Headphone cord closed fracture

Case contributed by Dr Matt Skalski


Trauma. Headphone cord accidentally caught in floor vacuum. The cord was retrieved with no visible damage, however there was complete loss of audio on the right. Disassembly of the right speaker complex revealed no internal derangement.

Patient Data

Age: 1 year old
Gender: Male

Clinical photo showing my reaction to right-sided volume loss on the headphones. 


Upon radiographic examination, a non-comminuted fracture of both of the right speaker wires is appreciated immediately proximal to the splitter unit, with 4mm of proximal retraction. 

Annotated image

The fracture proximal to the splitter is indicated by the blue arrowhead. 


My headphones  Photoshopped onto a skull x-ray, just because I can.  :)


Intraoperative (A and B) and postoperative (C) photos.  The headphones showed 90% recovery, with only mild volume loss overall, and approximately 4 cm of cord shortening. 

Case Discussion

Closed fracture of a speaker wire within its rubber/plastic sleeve is a rare headphone injury, usually due to a traction trauma. Vulnerable sites include those adjacent to a fixed point, such as the splitter or plug, and therefore need to be diligently scrutinized for evidence of internal wire fracture.

I surgically repaired the defect by excising the splitter, and then re-split the proximal segments to rejoin their respective wires from the plug. In total, this minimally invasive surgery cost me about $1 and 30 minutes of my time, which is a vast savings over a total replacement which would have run about $200. 

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Case information

rID: 29975
Published: 8th Jul 2014
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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