How to Remove Crackle From a Headset Speaker and Mic

By Todd Bowerman

Headset static is frustrating but fixable.
i Hemera Technologies/ Images

Static and crackling noises in your headphones are never pleasant. Such headset problems are not only annoying but can distract you from important tasks you are trying to accomplish on your computer. Static or crackling can indicate that certain components in your sound system have failed, so it’s wise to troubleshoot and pinpoint the cause of the problem. Both internal and external issues can cause static in your audio.

Check to verify that the headphone and microphone jacks are plugged securely into the appropriate ports on your computer. Unplug and then reconnect each jack to make sure the cables are connected properly.

Clean the tip of your headphone jack with a cotton ball and a few drops of rubbing alcohol. You can also trim a cotton swab until it is tiny enough to fit in the port and then use a very small amount of rubbing alcohol on the tip to remove any dust or other residue.

Check your headphones for frayed or crimped wires. Broken wires in your audio setup can cause a number of problems, including static.

Examine the microphone volume slider on your headset, if one is present. If your headset is pumping your microphone sounds at full volume into your ears, you may hear hissing and crackling.

Update the drivers for your sound card. New driver downloads are available on the manufacturer’s website and may remedy various audio issues.

Test your headset on other devices and in other ports to see if the issue is the headset or your computer. For instance, some headsets may get static from the front port of a computer but not from the back; often, this is caused by interference from an internal piece of hardware.

Slow down your video card’s hardware acceleration via the software included with the card (usually found running in your system tray). When your video card consumes too many system resources, it can cause a drop in performance with audio.

Items you will need

  • Cotton ball

  • Cotton swab

  • Rubbing alcohol


Most headset manufacturers offer troubleshooting advice for specific models on their websites.