of your old headphone isn’t broken, you can save them and use them in case your new headphone’s band snaps or splits. 

Using your replacement headband to fix this issue will save you some unforeseen costs.

Earpads

If your earpads still look good, keep them as a replacement if your new headphone’s earpad begins to split and expose the foam inside.

Plug and cable

The jack plug and cables of a headphone are fragile and quickly get damaged. However, a replacement part can help you fix this issue. All you need to do is replace the faulty plug and cable.

6. Turn your headphone into a lavalier microphone

Since microphones and speakers operate similarly, you can turn your broken headphone into a lavalier microphone. Lavalier microphones are small collar-mounted microphones commonly used in interviews and presentations.

However, this will only work if your headphone’s in-line microphone is still intact. See the steps below:

Materials needed

  • A pair of headphones
  • Black electrical tape
  • Scissors
  • Black sharpie
  • Tie clip

Steps

  1. Cut off the base where the headphone splits and then cut off the headphone wire after the microphone.
  2. Use your sharpie to color the microphone piece and the splitter (optional) black.
  3. Wrap the cord with your tape from the microphone piece to where the headphones split.
  4. Now use the tape to connect the tie clip to the microphone piece. Make sure the tie clip and the microphone both end at the same time to keep everything looking neat.

Takeaway

As you have seen from this article, broken headphones are not entirely useless. 

Before disposing of your broken headphones, first, check to see if you can fix them. The problem could be with the cables; perhaps the headphones are making buzzing sounds, or the audio jack won’t stay in the port. These issues are minute and straightforward to fix.

However, if the headphones seem completely broken and beyond repair, you can drop them off at a recycling center to have them reprocessed. Also, consider saving the functional parts if you’ll need them later for other repairs.

Jude is a music and headphone lover. He has tested and reviewed several audio listening devices and enjoys writing helpful tips and information for readers like you.