How To Fix Headphones Only Work In One Ear? (Answered!)


If your headset is only playing in one ear, rule out any possible device settings issues before attempting these quick fixes to get your earphones working again.

Having headsets that only play in one ear can be aggravating, especially if you listen to music or watch videos on a regular basis. If you’ve relied on earphones and your favorite beats to block out noise while working, this issue is bound to reduce your productivity.

It is simple to purchase or order a new pair. But you might not be ready to give up your costly headset just yet. Or maybe you just don’t like the idea of throwing away hardware that could still be repaired.

If only one of your earbuds is working, try the tips and quick fixes listed below. With these tips, you can have a functional pair of headphones in a matter of minutes. You don’t have to wait for your orders to be delivered, leave the house to buy one, or make do with a single working earbud.

How to Fix Headphones With Only One Side Working?
How to Fix Headphones With Only One Side Working?

RULING OUT PHONE OR PC SETTINGS

When headsets only play in one ear, many people assume that their earphones are broken, as they do with other audio issues such as headphone static. As a result, they begin looking for a replacement or looking for spare headphones at home.

But, before you throw away your earphones or attempt a repair, make sure the problem isn’t with your audio source.

Exclude the possibility that you’re only hearing from one headphone as a result of your audio settings or a temporary device malfunction that can be easily resolved. Follow the steps below to determine whether the issue is caused by your phone, laptop, or PC.

1. Try another pair of earphones

The first step is to obtain a working pair of earphones and connect them to your device. If they are working properly, you can be certain that the issue is with your headset.

In this case, use the tips below to repair both wired and Bluetooth headphones. However, if the working headset begins to play only in one ear, you should check your device’s audio settings.

2. Reboot the device

Restarting your device is another simple solution you could try. This is especially useful if the problem occurs immediately after a software update.

Check to see if you can hear out of both earbuds after restarting your phone or PC. However, if the headset is still only playing in one ear, check the audio settings on your device.

3. Check the settings

Depending on your audio settings, headsets may only play in one ear. Check your audio properties and make sure the mono option is disabled.

Additionally, ensure that the voice levels on both earbuds are balanced. You can check this by going to the Sounds icon on your computer, then Levels, and finally Balance. The voice levels on both sides of your headset must be equal.

4. Clean the headphone jack

People carry their phones with them everywhere, from their bedrooms to the harsh outdoors. Lint and dirt can become trapped in the headphone jack over time, affecting the audio output. As a result, the connection between your headphone port and the jack becomes loose.

If your headset only plays in one ear when plugged into your device but works fine in other devices, consider cleaning the headphone jack on your phone or PC. Loosen the dirt with the pointed tip of a brush toothpick, then scoop it out with the brush side.

5. Check for the earphone damaged wires

If you have earbuds that only work on one side, a wire inside may be damaged or broken. Before you ask how to fix earphone wires, you should understand what caused the problem. Some phone users pull their earphones from the device by the cord rather than gently pulling them from the plastic base.

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This could result in a damaged or disconnected wire or a bent earphone plug over time. The faulty wire could be located anywhere along the cord or around the plastic base. If the damage is around the cord and you can pinpoint the exact location, you can tape it together as previously described.

If it is damaged around the plastic base, music will begin to play in both earphones when you temporarily hold down the plug or apply pressure there. You’ll need to see a technician to fix this because the process is a bit herculean.

6. Check the device audio settings

As strange as it may sound, your device’s audio settings may be to blame if the mono option is enabled. To resolve this, go to your audio settings and disable it.

  • Connect your headphones to the device and begin listening to music.
  • On the sides, press the volume buttons (either to increase or decrease the volume). The volume bar should now be visible on the right side of your screen. Tap the three vertical dots at the bottom of the bar to expand your options.
  • Choose Levels > Balance from the drop-down menu.
  • Listen to the music and adjust the balance until the voice levels on both sides of your headset are equal.

If this does not resolve the issue, some of the earphone cords may be damaged.

Alternative Video: Fix Headphones Only Work In One Ear

Fix Headphones Only Work In One Ear

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WHAT TO DO WHEN WIRED HEADPHONES ONLY WORK IN ONE EAR?

There are several reasons why wired and wireless headphones may only work on one side. As a result, before attempting any of the quick fixes listed below, you must first identify the source of the problem.

Keep in mind that repairing your headphones will void their warranty. If your headset begins to play in one ear during the warranty period, contact the manufacturer to have it repaired or replaced.

  • Damaged or disconnected wire near the jack, according to the diagnosis
  • Shorted wire is the diagnosis.
  • Faulty wiring within a faulty earbud, according to the diagnosis

Diagnosis: Damaged or disconnected wire near the jack

Some users, in a hurry, yank out the headset jack from their mobile phones and laptops. Others disconnect their headsets from their devices by pulling on the cord rather than the plastic base. This can also lead to a bent headphone jack.

These practices can cause damage to the wires near the headset’s jack. When the cords of your headphones are twisted or bent, they may begin to work only in one ear over time. Follow the steps below to resolve this.

HOW TO FIX DAMAGED WIRES:

  1. Cut through the plastic protective base around the earphone jack as well as the cord near it with a knife or cutter.
  2. Locate and cut the section with the broken wires.
  3. Remove the plastic cord that is wrapped around one end of your headset cord.
  4. Use a match or lighter to burn off the wire’s insulation for a few seconds.
  5. Solder the wires to the earphone jack as shown in the diagram below.
  6. Locate and cut the section with the broken wires.
  7. Remove the plastic cord that is wrapped around one end of your headset cord.
  8. Use a match or lighter to burn off the wire’s insulation for a few seconds.
  9. Solder the wires to the earphone jack as shown in the diagram below.
  10. Wrap a heat-shrink tube or electrical tape around the newly joined section.

Diagnosis: Shorted wire

A shorted wire is another reason why headsets only play in one ear. This problem usually occurs when earphone cords become tangled or improperly wrapped.

HOW TO FIX SHORTED WIRES:

  1. Connect your headphones to your device and start playing an audio or video file.
  2. Bend the earphone cord every half inch to find the short. Continue doing so until you hear sound coming from both earbuds.
  3. Remove the damaged wire section.
  4. Obtain the remaining earphone cord sections. To expose the wires, cut through both tips of the plastic cord.
  5. Distinguish the copper wires (ground wires), insulation (white wires), and colored wire. (If you’re working on the right side of the headset, the colored wire will be red; if you’re working on the left side, the colored wire will be green or blue.)
  6. Remove the insulation wires. In the meantime, twist the copper wires together to keep them together.
  7. Burn off the enamel at the tip of the colored wires with a match or lighter for a few seconds.
  8. Twist the colored wires together to connect them. Using electrical tape, secure these.
  9. Connect the ground wires in the same manner and wrap them in electrical tape as well. Make certain that the ground wires do not come into contact with the colored wires.
  10. Wrap electrical tape around the newly connected section.
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Troubleshoot Headphones Only Work In One Ear
Troubleshoot Headphones Only Work In One Ear

Diagnosis: Faulty wiring within defective earbud

A loose or broken wire can cause your earbuds to only play in one ear. Following the steps below to open and repair the earbud once you’ve determined that the problem isn’t caused by a broken or shorted wire along the cord.

HOW TO FIX FAULTY WIRES INSIDE EARBUDS:

  1. Using a small flat-bladed screwdriver, pry open the earbud casing. You can also detach the lever from your nail clipper and use it to open the earbud’s front case or ear tip.
  2. Pulling the case to further open the earbud can rip the wires if they are attached to the front case. Instead, pull the cord up through the upper housing of the earbud. The front case will be pushed forward, exposing the internal components.
  3. Before testing the headphones, resolder the loose wire and allow it to cool.

WHAT TO DO WHEN WIRELESS HEADPHONES ONLY WORK IN ONE EAR?

Wireless headphones can save you the trouble of untangling tangled cords. These, however, will not protect you from issues that may cause headsets to only play in one ear. The three most common causes of faulty wireless headphones are listed below, along with instructions on how to fix each.

  • Diagnosis: A reset is required.
  • Halfway point problem is the diagnosis.
  • Internal wires have been broken, according to the diagnosis.

Diagnosis: Needs reset

When one side of your earbuds stops working, a quick factory reset may be all that is required to resolve your Bluetooth headset’s connectivity issue.

HOW TO RESET BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES:

  1. Turn on your device by pressing the power button.
  2. Continue to hold it until the headset’s light flashes blue or red. You can also use these instructions to reset each brand of Bluetooth headphones.
  3. Reconnect the headphones to your device.

