Why Does My Audio Speaker Hum When I Turn It On?

One of life’s great pleasures is sitting back in your living room or basement, watching a movie or listening to a favorite piece of music on your own speakers. Maybe you have turned it up a bit louder than your mother would have liked, but your mother isn’t in this scenario – you’re all grown up.

But now you have a different problem – there is a humming sound coming from your speakers.

You can act like it doesn’t bother you, but it does. Like ants under your skin. An itch you can’t reach.

Audio possibilities

Some possibilities are purely audio-based. Larger systems often have multiple components and are connected by wires. Each of those components and each of those wires are a place where a noise, caused by interference, can start.

If you have a multi-component stereo system, you can work through this problem step by step by simply unplugging each component and taking it out of the system. You can repeat this process with individual wires. Once you locate the problematic component or wire, you have some options.

If it is a wire – simply replace the wire with a new one.

If it is a component – move on to the next step to see if perhaps it is an electrical problem that can be solved with a simple and inexpensive solution.

Electrical possibilities

If the hum continues even after you have checked the components, or it is a single unit like a boom box, the problem might be electrical.

This can happen when a line is not properly grounded.

You can check for this by using a cheater plug – that is a plug that has space for three prongs but only puts two into the wall. If his solves the problem, then you might have a bigger problem.

This bigger problem relates to grounding for your outlet or – worryingly – possibly your entire home. This is the sort of issue that you need to hire a professional electrician to handle.

An electrician will run a series of tests on the speaker component, the outlet, and your whole house to identify exactly where the problem is coming from. Then you will know exactly how to fix and return to your leisure-time listening.

Photo by Anthony

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