Why Does One Side Of My Headphones Not Work: Problems & Fixes In 2022

Headphones are a huge part of our music experience, and there may be a few reasons why your headphones might not work. If you’re having trouble with your headphones, don’t worry – we’ve got some tips to help you troubleshoot the issue and get your headphones working the way they’re supposed to.

Why Does One Earbud On Your Headphones Not Work?

Why Does One Earbud On Your Headphones Not Work

Here is a list of potential problems to look into if one side of your headphones isn’t working.

  1. Wiring is frayed or broken
  2. The earbuds are filthy.
  3. Water damage
  4. An issue with the audio settings
  5. Defective sockets
  6. Defective jacks

As you can see, there are a number of problems that could make an earbud stop working. We’ll now look at each issue in-depth and offer you a remedy.

Ruling Out Phone or PC Settings

Ruling Out Phone or PC Settings

When headphones are only playing in one ear, many people immediately think that their earbuds are faulty, just like when other audio issues like headphone static occur. They then begin looking for a replacement or searching their home for extra headphones.

Rule out the chance that your audio settings or a brief, fixable equipment issue are to blame for the fact that you can only hear via one pair of headphones. To determine whether your computer, laptop, or phone is to blame for the issue, follow the procedures listed below.

1. Use a different set of earbuds.

Get a set of fully functional earphones and attach them to your device as soon as possible. If they function normally, you may be certain that your headset is the real source of the issue. In this scenario, adhere to the advice given below for repairing both Bluetooth and corded headphones. However, you need to check your device’s audio settings if the working headset also starts playing in only one ear.

2. Restart the apparatus

You might also want to try rebooting your device as a quick repair. If the problem arises immediately following a software update, this might be extremely beneficial.

Check to see whether you can hear via both earbuds after restarting your computer or smartphone. However, start by examining your device’s audio settings to see if the headset is still only playing in one ear.

3. Verify the controls

Check the settings

Depending on the audio settings on your headset, it might only play in one ear. So make sure the mono option is off in your audio properties by checking your audio properties.

Make sure the voice levels on both earbuds are balanced as well. By selecting Balance under Levels after clicking the Sounds icon on your PC, you can verify this. You must have equal sound levels on both sides of your headset.

4. Clean the headphone jack

People carry their phones everywhere, including the harsh outdoors and in their bedrooms. Lint and debris can eventually become lodged in the headphone jack and impair audio output. Your headphone port and jack become loose as a result of this.

Consider cleaning the headphone jack on your phone or computer if your headset only works properly on other devices but only plays in one ear when connected to your device. Use a brush toothpick’s pointed tip to gently release the dirt, then use the brush side to carefully scoop them out.

What to Do When Wired Headphones Only Work in One Ear

Both wired and wireless headphones may begin to function just on one side for a variety of reasons. As a result, before attempting any of the simple remedies listed below, you must identify the cause of the issue.

What to Do When Wired Headphones Only Work in One Ear

  • Diagnosis: a disconnected or harmed wire close to the jack
  • Diagnosis: Shorted wire
  • Diagnosis: damaged earbuds with faulty wiring

Diagnosis: a disconnected or harmed wire close to the jack

Some users have been known to yank the headphone jack out of their laptops and cell phones in a rush. Some people pull on the cable to unplug their headsets from their devices, while others pull on the plastic base. A bent headphone plug can also be the result of this.

These practices may harm the wires close to the headset’s jack. Your headphones can eventually stop working in both ears if the wires are bent or twisted. The steps listed below can be used to fix headphones only one side working.

What to Do When Wired Headphones Only Work in One Ear

How to fix damaged wires

  1. Cut the cord next to the earphone jack as well as the plastic protective base surrounding it with a knife or cutter.
  2. Find and cut out the part of the wires that is broken.
  3. Cut the plastic cord that is wrapped around the headphone cord’s other end.
  4. Burn off the insulation of the wire briefly using a match or lighter.
  5. Using the figure below as a guide, solder the wires to the earphone jack.
  6. Use electrical tape or heat-shrink tubing to enclose the newly attached part.

