Front panel audio damaged


I believe the audio on my case's front panel is damaged and I'm looking for advice.

Sound still comes through, but there is a lot of spurious noise like crackling, periodic beeping (caused by an external USB device for wireless network access), and squealing (caused by video card) in the right headphone only. This suddenly started happening after about 9 months for no apparent reason no matter what headphones I use. I can only guess it's from repeatedly yanking the headphone jack out too roughly.

Moving around the HD audio cable connecting my sound card to the front of the case (Thermaltake Element G) has no effect. The only glimmer of hope I have so far is that if I insert the headphone jack into the front panel about halfway and apply slight pressure to the right, then the bad noises go away.

I think the spurious electrical signals pervade the case and somehow the front panel grounding mechanism became damaged or loose, making the signals audible. Is it worth ripping off the front audio panel and risk damaging things more, or is the best bet just to shove some tape or glue or something to apply the magic amount of pressure to an inserted jack?

I saw a tiny USB device (thumbdrive sized) for sale on newegg that has an audio and mic jack, should I just go that route? I have no idea how to get my Creative Titanium X-Fi sound card to produce USB output.

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  1. BTW maybe the front panel is not really damaged, it feels rather solid.

    Maybe it's just a ground loop problem that mysteriously appeared? It is maddening to say the least.
  2. So I figured out my problem.

    I simply removed the Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty card and switched to onboard audio through the same HD Audio cable. The sound is crystal clear now.
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