Question about Bose QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Consumer Headphones

5 Answers

My headphones are feedbacking all of a sudden

My Bose headphones just started to feedback on me. When I turn them on, a piercing whine occurs whenever I pull the earpieces apart (that is, to put them on my head!). If the earpieces are together, there is no feedback, but the second I start pulling them apart....ouch! I've had these headphones for a couple of years now, and they've just started doing this. What's going on?? Thanks!

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  • Anonymous Jan 21, 2009

    Mine do the same thing almost. Whenever I put my hand near the earpiece or lean against the pillow on the plane there is an ear piercing screech. This is more aparent on the right ear than the left but still happens on both sides. This set has been like this since new yet none of my friends who own the exact headphones have this issue.

  • Laecee Feb 12, 2009

    Whenever I lean on my pillow the same thing happens.  Any other ideas? I didn't find any moisture in my battery compartment...hmmm...help?

  • ironmantg Mar 27, 2009

    I have the same problem. The humming noise is coming from the right ear speaker... Any solutions?

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The design of these headphones includes a microphone on the outside and on the inside of each earcup. The outside microphone detects outside noise. The inside microphone monitors what you are hearing and when it detects that the outside noise is present inside, the active noise-canceling circuits remove that noise. This happens fast enough that you perceive a siginficant reduction in the outside noise getting to your ears.

The airspace inside the earcup is a tuned chamber defined by the foam in the ear cushion. This is important because with the inside microphone in close proximity, but at a 90-degree angle to the speaker, the circuit must be designed to eliminate the normal feedback that occurs.

If the foam in the ear cushion has weakened/deteriorated to the point that it no longer has it's original shape, (in particular the lower half of the ear cushion), the size and shape of the air chamber inside of the earcup is directing more of the speaker sound toward the microphone than the design can compensate for causing audio feedback to occur. You are hearing that feedback.

On my QC-3 headphones, I can cause the feedback squeal in both earcups, with the left earcup being more sensitive to the shape change than the right.

It may be time to replace the ear cushions. If so, they are available from Bose for around $35/pair.

http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_online/headphones/noise_cancelling_headphones/accessories/qc3_earcushionkit_acc.jsp

Posted on Oct 22, 2013

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I had the feed back problem, then they stopped working altogether. New pair under warranty, same problem after 6 months. A pair of QC20i's gave up within a few weeks (volume control stopped working, replaced under warranty, gave them to a nephew.

The answer, unfortunately, is Sennheiser until Bose get their quality back.

Posted on Jun 22, 2015

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I had the same problem. If I brought my hand near the earphone I got a screech. I called Bose service and she said that it might be bad contact where the wire plugs into the earphone. She suggested reseating the plug. This seemed to work. Later I cleaned both plugs on the connecting wire with an electronic contact cleaner. The problem is gone.

Posted on Apr 24, 2013

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Solved....I opened up the battery compartment, and there was a small bit of moisture inside. Once I dried it out, the feedback stopped. It's surprising to me that a moisture problem would manifest itself as feedback, but there you go.

Posted on Mar 25, 2008

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Thanks, I have the same problem..i just changed the battery yesterday and saw corrosion on it! I will dry it out. that feedback was amazingly loud..thanks to all!

Posted on Jul 28, 2009

  • Prestige_Fix Oct 11, 2010

    Hi I had the same issue. I had taken my Bose headphones (Bose QuietComfort 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones) into the bath with me to listen to my iPod. I’ve had them for about a year now and have not had an issue taking them into the bath with me.
    However, I think the steam from the bath may have caused the left side earpiece to give a screeching feedback noise. I covered it with my hand and the noise would come back. Some times with the headphones turned on, sometimes without. The noise however would always come when I had the battery placed in. If I removed the battery the feedback screech would not happen.
    At first I got the hair dryer and tried to dry the head phones. Then I placed my lips on the metal ‘grill thing’ just under the Bose log in the outer side of the ear piece and sucked. I tried the head phones and they worked.

    Conclusion:

    The feedback is cause by mousier getting into the mechanics of the headphone. Try and avoid getting the wet or exposed to steam, etc.

    Hope this helped.

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The airspace inside the earcup is a tuned chamber defined by the shape of the foam in the ear cushion. This is important because with the inside microphone in close proximity, but at a 90-degree angle to the speaker, the circuit must be designed to eliminate the normal feedback that occurs.

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