Diagnosis: Shorted Wire

A shorted wire is another factor in headsets only playing in one ear. When earphone cords are constantly twisted or incorrectly wrapped, this problem typically occurs. Find the shorted earphone wires and fix them by following how to fix one side of headphones not working methods listed below.

Diagnosis Shorted Wire

How to fix shorted wires

  1. Play an audio or video file while connecting your headphones to your computer.
  2. Use the earphone cord to bend every half inch to find the shorts. Do this repeatedly until you can hear sound coming from both earbuds.
  3. Cut the wire off at the damaged spot.
  4. Obtain the remaining earphone cord segments. To reveal the wires, cut through both of the plastic cord’s tips.
  5. Distinguish between the insulation (white wires), colored wires, and copper wires (ground wires). (The colored wire will be red if you are fixing the right side of the headset; it will be green or blue if you are fixing the left side.)
  6. Cut the wires used for insulation. Twist the copper wires to hold them together while you wait.
  7. Burn off the enamel at the end of the colored wires using a match or lighter.
  8. Twist the colored wires together to form a connection. With electrical tape, keep these in place.
  9. Connect the ground wires in a similar manner, and then wrap these with electrical tape. Make sure the ground wires don’t come in contact with the colorful wires.
  10. Wrap this newly attached section in electrical tape.

Visit our article on Fixing Headphone Jack Not Working for information on other issues with the wires.

Diagnosis: Faulty wiring within defective earbud

Your earphones may occasionally only play in one ear as a result of a loose or broken wire. The steps below will show you how to open the earbud and fix it once you’ve confirmed that the problem isn’t being caused by a broken or shorted wire along the cord.

Diagnosis Faulty wiring within defective earbud

How to fix faulty wires inside earbuds

  1. Use a tiny flat-blade screwdriver to pry open the earbud shell. The lever on your nail clipper can also be detached and used to unlock the earbud’s front casing or ear tip.
  2. If the wires are attached to the front casing of the earbud, do not pull the case to open it further. Doing so could further damage the wires. Instead, wiggle the wire up through the top housing of the earphone. By pushing the front case, the inside parts will be made visible.
  3. Repair the frayed wire, then test the headphones after it has cooled.

What to Do When Wireless Headphones Only Work in One Ear

What to Do When Wireless Headphones Only Work in One Ear

You can avoid the headache of dealing with tangled connections by using wireless headphones. These won’t protect you against problems that could make headsets only play in one ear, though. The 3 most frequent reasons why wireless headphones stop working and instructions for fixing each are shown below.

  • Diagnose: Reset is required.
  • Diagnosis: Halfway point issue
  • Diagnosis: Broken internal wires

Diagnose: Reset is required

Sometimes all it takes to fix your Bluetooth headset’s connectivity issue is a fast factory reset, especially if one side of your headphones isn’t functioning. Read how to fix bluetooth headphones when only one side works below.

Diagnose Reset is required

How to reset Bluetooth headphones

  1. Press the power button on your gadget.
  2. Hold it down until the headset’s light starts to blink red or blue. You can use these instructions to reset any Bluetooth headset brand.
  3. Reconnect the headphones to your device.

Diagnosis: Halfway point issue

You may have a halfway point issue if your headphones operate well when the aux cable jack is plugged in but stop working completely when you switch to wireless mode.

These problems happen when one of the mechanical triggers in the jack port becomes partially jammed, which leads to a broken headphone speaker.

Diagnosis Halfway point issue

How to fix a halfway point issue

  1. The aux cable plug should be inserted and removed from the jack port.
  2. To keep pressing the mechanical trigger back into position, repeat step 1 from different angles.
  3. If the problem has been fixed, try using your Bluetooth headphones again.

