How to Fix Headphone Wires with Electrical Tape

Norvan Martin
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Wired headphones are convenient to use since they allow you to listen to music without signal coverage limitations. However, their wires are fragile and are exposed to faster wear and tear with every turn, twist, and yank. You can fix the frays and wears with electrical tape in minutes. Let’s see more about this.

Step 1: Collect All the Needed Tools and Materials

Before you start fixing the wires, ensure you have the following:

  • Electrical tape
  • A lighter
  • Wire cutters
  • Sandpaper (optional)

You likely have these things at home or in the office. If not, you can find them in your nearby store. For wire cutters, you can use your utility knife.

Step 2: Cut and Separate the Wires

The process is simple if you can see the copper wire outside the insulator. You must locate the exact part you need to fix in many cases.

Cut and Separate the Wires headphone

Use your wire cutters or utility knife to cut the malfunctioning or broken area. You’ll have two separate headphone cables.

Once you’ve cut the cable, remove the wires’ insulation to see the problem areas correctly.

headphone separate wire insulation

If your headphone has two cables, you’ll see several copper wires and a red wire on each half of the cable. You’ll also see a green wire in addition to the others already mentioned if your headphones have a single thread for the two channels.

Separate the wires, so they don’t touch each other. The red and copper ones should also be in their respective spaces.  You can also cut away the insulation to make the area cleaner and easier to work with.

cut away wire insulation headphone wire

Note that the red/green wires are designed to transmit audio. If the copper and red wires are touching each other, you can’t get quality audio. In some cases, you get no audio at all.

Step 3: Burn the Wire Coatings

After separating the wires, you should now burn the wire coatings. We talked about the cables for transmitting audio in the previous step.

burn away headphone wire enamel with lighter

They are coated in enamel. Before reconnecting the wires, you should remove this insulation.

How do you do this? Use the lighter to set the wire’s tip on fire lightly very briefly, for a second. If you’ve sandpaper, use it to clean the wires’ tips. Some people use sandpaper instead of lighter for this purpose, but you can use them to complement each other if necessary. 

Do the same for the remaining part of the cable.

Step 4: Connect the Wires Again

After removing the coatings, take the red wires from each side of the cable and twist them together. crossover and twist headphone wires together

Do this until they are firmly connected and can’t be separated by accident. Turn to the copper wires and do precisely the same thing.

As you do this, be sure that the red/green wires and the copper wires are not touching each other. Otherwise, you may unsuccessfully fix the wires. When you try to use the headphones later, it can also short circuit if you don’t check on this.

Step 5: Cover the Twisted Wires with an Electrical Tape

If the wires are not in contact, cover the twisted part of the red wires with the electrical tape. Ensure they won’t interfere with the copper wires.

add electrical tape to headphone wires

Once that is done, cover the whole part where you joined the wires with the tape. Do due diligence to ensure you don’t leave any wire sticking out.

Use the same process if your headphone wire is damaged in more than one place. It might take you more time, but the tricks remain the same.

Step 6: Test the Headphone

Now you have completed fixing your headphone wires with tape. It should be working without any problems. To confirm whether you’ve fixed the damage, get your audio source and test whether it provides quality music.

If you’ve followed the steps we’ve discussed above and the cable is not damaged beyond repair, your headphones should be as good as new. In other words, this method can help you solve the majority of your headphone-wire problems. Nonetheless, for severe wire damage, using electrical tapes alone may not fix your headphone wires.

Alternative Method: Solder Your Headphone Wires (Use Electrical Tape Too)

You start by finding the needed materials and tools. Other than the materials and tools we used above, the other one you need is a soldering kit.

solder headphone wire

This is an advanced alternative to fixing headphone wires with electrical tape. It’s best for those who don’t fear to solder. This is mostly done when the dame is at the base of the headphones.

You’ll follow the same steps above to expose the wires and then sand them off to remove the enamel coating. As we saw earlier, you can use a lighter or soldering iron to burn it off.

Here is how to solder the connections and fix your headphone wires:

Step 1: Wear personal protective equipment

 The equipment helps you avoid inhaling soldering fumes and getting exposed to harmful chemicals, which can be detrimental to your health.

Step 2: Solder the Wires

Twist the wires together and then use the soldering iron to melt some solder over the wires. Wait for the solder and wires to set and cool completely.

