Why is My Headphone Audio Distorted? (Explained & Solved)

Nobody enjoys listening to distorted headphone audio, and everybody loves audio quality that is loud, clear, and without distortion. The first step to fixing poor audio signals is to know the reason(s) behind them. Let’s see.

The common causes of headphone audio distortion include errors in headphone connection, wrong EQ settings, broken cables, corrupt soundtrack, accumulated dirt, incompatible audio, and auxiliary port problem. 

That is not all there is. Read on to find out why your headphone audio is distorted and how to fix it.

Top Reasons Your Headphone Audio is Distorted

Here are the top reasons your headphone audio distorts. 

Jack Plug Connection Problem

Improper headphone connection can cause audio distortion in headphones since wired headphones connect to your device through the audio port. The headphone audio may distort if the jack plug does not connect to the audio port.

Disconnect the headphone jack plug and ensure a proper and firm reconnection to the auxiliary port. If the problem persists, the Jack plug may be faulty, and you need to replace it. 

Wireless Connection Issue

Wireless headphones do not need the headphone Jack plug to connect to your device. The connection is wireless and usually through Bluetooth.

Your audio will distort if your wireless headphone does not pair with your device correctly or if the headphone is far away from the audio device. Other factors that can cause connection issues on wireless headphones are low battery and multiple Bluetooth pairing.

Here are the tips to fix your headphone wireless connection issues.

  • Disconnect the headphones and pair them with your device again.
  • Keep the headphone close to the audio source.
  • Charge the headphones.
  • Avoid multiple Bluetooth connections at a time. Disconnect other wireless devices like a smartwatch that connects to your audio source.
  • Update your headphone firmware.

When you take care of Bluetooth connection issues, you increase the chances of fixing distorted audio on your headphones.

Wrong Audio Settings

Wrong audio settings can distort your headphone’s audio and cause an unpleasant experience. Keeping your EQ, volume, and other audio settings balanced will produce quality sound output.

On the other hand, loud volume and imbalanced EQ settings will reduce the quality of the audio output and can lead to distorted headphone audio.

The EQ settings should be the go-to if audio distortion results from an imbalance between the treble, bass, and other parts.

If you do not know how to balance the EQ settings, reset it to default, and adjust the headphone volume to a moderate level. 

Audio Port Problems

For wired headphones, audio signals flow to the headphone through the audio port on your personal computer, smartphone, Xbox console, or other devices. 

A problem with this audio port can cause headphone audio distortion like the headphone jack plug. The causes of audio port problems may vary from one device to another. But, the most common are:

  • Accumulation of dirt or junk.
  • A broken connection between the audio port and your panel or motherboard.

You can fix the audio port problem by:

  • Cleaning the audio port carefully with compressed air, cotton swabs, or a soft brush.
  • Ensuring a good connection between the audio port and your panel or motherboard. Although, you may need the help of a technician to do this. 

Accumulation of Dirt

The accumulation of dirt is dangerous to your device’s audio port. In the same way, it is dangerous to your headphone jack plug and speakers. When the jack plug gets dirty, it will not connect properly to your device.

Clean the headphone plug properly and ensure the audio port is dust-free.  

Low Battery

Wireless headphones with low batteries may fail to output quality audio because headphones with low batteries will lack sufficient power to perform well.

Since the Bluetooth connection is no longer strong because of the low battery, audio distortion is inevitable. However, charging the headphone will fix this.

Outdated Firmware

Outdated firmware could cause headphone audio distortion. 

For example, if your device’s audio driver is not up-to-date, it can result in audio distortion. An outdated audio driver probably lacks the features to work efficiently with the latest technology and will not drive the device’s audio correctly.

Aside from outdated audio drivers, wireless headphones with outdated firmware will also malfunction. Bluetooth connection in these headphones will falter and can lead to distorted headphone audio.

Always check for firmware updates for your device and headphone, and install them.

Audio Source Problem

Troubleshooting your headphone will not be necessary to fix distorted audio if the problem is with the audio itself. This may be the case if your headphone audio does not distort when you make calls, but it does when you play a song. 

Some audio files have low quality, and others corrupt over time. Whatever the case, it will compromise the audio quality.

Also, headphone audio may distort if the quality of the file you’re playing is higher than the quality of the player. Low-quality video and audio players may not play some high-quality videos and audio, and if they do, the audio output will distort. 

Troubleshoot the problem to find a fix. Start by playing another file to confirm if the problem lies with the current file. If it persists, then you may have an incompatible player. Try using a different player, or use your headphones with another working device like a PC or smartphone. 

Damaged or Broken Wires

Another reason your headphone audio will distort is a break in transmission due to broken wires. Again, this is a problem with wired headphones. The wire connecting your headphone to your device is a weak but crucial component in the headphone.

Unnecessary cable pulling or improper handling of the headphone will cause the wire to break easily, and this can cause audio distortion.

You can fix damaged wires by wrapping them with electrical tape, but it requires expertise.

Broken Speakers

A broken speaker is a broken headphone, and it can distort headphone audio. The speakers in headphones are made from flexible materials, and these materials weaken when you use the headphone at loud volumes for extended periods.

You should test your speakers with a multimeter to confirm if it breaks or not. A speaker in good condition will read an impedance of one, while a broken speaker will read infinite impedance. If your speaker breaks, the recommendable fix is to replace the speaker.

Headphone speaker replacement is technical and requires technical skill, and it is best to consult a professional for help.

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.