Headphones do not work: You can do this if you have problems

Headphones do not work: You can do this if you have problems

Your headphones don't work? This can apply to headphones with a cable connection as well as Bluetooth headphones, PC headsets and iPhone earphones. This is what you have to do if the headphones go on strike.

Turn on the headphones

You don't have to switch on conventional cable headphones, just plug them in. Bluetooth headphones and those with built-in amplifiers do, however. Make sure the on switch is flipped – this is usually on the side or outside of one of the earphones.


You have to switch on Bluetooth headphones like the Bose Headphones 700. Picture:

Turn the headphones off and on again

The classic among the technology tips could also solve the problem here: Switch the headphones off and on again – or remove the cable and plug it in again.

Charge the headphones

You have to charge Bluetooth and wireless headphones regularly or change the batteries. Maybe the headphones just don't work because the battery is empty. Sometimes the display still shows a full battery, although it has already been emptied. To be on the safe side, charge the headphones and see if they work again.

Connect the headphones to another device

Your headphones don't have to be defective. You can easily find out whether something is wrong with it by connecting it to another device. Plug the jack cable into another playback device such as a PC, smartphone or stereo system or pair the Bluetooth headphones with another device. If playback works now, the problem is not with the headphones.

Check whether the playback device supports USB or Bluetooth

xbox-series-x (1)

The Xbox Series X does not work with Bluetooth headsets. Picture:

Your computer may not have a bluetooth module and therefore you cannot connect a bluetooth headset. Also, USB audio playback is not possible with all devices that have a USB port. This is not possible with the Xbox One, for example. These and the Xbox One X / S are also not compatible with Bluetooth headsets.

Turn up the volume

Maybe you've turned the volume down by mistake and therefore can't hear anything. Turn up the volume on your smartphone or Bluetooth headphones and listen to see if you can hear the sound.

Connect the headphones to the correct device

There are Bluetooth headphones that you can pair with multiple devices at the same time. Usually they automatically switch to the device that is playing sound. To be on the safe side, check whether the headphones are paired with the playback device. It is also conceivable that the jack input is deactivated when using Bluetooth or the Bluetooth connection when using a cable.

If necessary, deactivate the Bluetooth connection if you want to use the headphones with a cable, and remove the cable if you are using Bluetooth. Sometimes too many devices are paired at once – remove the ones you don't use.

Clean the connections

Both the audio output on the playback device and the audio input on the headphones could be dirty. You can check this with a flashlight. Blow in the port or use a compressed air cleaner to remove the dust. A cotton swab can also help.

Try a different cable

Audio quality-4

The jack cable could be defective. Picture:

The problem can also be with the audio cable. A defective audio cable may cause a loose connection or may not work at all. Try a different cable.

Use another app

The app for playing music on the smartphone can also be faulty. Try playing another app. It may be worthwhile to update the defective application.

Do a firmware update

Modern Bluetooth headphones sometimes receive firmware updates. These are also used for troubleshooting. You can usually download the updates wirelessly via the provider app, sometimes you have to update the headphones via a USB cable.

Check whether the amplifier or sound card has enough power

Creative-Sound-Blaster-X-AE-5 sound card

Sound cards like the Creative Sound Blaster X AE 5 usually have enough power for sophisticated headphones. Image: © Creative 2020

Some sophisticated audiophile headphones need a powerful amplifier with a correspondingly high impedance. 600 ohms are enough for the most demanding headphones. Such headphones sound too quiet on weak amplifiers or mainboards.

Headphones don't work in Windows – here's how to do it

  • Select your headphones as the output device under "Sound> Output> Select output device".
  • Adjust the volume by clicking the speaker icon in the lower right corner of the taskbar.
  • Go to "Sound> Output> Device Properties> Additional Device Properties> Enhancements" and click on "Disable all enhancements". If you click "Apply", sound manipulations such as surround sound, which sometimes do not work properly, are deactivated.
  • Right click on the speaker icon in the taskbar and go to "Troubleshoot Sound Problems", then follow the instructions on the screen.
  • Open the Device Manager, go to "Audio, Video and Game Controllers", right click the audio device and go to "Update Driver". Follow the instructions on the screen.
  • Install the latest Windows updates under "Windows Update> Check for Updates".

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