Step 3: Wrap each Wire with Electrical Tape

 Ensure the wires don’t get into contact with each other. This helps to prevent a short-circuit situation.

Step 4: Cover the Headphone Cord

Wrap the wires using the remaining electrical tape.

Alternative Method 2: Use Heat-Shrink Tubing (Repair without Solder)

Since many people are scared to fix their headphones with electrical tapes when it involves soldering, let’s see how heat-shrink tubing can help them.headphone wire heat shrink tubing

As we said, soldering is a little more involving and risky. Nevertheless, it’s effective for fixing severe headphone wire damage.  

So, heat-shrink tubing can be a better alternative.

You need all the materials and tools we discussed in the last advanced method except a soldering kit. Other than that, it would help if you had a heat-shrink tube.

Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Remove the Insulators

Use the wire strippers to remove the insulation to reveal the stripped wires. Don’t cut through the wires.

Step 2: Separate the Wires

Separate the headphone wires by color. Right-side headphone cables are red, and the left ones are green/blue. Ground wires are gold or copper.

Step 3: Melt Off the Coating

 Melt off the varnish material covering the wires using a lighter. You can use sandpaper alone or use them to complement each other, as we did in method one.

Step 4: Isolate the Wiring

 Twist the colored wires together and use the electrical tape to isolate the ground and colored wires from each other.

Step 5: Choose the Best Heat-Shrink Tubing

The best heat-shrink tube should be made from plastic materials like PVs, PEP, or polyolefin. Choose one that matches your headphones’ cable size.

This ensures you can achieve a secure fit. Remember that these tubes contract between one-sixth and one-sixth of their diameter when heated.

Step 6: Clean the Area to Be Wrapped

Use a clean cloth and isopropyl alcohol to wipe the wires dry. This removes any excess debris or grease.

Step 7: Insert the Tube

Insert the tube into the frayed area. For a more compact finish, wrap the tube as tight as possible.

Step 8: Apply Heat Around the Wrapped Area

Use the heating device that comes with the heat-shrink tubing kit or the lighter to heat around the wrapped area. Be sure to heat moderately, as the tube can catch fire or melt. As you do this, use pliers or anything that can protect your fingers from the heat.


What Kind Of Tape Do You Use For Earphones?

All you need is a quarter-inch strip wrapped around the earpiece and the end taped around the ear. That is also what the US Secret Service uses when they need to keep their earpieces in. also, some riders use micropore tapes since it is less irritating. It, however, takes more of the tape to stick the earphones.

Are Frayed or Damaged Headphones Wires Dangerous?

Like other electronic devices, headphones run on electricity, but they require low voltage. That’s why you may have touched an exposed headphone wire and suffered no physical injury.Are Frayed or Damaged Headphones Wires Dangerous

Many people base their arguments on this. They think exposed headphone wires are not dangerous.

Headphones have varying degrees of impedance. Some of them have higher degrees of current resistance than others. So, it’s risky to assume that all exposed headphone wires are safe.

Overall, the voltage remains relatively low, and it can’t electrocute.

That doesn’t mean exposed headphone wires are not dangerous, though. They can cause electrical sparks, which are enough to start fires. Even static discharges can ignite flammable vapors in the air and cause a lot of destruction.

Moreover, damaged or frayed headphone wires are more prone to short circuits. When exposed wires get in touch with each other, excessive charge can flow and cause overheating. This can cause short circuits, which is enough to damage your audio source and headphones.

So, the answer to the above questions is ‘YES.’ Exposed headphone wires are dangerous. They can damage your headphones and audio source or ignite hazardous fires.

As already mentioned, you can prevent this without spending much time or money. Let’s now see how to do this.

What Should I Do if My Headphone Wires Are Severely Damaged?

If your headphone wires are severely damaged, you still have two optimal ways of fixing them. These are more complicated than the above options. So, you may need to consider whether they’re worth your effort and time before moving on.

Consider whether you can make use of your warranty. It’s the most secure and cost-effective solution. Do you have a few minutes for this? Use the following advanced methods to fix your headphone wires if you do.



We’ve seen that not all your broken headphone wires need an immediate replacement. Sometimes, you can use electrical tape to fix the problem in minutes. If the wires are excessively damaged, you can solder them or use a heat-shrink tube. You can also replace your headphones if that is more convenient and cost-effective.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin