Can Only Hear Out On One Ear Headphones? (Easy Fixes To Try!)

Having headsets that can only hear out on 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.

Can Only Hear Out On One Ear Headphones?
How To Fix Headphones One Ear Only Working?

Can Only Hear Out On One Ear Headphones? Easy Fixes to Try!



1. Reboot the device

2. Test With Another Pair Of Headphones

3. Examine the Audio Settings

4. Clean The Headphone Jack


Sometimes the issue is caused by incorrect audio settings on your smartphone or PC, a software glitch, or device issues, and there is no need to repair the headphones.

As a result, it's critical to rule out such possibilities and ensure that the problem is with the headphones and not something else. Here's how you can investigate that possibility:

1. Reboot the device

If your headphones stop working on one side after a software or audio app update, a simple and quick fix is to simply restart your phone or computer.

This simple act can frequently resolve the problem. If rebooting the audio source does not resolve the problem, proceed to the next step.

2. Test With Another Pair Of Headphones

Connect another pair of headphones to the audio source (PC, smartphone) that you use on a regular basis and see if you can hear audio from both sides.

If you can hear audio on both channels on the other headphone, your headphones are truly at fault. In that case, you can skip the next two subsections and go straight to the sections on how to fix wired and wireless headphones. Otherwise, keep reading.

3. Examine the Audio Settings

The audio settings on our phone or computer can have an impact on the audio output of our headphones. If the problem only occurs on your PC, proceed as follows:

  • In the Windows Search Bar, type ‘Control Panel' and press Enter.
  • Select Hardware and Sound > Sound.
  • Scroll down to your default sound output device and double click on it, or select it and click on properties, under the Playback tab.
  • Navigate to the Levels tab and select the default sound output device's ‘Balance' option.
  • Make sure that the volume on both the left and right channels is set to the same level.

If the problem only occurs on your smartphone, go to your music app or sound settings and see if there is a setting for audio balance, and make sure both channels are set to the same volume.

4. Clean The Headphone Jack

If you notice that your headphones begin to work properly when you twist or turn the headphone jack while it is plugged into the socket or when you insert it into other audio devices, the problem could be caused by a dirty aux port.

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If dirt or lint becomes trapped inside the audio input port of your PC or smartphone with a 3.5 mm audio port, it can cause connectivity issues.

In such cases, you must carefully clean the headphone jack and remove the dirt from the port without causing any damage to the internal components. The best method is to use a brush toothpick and a bright light source.


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.

How To Fix Headphones One Ear Not Working?
How To Fix Headphones One Ear Not Working?

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. Use a knife or cutter to slice through the plastic protective base around the earphone jack as well as the cord near it.
  2. Locate the section with the broken wires and cut it off.
  3. Remove the plastic cord around one end of your headset cord. 
  4. Use a match or lighter to briefly burn off the wire’s insulation.
  5. Solder the wires to the earphone jack following the illustration below.
  6. Cover the newly joined section with a heat-shrink tube or electrical tape.

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. Follow the steps below to find and repair shorted earphone wires.

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. Use a match or lighter to briefly burn off the enamel at the tip of the colored wires.
  8. Join the colored wires by twisting them together. Secure these with electrical tape.
  9. Link the ground wires in the same way and wrap an electrical tape around these as well. Ensure that the ground wires do not touch the colored wires.
  10. Put an electrical tape around this newly linked section.
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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.


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.

Alternative Video: Can Only Hear Out On One Ear Headphones?

Can Only Hear Out On One Ear Headphones?

Diagnosis: A reset is required

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. Press your device’s power button.
  2. Keep holding it down until the headset’s light flashes blue or red. You can also follow these steps on how to reset each brand of Bluetooth headphones.
  3. Pair the headphones again with 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 Resolve a Halfway Point Problem:

  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.

Diagnosis: Broken internal wires

If one side of your earphones still doesn't work after being fully charged, look for damaged or displaced wires in the hardware. Follow the steps below to repair Bluetooth headphones.

How to Repair Internal Wires

  1. Remove the casing from the Bluetooth device.
  2. Locate the broken wires and solder them back together with a soldering iron.
  3. Place the internal components back inside the casing.
  4. Turn on your Bluetooth earphones to test it, then re-seal it if everything is fine.


However, the audio quality may no longer be as good as it once was.

  1. Purchase an earphone splitter and connect it to your audio device's aux output.
  2. Insert the jacks from the two earphones into the splitter's output jacks.
  3. To test the sound quality, play an audio or video file.
  4. Remove the excess cords and intertwine the wires of the working earbuds to keep your earphones looking neat.
  5. If you want to avoid the hassle and just buy a new pair of headphones, make sure to read our guide on what to do with broken headphones first.
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If your wireless headphones work fine when connected in wired mode but only work on one side when connected to an audio source in wireless mode, you may have a halfway-point malfunction.

This typically occurs when the mechanical trigger inside the audio jack port becomes stuck halfway, causing your headphone's speaker to malfunction.

Here's how to fix the halfway point issue in wireless headphones:

  • Insert the aux cable plug of your wireless headphone and test the audio output.
  • Keep twisting, rotating, or unplugging and inserting the aux cable plug slowly until the mechanical trigger gets back into the default position.
  • Check the headphones in wireless mode to make sure the issue is resolved.


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 another piece of equipment 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 fixes listed above? Do you have other tips and tricks for repairing headphones with only one earbud working? Share these below.

Fix Headphones One Ear Not Working
Fix Headphones One Ear Not Working

FAQs About Headphones Issues

Why can't I hear anything from my headphones?

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.

How come nothing happens when I plug in my headphones?

This issue may occur if you are using an out-of-date or incorrect audio driver. As a result, you should update your audio driver to see if it resolves your issue. If you don't have the time, patience, or skills to manually update the driver, Driver Easy can do it for you.

How long do wired headphones last?

If you pay $10 for them and use them every day, you might find that the cable frays or an earbud stops working after only six months. However, if you spend more than $50 on wired earbuds and take care of them, they can last for up to five years.

Why is my Bluetooth headset connected but there is no sound?

If your Bluetooth headphones aren't producing any sound, make sure the Media Audio setting is enabled. Go to Settings and select Bluetooth while your Bluetooth headphones are connected. Choose your Bluetooth headphones from the drop-down menu.

Barry Moroney

Hi, Barry here. I'm a tech writer and blogger. I write about the latest technology, gadgets, and software. I also provide the best how-to and guides on the latest sound systems. I'm always excited to share my knowledge with others!


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