How to Fix Earbuds That Work on One Side

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Updated September 29, 2022

If you are new to the world of personal audio devices, you may wonder how to fix earbuds that work on one side. Some of the best headphones, after all, are earbuds, and, unfortunately, these devices are prone to maintenance and repair issues that could impact one ear over the other. So what causes one ear to go out of the best wireless earbuds, and what are the preferred troubleshooting steps? Keep reading to find out.


  • There are many reasons why left earbuds or right earbuds would stop working on one side, such as broken wires, audio settings, and problems with the audio source.
  • Start by looking for any driver software updates and, after that, restore the earbuds to their factory default settings.
  • If moisture is to blame, dry out the earbuds in a container of uncooked rice, powering them down beforehand. For wired headphones, check out the headphone jack of your pair of headphones.

What Causes One Earbud to Stop Working?

There are a variety of factors that can lead to this problem, similar to when learning how to fix an earbud microphone. Moisture can cause one earbud to stop working, so you will have to learn how to fix water-damaged headphones, but so can other things. It could be a software error or a hardware error, such as a frayed wire. You won’t know what is causing the problem until you start troubleshooting.

How to Troubleshoot Earbuds That Only Work on One Side

Each pair of earbuds is different, and there are a number of issues that can lead to one side cutting out. Here are some simple and tried-and-true troubleshooting steps to help you get to the bottom of this and repair the issue.

Insider Tip

If none of these steps work, it may be time to contact a professional for a consultation.

Download New Driver Software

You know the drill. Using out-of-date driver software can impact every aspect of use, even causing one earbud to malfunction completely. Cruise on over to the web portal maintained by your earbud manufacturer and look for any software driver updates. Download, install, and apply the update to your earbuds by following the on-screen prompts and instructions. Do this often to stave off any future issues.

Restore to Factory Settings

Another simple thing to try is to restore the earbuds to their default factory settings. These are the settings they featured when you took them out of the box, so if you inadvertently caused the issue through settings or anything software-related, this will resolve it. The actual process for restoring these to these settings varies from device to device.

STAT: One reason your earphones might not be working properly could be the presence of debris in your headphone jack. (source)

Throw the Earbuds in Rice

If you have a sneaking feeling that moisture is to blame for the sudden outage of a single earbud, go with the old rice method. Rice actually draws out moisture from just about anything, earbuds included. Place them in a container of uncooked white rice for a couple of days and see if that resolves the issue.

Earbuds One Side FAQs

How do I fix damaged wires?

Fixing a damaged headphone jack, copper wires, output jack, or any other damaged wires requires some electrical know-how. Watch tutorials on broken earbuds and bring plenty of electrical tape.

How do I reset Bluetooth headphones?

Head into the audio settings or sound settings and look for “restore to default settings” or any similar language. Follow the prompts on your mobile device to perform the reset.

How do I fix a low battery issue?

If your pair of headphones show a consistently low battery, it may be time for a replacement of the wireless earbuds or the battery itself. Wired earbuds do not have batteries, however, so this is a problem only impacting wireless models.
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