Why Do My Headphones Only Work in One Ear? Common Causes and Fixes


Having headsets playing just in one ear can be discouraging, particularly if hearing to music or watching videos is part of your everyday routine. If you’ve depended on your earphones and your loved beats to block off noise as you work, then this problem is bind to weaken your productivity as well.

Purchasing or ordering a fresh pair is simple. But you may not be prepared to give up on your costly headset just yet. Or maybe you clearly don’t appreciate the idea of casting off hardware that may still be repaired.

Beneath are many tips and quick fixes you can do if just one of your earbuds is working. With these cues, you can have a working pair of headphones in almost a few minutes. You don’t have to endure for your orders to be delivered, leave your house to purchase one, or use the only one working earbud.

Also, read about Car Stereos.

Ruling Out Phone or PC Settings

When headsets are only playing or working in one ear, many quickly conclude that their earphones are halted. So they start buying and looking for a replacement or looking for extra headphones at home.

Rule out the likelihood that you’re listening to one of the headphone due to your audio settings or a temporary device malfunction that can be effortlessly settled. Follow the steps below to check whether the problem is being caused by your phone, laptop, or Personal computer.

Try another pair of earphones

The main step is to obtain a pair of faultlessly working earphones and connect them to your appliance. If they are working nice, then you know that the difficulty clearly lies with your headset. In this issue, follow the cues below for fixing wired and Bluetooth headphones. But if the functioning headset similarly begins playing only in one ear, you require to inspect your device’s audio settings.

Restart the device

Second simple fix you may want to attempt is restarting your device. This may prove particularly useful if the problem happens straight after a software update.

After starting again your phone or PC, examine if you can hear out of both earbuds. But if the headset is still working in only one ear, start examining your device’s audio settings.

Examine the settings

Headsets may play just in one ear counting on on your audio settings. So search your audio properties and ensure that the mono option is deactivated.

In accumulation, be certain that voice levels are equalized on both earbuds. You can examine this by clicking on the Sounds icon on your computer, moving to Levels, and then clicking on Balance. The voice levels must be balanced on both sides of your headset.

Clean the headphone jack

People take their phones everyplace, from their bedrooms to the rugged outdoors. Finally, lint and dirt can get entangled in the headphone jack and implicate the audio output.

If your headset plays only in one ear when plugged to your device but functions just fine in other devices, contemplate cleaning your phone or PC’s headphone jack. Carefully ease the dirt with the pointy angle of a brush toothpick, then use the brush side to take these out.

What to Do When Headphones Only Work in One Ear for wired devices

There are abundance of reasons why wired and wireless headphones may begin working only on one side. When this occur, you must track down the origin of the difficulty first before testing any of the quick fixes here.

When in a rush, some users pull out their headset’s jack from their mobile phones and laptops. Others detach their headsets from devices by snatching the cord rather than removing gently from the plastic base.

These manners can harm the wires near the headset’s jack. With time, your headphones may begin working just in one ear anytime the cords are curled or bent. To resolve this, follow the steps below.

How to fix it

  • Use a knife or edge to shred through the plastic protective covering around the earphone jack and the cord near it.
  • Discover the column with the broken wires and scrape it off.
  • Eliminate the plastic cord around one edge of your headset cord.
  • Make use of a lighter to hastily burn off the wire’s insulation.

Another explanation for headsets just playing in one ear is a shorted wire. This problem often emerges when earphone cords are often tangled or tied improperly. Follow the points beneath on how to discover and repair shorted earphone wires.

How to fix it

  • Clog your headphones to your appliance and play an audio or video file.
  • Find the short by wiggling the earphone cord every half inch. Proceed with performing this until you begin listening to sound entering off both earbuds.
  • Eliminate the destroyed portion of the wire.
  • Get the remaining sections of the earphone cord. Cut through both tops of the plastic cord to uncover the wires.
  • Single out the copper wires ground wires, insulation white wires, and the coloured wire. The coloured wire will be colour red if you are fixing up the headset’s right part, or green or blue if you’re operating on the left section.
  • Scrape the insulation wires. However, curl the copper wires to protect them together.
  • Use a lighter to rapidly burn off the enamel at the top of the coloured wires.
  • Wed the coloured wires by curling them jointly. Safeguard these with an electrical tape.
  • Bind the bottom wires in the similar way and encircle an electrical tape over these as well. Insure that the ground wires do not come in contact with the coloured wires.
  • Leave an electrical tape around this recently tied section.

What to do if your headphone isn’t working for wireless devices?

When one side of your earbuds isn’t working, occasionally an abrupt factory reset is all it needs to settle your Bluetooth headset’s connectivity issue.

How to fix it

  • Press your smartphones power button.
  • Continue holding it down until the headset’s light flickers blue or red.
  • Pair the headphones likewise with your device or smartphone.

Read about the types of headphones that exist.


Remember that repairing your headphones implicates its warranty. If your headset commence playing in one ear during the warranty time, it’s best to call the manufacturer to have it repaired or renewed.

Read about ways to make your Headphones last longer‘.