Diagnosis: Halfway point issue

If your headphones work fine when the aux cable jack is plugged in but only work on one side when you switch to wireless mode, you may have a halfway point problem.

These problems occur when one of the mechanical triggers on the jack port becomes stuck halfway, causing one of your headphone speakers to malfunction.

HOW TO FIX A HALFWAY POINT ISSUE:

  1. Insert and then unplug the aux cable plug from the jack port.
  2. Step 1 should be repeated at various angles to keep the mechanical trigger in place.
  3. Check your Bluetooth headphones to see if the problem has been resolved.
How To Fix Headphones When Only One Side Works?
How To Fix Headphones When Only One Side Works?

HOW TO FIX DAMAGED OR DISCONNECTED WIRE NEAR THE JACK?

If you frequently disconnect your headphones from your phone or computer by pulling the cords rather than grabbing the jack-base, the wires at the jack-base may be damaged.

This can lead to loose connections. Here’s how to repair a broken or disconnected wire near the jack:

  1. Using a sharp utility knife, cut the jack-base perpendicularly. It may take several slices to get a clean cut, so don’t rush it.
  2. Also, cut a section of the wire that connects to the jack-base.
  3. Using a wire cutter, locate the faulty section and cut it off.
  4. Remove the plastic protective covering as well as any wires that are wrapped around the jack-base.
  5. Cut a section off the end of the headphone and burn off the coating of the individual colored wires with a soldering iron or match.
  6. Solder the individual colored wires to the jack-base as shown in the video above, and then cover the joined section with tape.
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HOW TO REPAIR FAULTY EARBUD WIRING?

If you suspect that the problem isn’t the result of a shorted or broken wire near the jack-base, the only other possibility is faulty wiring within the earbud. Here’s how to repair faulty wiring inside an earbud:

  1. To open the earbud casing, use a flat-head screwdriver.
  2. Pulling the casing from the top may cause damage to the connected wires. Instead, pull the wire up from the bottom to reveal the internal components.
  3. Solder the wires in the manner shown in the video above.

HOW TO REUSE MULTIPLE ONE-SIDE WORKING EARBUDS?

If you have several headsets with only one working earbud, you can reuse them as long as they are similar models.

  • However, the audio quality may no longer be as good as it once was.
  • Purchase an earphone splitter and connect it to your audio device’s aux output.
  • Insert the jacks from the two earphones into the splitter’s output jacks.
  • To test the sound quality, play an audio or video file.
  • Remove the excess cords and intertwine the wires of the working earbuds to keep your earphones looking neat.

CONCLUSION on Headphones Work In One Ear

If you invest in high-quality headphones, you want to be able to use them for an extended period of time. Even if you don’t have a high-priced pair, you might not want to buy new hardware just because one of your earbuds isn’t working.

Using the tips above, you can determine whether your earphones simply require a quick repair before purchasing a new pair. Repairing your headset not only saves you money, but it also helps to reduce electronic waste. Most importantly, you can quickly return to listening to music or watching videos.

What are your thoughts on the above-mentioned fixes? Do you have any other suggestions for repairing headphones that only have one working earbud? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Fix Headphones Only Work In One Ear
Fix Headphones Only Work In One Ear

FAQs on Headphones Stop working in One Ear

What happens when your headphones don’t work?

Examine the meshes in each earbud for debris. Brush all openings gently with a small, soft-bristled brush that is clean and dry to remove debris. Replug your headphones firmly. If your iOS device has a case, remove it to ensure a secure connection.

Why are my headphones not making sound?

Make sure your audio source is turned on and the volume is turned up. Turn up the volume on your headphones if they have a volume button or knob. If you’re using battery-powered headphones, make sure they’re fully charged. Check your headphones’ connection.

Why do headphones stop working?

Earphones/earbuds typically stop working due to wire strain, faulty wiring from the manufacturer, moisture damage, or damage to the sound drivers. These occurrences can result in audio shorts or complete disconnections between the drivers and the audio source.

Why do earphones stop working so quickly?

The following seven factors are the most common causes of earbuds breaking so easily: Pulling or tugging on the earbuds’ cords when disconnecting them. Dropping earphones from tables, couches, beds, and other surfaces. Sleeping with your earbuds in, putting them at risk of twisting.

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