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Headphones are an essential part of our lives. They provide a welcome distraction from the busy world around us and allow us to experience music and movies in a way that no other medium can. However, some headphones can be frustratingly difficult to use. A common issue is the headphones only playing the background music, but unable to play voices.

There’s several reasons your headphones plays only background music and not voices. First, maybe the cord is misbehaving or there is a cut on its shell. Another common cause is when the jack is slightly smaller than the required size. If this happens, it could lead to a loose connection.

corded headphones (1)

Why are voices not coming from my headphones?

So, you connected your headphones to your mp3 player or your phone to listen to music but ended up hearing only background music and not voices? First, I want you to know that you’re not alone in this. It happens almost every time; here are a couple of complaints (1, 2, 3) regarding the same issue.

As earlier mentioned, several different factors could cause your headphones to play background music without bringing out voices. Let’s have a look at them below:

Faulty or wear down cord

Any time you plug in your headphones to listen to music but end up only hearing background sounds and not voices, your cord should be the first suspect. Yes, headphones wires aren’t designed to last forever. They certainly get broken over time and when this happens, it could cause the device to malfunction.

If your headphones aren’t playing out voices but only background music, this could mean that the device has malfunctioned. In this case, the issue may result from a faulty or worn-down wire. Yes, it’s most likely that there’s a cut on the shell of the cord.

Jack-related issue

The audio jack issue is another common reason headphones fail to play voices but only background music. In case you don’t know, your headphone will most likely misbehave if the jack is slightly smaller than the required size. With a smaller sized audio jack, you can have a loose connection, causing the headphones to misbehave unexpectedly and producing background sounds.

Headphones plug issue

The most common headphone problems, such as the one you’re currently experiencing, are usually a result of a faulty or incompatible plug. As we all know, the plug is the part of the headphones that goes into the player, system, or phone.

Furthermore, the plug is also the part that makes connection easy and quick to establish between your headphones device and the system or phone. As such, it’s safe to say that it’s, sort of, the weak point of your headphones.

So, if anything goes wrong with the plug, you can expect your headphone to misbehave and produce fluctuating sounds. The good news is that there are always workarounds for the plug issue. You’ll find out how to fix the issue in the next section of this post.

The type of headphone

Another factor to consider when you keep experiencing the situation where your headphones only play background music instead of voices is the headphone type.

Here’s a scenario; let’s assume you make use of headphones with three separate rings. It means the device has two stereo pins and one microphone pin. One thing you need to know about headphones with microphones in them is that they are highly selective.

So, in this situation where you can only hear background music and not voices, it could be that the headphone you use is not compatible with the system you’re trying to connect to.

Audio file format issue

Another common factor that can make your headphones misbehave this way is the audio file format. Although this doesn’t happen in most cases, there is a slim chance of that happening, which is why you need to check the format.

What do I mean? Let me break it down to you; imagine you have stereo headphones and you’re trying to play a music file containing mono audio songs. The aftermath is exactly what you’re currently experiencing with your headphones.

corded headphones2 (1)

How to fix headphones that play music only?

So far, I’ve only been able to list out some of the possible reasons why your headphone is only playing background music and not voices. Now, let’s proceed and talk about how to fix the headphones issue?


Depending on what is causing the headphones to misbehave, there are several different options for you to fix the issue. It all starts with getting to troubleshoot the issue and finding out what the exact cause is. It’s only when you can identify where the problem is coming from that you’ll be able to correctly fix it.

Troubleshooting the cord

So, let’s start by checking the headphone’s cord to understand whether or not it’s the one causing the device to misbehave. To do this, you’ll need to use your fingertips to feel the wire and check whether or not there’s any sign of cuts on the shell. Ensure to check everywhere carefully.

After checking, if you ended up finding something unusual, it could mean that the cold is the cause of the fluctuating sound issue. The best way to fix this issue is by replacing the cord with a new one. However, that also depends on whether or not your headphone supports detachable cords.

Troubleshooting the audio jack

As earlier mentioned, the audio jack could be the reason why your headphones are failing to play the normal way. Since that’s true, you’ll need to check to see whether or not the issue you’re currently experiencing is from the jack. To do that, you’ll need to touch the audio jack and turn it firmly in different directions to see whether you’ll achieve a normal sound.

If you can hear a normal sound, this is a sign that the audio jack is the main culprit. According to a reddit user, that also encountered the same issue a a few years back, cutting the wire and replacing the jack is a good workaround for the headphone issue.

Here’s what the Redditor said regarding the fix to the issue:

“I just cut off the wire at the very end and replaced the jack with some other cheap earbuds wire and it works perfectly. The problem was from the jack.”

You can also consider buying a jack extender, as this could also help you address the issue completely. Alternatively, you can use a jack extension cable to fix the annoying issue you’re experiencing.

Troubleshooting the audio file

There are different types of audio files and if the one you’re using isn’t compatible with your headphone, what you’ll be experiencing is a fluctuating sound. Since that’s the case, all you need to do is to check your headphone with compatible audio files. If that solves the issue, you need to avoid using incompatible audio files with the headphones.

Troubleshooting for headphone type

As previously stated, the type of headphones you’re using can also affect the way the device gets to perform. If it has a mic in it, it could be the cause of what you’re currently experiencing.

The best way to address the issue is to purchase an audio amplifier and connect it in between the headphones and the system or media player. That should help to make your sound come back to normal again.

How to balance headphone sound?

On the PC

The best way to balance the headphone sound on your PC is through the computer’s control panel.

  • Start by opening your PC’s control panel.
  • Next, click on “Hardware and Sound”. After that, look for the “Sound” option and select it.
  • What you need to do now is to double-click on your headphone and select properties.
  • Search for and click on the “Levels” tab, and then the “Balance” button.
  • Keep adjusting the balance until you get your preferred sound quality.

On your Android phone

  • Go to the “Settings” menu of your phone.
  • Next, select “Accessibility”
  • From there, you’ll find the “Audio balance” option.
  • All you need to do is to adjust it left or right depending on what you’re looking for.