Diagnosis: Broken internal wires

Even after a full charge, if headphones only one side works, start looking for frayed or misplaced wires in the hardware. Learn how to fix bluetooth earbuds when only one side works by reading the steps listed below.

How to fix internal wires

  1. Remove the case by opening the Bluetooth device.
  2. Find the damaged wires, and then solder them back together.
  3. Place the internal parts back inside the housing.
  4. If everything is working properly, turn on your Bluetooth earbuds and re-seal the package.

How to Reuse Multiple One-Side Working Earbuds

As long as they are of similar models, you can reuse multiple headsets if only one earphone is working.

However, take note that the audio quality might not be as good as it once was.

  1. Get an earphone splitter and connect it to the aux output of your audio device.
  2. Connect the output jacks of the splitter to the jacks of the two headphones.
  3. Play sound-quality test audio or video files to check the sound.
  4. By cutting the extra cords and tying the wires of the working earbuds together, you may keep the appearance of your earphones tidy.

Make sure to follow our advice on what to do with damaged headphones if you want to save yourself the effort and just buy a new pair.

Tips To Take Care Of Your Headphones

It is crucial to take care of your wired or wireless earphones to make sure you don’t experience these issues in the future.

Here are some steps you can do to protect your Bluetooth headphones and earbuds from harm.

Tips To Take Care Of Your Headphones

  1. When not in use, keep your headphones or earbuds in a tidy case or box.
  2. If you use wired headphones, keep the cables organized at all times.
  3. Avoid bending the wires too firmly.
  4. Regularly clean any covers, mesh, and earbuds to get rid of earwax and dust.
  5. When not in use, remove the earbuds from the gadget.
  6. Keep your headphones out of the rain or other wet surfaces.
  7. Avoid charging your headphones too much.
  8. Always use original cables, connectors, and other accessories
  9. Avoid flinging them around excessively.
  10. Regularly clean your headphone jack and the device’s audio slot.



FAQs about why does one side of my headphones not work

How are headphones reset?

Remove the headphones’ charging cable from the device. For 10 seconds, press and hold the power button. When the LED light starts to blink, your headphones have been successfully reset.

How can I clean the jack on my headphones?

Lint could become lodged in the headphone jack of your Android or iPhone after placing the device in your pocket. The best way to delicately remove these textile fibers without causing any damage is with paper clips and tape.

Can headphones with a wire be repaired?

Without needing soldering equipment, there are a number of simple DIY solutions you may perform at home to repair frayed or broken headphone wires. Additionally, there are instructions for patching up more seriously harmed headphone and earphone wiring, as well as alternatives for lost reasons. So let’s get started!

How can I determine if my headphones are defective?

  • Rattling noises and/or distorted sounds can be heard.
  • When using your Bluetooth headphones, there is no sound.
  • When you use your Bluetooth headphones, there is a delay.
  • When using wireless headphones, you hear static.
  • Only one ear or side is functional.
  • You have a bent headphone jack or plug.

Why are my headphones unable to connect to my computer?

If your Bluetooth devices aren’t connecting, they probably aren’t in pairing mode or are out of range. Try rebooting your devices or letting your phone or tablet “forget” the connection if you’re experiencing persistent Bluetooth connection issues.

How can I avoid having my headphones break?

  • Clean them up.
  • After each use, wipe.
  • Do not allow anyone else to use your headphones.
  • Brush any earwax or dirt off the driver unit gently.
  • Don’t forget to bring the jack.
  • Don’t put them in your pocket right away.
  • Avoid dangling the wires.
  • Keep your wiring neat and organized.
  • Avoid wrapping your cables tightly in loops.


There are a few possible reasons why one side of your headphones might not be working. It could be a problem with the headphone jack, the audio driver, or the headphones themselves. If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps and still can’t get the sound to work, you may need to replace your headphones. Hope this article was of some help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *