Do Headphone Jacks Wear Out? Important Facts

Most people who use headphones will realize that this is a device that you are constantly plugging into one device, and then unplugging and using on another. Headphone jacks then end up becoming one of the most vulnerable parts of this device. After all, you may be using them without paying attention, scraping them along the way. Can this wear them out?

Headphone jacks are often covered with a layer of metal protection. However, over time, due to the nature of use, this can become susceptible to wear and tear. How much this affects your headphones depends on how you use them. However, it can result in damage to the device itself, and may affect its ability to connect and play audio effectively. 

If you are hearing strange noises from your headphones, or if the jack is not being recognized by your devices, it’s time to consider wear and tear. In that case, you are in the right place! In this article, we will explore how headphone jacks sustain damage, and what you can do to fix this problem. Continue reading to get your headphone jack back in shape!

Can My Headphone Jack Get Damaged Over Time?

We all know that headphones, especially the ordinary ones you see in most shops, will not last you a lifetime. But why does this happen? Sometimes they can break, the sound can get weird, or they might just stop working. One thing you may not have considered though, is that any headphone is prone to damage when you aren’t taking care of the headphone jack.

Just like any other device, there is a limitation on how often your headphones can plug and unplug before the damage is too extensive for them to work. In fact, if you are using a 3.5 mm headphone jack, you will be able to plug and unplug it a maximum of 5000 times before the device gives in to damage. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it really is.

The fact of the matter is that your headphone’s lifetime will depend on how often you plug and unplug it from a device. If you do that once a day, you can keep using it for upwards of ten years! In fact, micro USB cables will last for even longer, and sometimes will survive for even double the amount of plugging and unplugging cycles. 

In more cases than not, it is likely that you will change your headphones before the damage on the headphone jack becomes that bad. There is one caveat to this though – if you are prone to plugging the headphones in the wrong way, and end up scratching the jack more than normal use, this number goes down significantly. 

The reason for this is that the jack itself on your headphones is made using a metal encasing. In most cases, the metal that is used on the headphone jack is nickel-chromium. This keeps the jack safe, but is also prone to scratches, and when it is scratched, it will affect the lifespan of the headphones dramatically. 

For cheaper headphones, the metal used may not be good quality, which makes it even less resistant to scratches and corrosion. Some may use silver too, but that is extremely likely to corrode, and the same goes for gold. While headphones with these metals may sound and look expensive, the truth is, they will not have the longevity of other materials. 

Storage also plays a role in this matter. The way you store your headphones will help to keep the jack away from scratches and damage. If you throw the headphones into a dirty drawer or inside your bag, they may clash with other things and break apart sooner rather than later. Therefore, always keep them in a separate storage box or case. 

Related: Will My Headphones Work After Being Washed?

How To Fix An Older Headphone Jack

Fixing up a damaged headphone jack may involve a little bit of a hand-on solution, but it is definitely something doable. If you are using replaceable headphones, you may find it easier to just get a new pair, but if they are worth the cost, or important to you, you can repair them. To repair the headphone jack, you will need to get new parts and get them back in shape. 

Before you get started on this process, always check to make sure the headphones are not already under warranty. If you have a warranty, it may cover this kind of wear and tear, and you can even send it in for repair, or have it replaced. However, if you do have a warranty and you open it up, you will lose it as warranty does not cover any changes made by you. 

Start off by purchasing the parts you need to get for the headphones. For most kinds of headphone manufacturers, you can get replacement parts online. Once you have the parts, it is time to use a simple wire cutter to take off the plug, and around 1 centimeter of the cord as well. Now, pull back insulation for about a centimeter on the rest of the cord. 

Take out the new replacement headphone jack, and solder the wires on it to the wires in your cord. This can get a little technical, but make sure to connect the right wires with each other to get the right results. You can also replace the port by disassembling it, and replacing the port. It should make a clicking sound when it is in place, and then you can close it all up. 

Related: How Long Should You Keep Headphones on Per Day?


Like any other device, your headphones see their share of damage due to normal wear and tear. While you can take precautions to prevent this from happening, the best way to take care of your headphones is to plug them in and out in a responsible way. If nothing works, you can also take your headphones to a professional to service them and repair damage.

Audiophile Haven

AudiophileHaven is a site dedicated to Hi-Fi audio, and helping others learn more about premium quality sound equipment.

Recent Posts