Why Do Headphone Jacks Only Work in Certain Positions? | WhatsaByte

When you plug in your headphones, they don’t always work. what’s up?

If your headphone jack only works in certain positions, it’s because the jack isn’t making a proper connection to the jack. the reason for this may be a mismatch between the plug and the connector or the connector itself is broken, bent or stuck by dirt.

Reading: Headphone jack right side not working

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what are headphone jacks and plugs?

First, let’s see what the plugs and headphone jacks mean. the end of your headphones that you insert into various electronic devices is the plug. and the usually round hole on smartphones, laptops or playstation where the plug is placed is the connector.

It is easy to get confused with the two and many will use these two terms interchangeably in everyday jargon. But when we say that the audio jack or headphone jack has a problem, we don’t mean the actual headphones. your headphones might be completely fine, and yet you still can’t hear any sound.

now a headphone plug comes in different shapes and forms. commonly, it will have a tip (left audio channel), a ring (right audio channel), and the sleeve (which forms the ground). many headsets also have more than one ring. and on each ring it is separated by two black stripes, which are insulating. the tip, sleeve and rings act as conductors.

If you count each conductor as one pole, you get various types of audio plugs, such as 3-pole, 4-pole, and even 5-pole. so pole 3 has a tip (t), sleeve (s) and only one ring (r) and this is called a trs plug.

For the plug to fit snugly into the connector, the number of pins on the plug must match the number of small notches inside the connector.

why do headphone jacks only work when half plugged in?

Usually, when an audio jack fails to make a proper connection to the headphone jack, this type of problem arises. Unless the circuit is complete, electricity, and thus the audio signal, cannot pass through the wires inside the headphones. this results in complete silence that makes you go buy a new pair.

but sometimes you hear sound when the headphones are half plugged in. if you insert them all the way, they don’t work. but the moment you start to pull it out, you might hear a static noise. and then about halfway through, you may hear sound from one or maybe both ears.

When it’s half working, it means the wires inside the earphones are still intact. the problem here is with the actual connector or plug, as in the two parts that come together to form the circuit.

See also: How To Connect Headphones To Digital Piano Or Keyboard (With Video) – Arkartech

The reason for this could be a mismatch between the size of the plug and the size of the connector. so when you connect only half, the circuit is still complete and you get sound. but when it tries to go all the way in, all the poles don’t match up correctly. and you end up with no sound.

Another common reason for this could be dust or lint building up inside the connector. this dust or fluff can act as an insulator and prevent the passage of electricity. when the plug is fully in, the part that touches the ground conductor is blocked by debris. but half way through, the ground makes contact with a part that is not isolated. only then does the sound pass.

why does my headphone jack only work in certain positions?

This is a common problem faced by many users of earphones or hearing aids. when this happens, you must hold the plug a certain way or press on it at an angle for it to work.

A common reason for this is that the audio jack on your laptop or smartphone has deteriorated. people who constantly use headphones will connect and disconnect several times a day. over time, this can cause the jack to deteriorate or become loose.

When this happens, all the conductors do not make proper contact with the wall of the connector. but when you press it, you temporarily force it to complete the circuit. current can flow and you can hear sound as long as you keep pressure on the plug or the part just behind the plug.

again, this could also be because the cat is clogging up the dust. this can also cause an incomplete circuit.

wearing the wrong size of earphones can also explain this. Let’s say you’re using a headset with a plug that’s slightly smaller than the size of your laptop’s audio jack. then, the two cannot make contact smoothly. then when you bend the angle a bit, the plug touches the connector.

Bending the cord or plug this way means you are bridging the circuit for a short time. When the pressure is released, contact is lost with the circuit.

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How do I fix my headphone jack when only one side is working?

This is another common problem that affects many users. hear audio from one side (left or right) perfectly fine. but little or no audio comes out the other side.

several different reasons can explain this problem. this could be caused by broken or clogged audio connectors, preventing the plug from making proper contact. or it could be because the cable on one side of the actual headphones is broken and therefore that part is not receiving audio.

Because the source of the problem may vary but still show the same result, you need to perform some troubleshooting to get to the bottom of this. therefore, here are some steps you can take to resolve this issue:

step 1

See also: Bluetooth Names: 1000 Funny Names for Bluetooth Speakers

Make sure the headset is properly connected to the device. if you’re lucky, this will do the job and save you trouble.

step 2

check the volume level on your device. some headphones have a separate audio control for each side. then turn up the volume on both sides and see if this resolves the issue.

step 3

make sure the audio jack is set to stereo and not mono. Also, make sure your device’s audio setting is set to stereo as well.

the mono or jack configuration will reproduce the sound on a single channel. therefore, it is heard from only one end of the headphones.

step 4

If you are using an extension cable to connect your headphones, unplug them and connect the headphones directly to the device. if this solves the problem, then the problem was with the extension cable.

step 5

Try your headphones on another device. if you still can’t hear any sound, the headphones are the source of the problem. it could have a broken cable or a faulty conductor. replacing it would be the best solution.

step 6

Connect a different set of working headphones to the device. If all the audio settings are correct and you still can’t hear any sound, then the device has some internal problems.

step 7

The audio jack, especially those on smartphones, can collect dust and other obstructions. this could cause an audio problem even if there is no sound problem.

Use the pointed end of a toothbrush to loosen dirt. then use the side of the brush to pick up all the dust.

step 8

If cleaning the connector did not help, the problem could be software related. make sure your audio drivers are up to date.

If the problem persists, it is best to take the device in for repair.


headphones are an integral part of modern life for many people. and knowing what kind of problems they might have and how to fix them will save you a lot of headaches.

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