We've all been there. You buy a set of headphones and—whether they're cheap or expensive—one ear eventually goes out. The good news is that this is something you can fix yourself. Really—With a few inexpensive tools and some simple how-tos, you can probably nurse those dead ’phones back to life. (Wish we’d known that when we laid down $180 for a pair last year, *&#$@$!)
But why do they seem to die so easily in the first place? “Wear and tear, abuse, poor design, or they’re just doing what they were designed to do—last just past the warranty,” says Jay Ambrose of Jay’s Headphone Repair. And if the cable’s yanked or stepped on, or you keep the set in a bag with heavy items, that can damage the ear cup’s female plug, so an ear quits or the sound cuts in and out. It’s frustrating—and expensive.
But not if you do this: Round up a small Phillips-head screwdriver, needle-nose pliers, a basic solder iron, solder, and a continuity tester, then follow these directions and photos. You’ll be out of your headphone-less hell in no time.
Note: These tips only work for headphones with a detachable cable.