What to Do with Broken Headphones

If you’re not sure how headphones work, it’s time to brush up. You can check out our post about headphone tech to learn more about the inner workings of your trusty earbuds.

It happens. You’re minding your own business, jamming out to some tunes, and suddenly there’s a snap or a crack or a pop – and the music goes silent. It usually means at least one of the earbuds has broken off inside your ear canal. Or maybe you tugged just a little too hard on that tangled cord – and it broke in your hand.

Is there anything more frustrating than having a trusty pair of headphones suddenly break on you? Whether the cord is frayed or the earbuds are torn, it can be a real headache to figure out what to do with them. Is there anything more frustrating than having a trusty pair of headphones suddenly break on you? Whether the cord is frayed or the earbuds are torn, it can be a real headache to figure out what to do with them. 

So the question arises, “what to do with broken headphones?”

Now you don’t need to worry about it. Here is the solution to all your headphone problems, whether you have broken headphones or frayed ones.

How Do Headphones Work?

Headphones, also known as earphones and earbuds, are small audio speakers that fit in or on your ears. They come in a couple of different styles: over-ear headphones and in-ear headphones.

Over-ear headphones (also called circumaural) go around the outside of your ear and have cushioned pads to make a seal. This type of headphone is usually more comfortable and isolates better, but it takes up a lot more space in your bag.

In-ear headphones (or earbuds) fit in the opening of your outer ear and are held in place with plastic or rubber tips that form a seal inside your ear canal. They’re smaller and more portable than over-ear headphones.

How to recycle headphones?

Headphones are made of many different components and materials that shouldn’t just be thrown in the trash. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to recycle old headphones and give them new life. We’ve highlighted some ways you can reuse your broken headphones and keep them out of landfills.

A few examples:

1) Headphone earpiece cushions can be replaced. You can also make them new by using Velcro or foam ear pads

2) Headphone cables are easy to replace and there many online stores that offer cheap replacement cables

3) Use broken headphones as a coiled snake for your desk

4) If the headphone is completely busted, you can use them as a cord organizer.

So now you know what to do with broken headphones. With these tips, your old pair of headphones can be as good as new in no time.

What to Do with Broken Headphones – Step by step guide 2022

You don’t have to throw out your old pair of broken headphones even when they break. You can fix them back easily and perfectly by using a few spare parts or DIY tricks. Here’s how:

Step 1: Fix Ear Pads

This is an easy task as you only need to replace the ear cushions on your headphone pads. These cushions are usually made from velour, memory foam, or leather and can be replaced with any piece of cloth that fits well around the driver unit. If needed, you can also use pieces of foam covered in cloth or adhesive Velcro strips instead of replacement pads.

Step 2: Replace Cable

Headphone cables are detachable from the speaker units, so it should be very simple to replace a cable. However, since the cable is detachable you must be aware of how it can be attached and detached from your speaker units before attempting to replace it. You must pay close attention to the position and order of cables as they cannot be mixed up.

Step 3: Use to Organize Cables

When repairing headphones with broken cords, there’s no need to throw them out just because you won’t use them anymore. Instead, keep them around like a coiled snake that will help you organize your desk or office space well. You can even try attaching the coiled headphone wire to one side of an attractive vase and placing flowers in it; this will make a unique art piece for your desk.

If the headphone is completely busted, you can use them as a cord organizer.

Step 4: Make a Star Wars Droid

If your headphones are completely busted then they can be used as a droid from the Star Wars series by detaching the drivers from the speaker units and placing them together in an appropriate shape. Once you have made your droid, attach one of the speakers to its mouth and allow the other to hang around its neck or back. Attach a power cable or connect with Bluetooth if required and play some old-school tunes to make your droid dance.

So now you know what to do with broken headphones. With these tips, your old pair of headphones can be as good as new in no time.

Things to do with broken headphones

  • Fix your headphones.
  • Convert your headphones into speakers.
  • Turn your headphones into a microphone.

How To Fix Your Broken Headphones

Step 1.    If your headphones are frayed,  the first thing you want to do is stop using them. You don’t want to catch a wire on something and end up with an even uglier cord or damage the actual earbuds themselves.

You can either buy new sets (or use what you have and buy new tips) – or if the cord itself is frayed, try using a nail clipper to cut off the bad part of the wire before replacing it.

Step 2.  If your headphones are broken but not frayed, you can patch them with some Sugru. Simply pack a small amount into each earbud and smooth it out. Sugru is a type of moldable glue that comes in two parts and cures overnight, but it’s very sticky stuff. It’s best not to get it on the outside of your headphones, so you may want to wrap a little tape around the bud before you apply Sugru. You can use it to fix small cracks in the plastic too – like the kind where the headphone cord is yanked out of the housing.

Step 3. You can also try using super glue or clear nail polish to patch up small cracks in the plastic. Just make sure you don’t get it on the cord because that could cause your headphones to short out.

Step 4 . Use Sugru to create a thicker area for the headphone cord to go into – this will prevent it from wiggling loose over time. For a quick fix, you can also wrap electrical tape around the spot where the cord meets its housing to provide extra grip and friction.

Step 5 . If your headphones have a removable cable, you’ll want to replace it at some point because that’s usually what goes wrong in this case. This means opening up the housing and reattaching the actual wire to the bud. For this, you may want to use some heat shrink tubing (you can find it at an electronics parts store) because it’s made of plastic which is flexible enough not to break when you bend your headphones back into shape. You can also use electrical tape for this part, but it may not last long.

Step 6.  When all else fails, you can always use super glue or hot glue to attach new earbuds – which are usually the ones that tend to break because people take it off and put it back on so often.

To restore your broken headphones to working order, simply follow the steps mentioned above one by one. This should solve all your problems.

Converting Your Headphones Into Speakers

Step 1.   Firstly you have to take your headphones apart, clipping the wire near where it enters the earbud – this way, you won’t have to solder them later. The wires should be exposed now, so just remove any unnecessary parts of plastic or rubber that are keeping them from being exposed.

Step 2 . Connect two cables to the bare end of each wire (preferably with an alligator clip) and attach them to a set of speakers. If you’re using active speakers, it should work right away – otherwise, you’ll need to hook up your amp or powered speaker first.

Step 3 . Grab your soldering iron and cut one side of the wire. This will give you a wire with one end that has insulation and another that doesn’t. Repeat the process on the other side too – this way, you’ll be able to connect them later and they should stay together because of alligator clips.

Step 4. Now solder each wire to its respective speaker (it doesn’t matter which side of your headphone cable you start with). Solder the positive side of each wire to one speaker and negative sides to another.

Step 5 . To get sound, simply put both speakers in an enclosure – like a box or even just two shoe boxes – and play some music through them! You’ll want to hook them up to your amp or computer first, though.

Try Turning Your Headphones Into A Microphone

Unfortunately, turning your headphones into a microphone is not as easy. Microphones are tiny speakers that produce the opposite of sound – which is electricity instead of air pressure waves.  So there’s no way to convert your regular headphones into a microphone without modifying them in some way. For this project, you will need:

  • A set of headphones with an operational cord (not the kind that is permanently attached)
  • A diode (you can find these at any electronics store)
  • Solder
  • Alligator clips  A microphone plug that has two +’s and a -‘s instead of four prongs. You can buy one online for cheap or just cut one straight from an old audio cable.

Step 1 . Make sure the cord is in good condition and plug it in to make sure that your headphones work (if they don’t, you’ll need to figure out which part went bad). Once you’ve established that they work, we can move on to the modification process.

Step 2 . Take apart your headphones and remove the earbuds. You can cut off the unused portion of the wire to make soldering easier

Step 3 . Strip some insulation off the wires (which should be visible now). Cut one wire into two, keeping them roughly an inch or two apart – this makes it easier to solder. Solder the positive cable to one end of the diode – make sure you connect it to the wire that has ridges or bumps on it. Solder both cables together at the other end.

Step 4 . Cut your microphone plug in half and strip away some insulation from each wire inside. If one has a yellow cover, solder it to the positive side of your headphone cord and if it has a red cover, solder the negative side of your headphone cord to that wire.

Step 5 .  Plug your headphone jack into your computer and test your microphone by recording something with software like Audacity or just using a Windows sound recorder. If everything is working properly, you should be able to record whatever you say into your microphone. If not, check to make sure that the microphone is plugged into the right port (like colored microphone jacks in your computer) and that your headphones are plugged in too.

What To Do With A Broken Headphone Jack

If your headphone jack is broken, you can still use it but only with special cables or adapters – or if you’re so inclined, you can take it apart and solder the wires back together.  This is only an option if the wire inside of the headphone jack was still intact – otherwise, you need to buy a whole new plug (which will probably cost more than just buying another set of headphones).

If your headphones still work but one or both speakers are bad, you can open up the part that makes the sound (or close to where your earbud comes out) and solder an external speaker onto it. The easiest way to do this is by cutting off the plug on your headphones and soldering the wires directly onto an external speaker.  The important thing is to make sure that the positive and negative wires are soldered to the correct speaker so if you aren’t sure what they are, test it out on an external speaker before messing with your headphones.


Using these tips, your old pair of headphones will play music just like new in no time. You can also make a variety of useful items from your broken headphones, which will save you money in the long run.

Broken headphones are very frustrating. Fortunately, some things can be done with them if they are broken beyond use. They can be recycled or used for artistic purposes, such as a DIY audio cable. There are several options to consider. If this is not something you would like to do yourself, the headphones can be taken apart by an electronic recycling center.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some things that can be done with broken headphones?

There are a few things that can be done with a set of broken headphones. The first option is to recycle the material in them, such as copper wire and insulation. Another option is to take apart the headphone driver for use in another project, such as an audio cable. Many other options are available, depending on the type of headphones and their current state.

Can my broken headphones be recycled?

Broken headphones can certainly be recycled. Many electronics stores have special receptacles in which individuals may place their broken electronic equipment, including headphones.

What do I do if my headphones won’t turn on?

If the headphones don’t work when plugged into an audio source, there may be something wrong with the device that you’re trying to use them with, not the headphones themselves. Make sure that the audio source is compatible with the headphones, and try using different devices to test if they are still broken.

What do I do if my headphones are not playing sound properly?

If your headphones aren’t producing sound properly, check to see if they need to be replaced or repaired by someone who knows what they’re doing.

What do I do if my headphones are playing sound, but it’s not the right kind of sound?

If your headphones are still working, but they’re only producing a strange noise instead of music or some other audio, there may be something wrong with the speakers inside. They might need to be replaced.

What do I do if my headphones are making a cracking sound?

If the audio coming out of your headphones sounds like there is an elephant in the room with you, this could mean that either something is loose inside the speakers or that they need to be replaced. Try to open up your headphones and see if something looks wrong or if one of the speakers has come loose. If neither of these things is the case, it’s possible that your headphones need to be replaced.

What do I do if my headphones don’t fit?

If the headphones feel like they’re too big or too small for your head, there might be something wrong with the size of your head or with the positioning of the headphones. Try adjusting the size of your headband or finding a different place for them to sit on your ears, which could make them feel either looser or more secure.

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