Why is Only One Side of my Headphones Working

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Updated June 27, 2022

If you are learning the ins and outs of home audio maintenance, you may wonder why only one side of your headphones is working. Even the best headphones, after all, are susceptible to issues that cause one ear to stop working. So what causes this issue with headphones and how can you prevent it? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Start troubleshooting this issue by downloading and installing newly released audio drivers for your headphones and audio devices to solve a connectivity issue.
  • You should also check out the relevant audio setting on your preferred audio source, be it your phone, PC, or headphones.
  • Dirty headphone jacks also cause this problem, so remove any obvious debris slowly and carefully.

Why Can I Only Hear One Side of my Headphones?

Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of reasons why one side of a pair of headphones goes kaput. Each of these issues requires its own fix if you are learning how to fix wireless headphones, for instance. But, you’ll need a basic understanding of how headphones work. With that said, here are some of the more common causes of this issue and what you can do to prevent it.

Insider Tip

Electrical tape can fix some minor issues with headphone wiring, so give it a shot to see if it fixes the issue of one ear not working.

Try Updating Audio Drivers

The issue may not lay with the headphones at all, especially if you are learning about the safety of Bluetooth headphones and are suffering from a broken ear with your wireless cans. The problem could be caused by out-of-date audio drivers embedded in the technology you are using to play your music. Try to update your audio drivers on your PC, smartphone, and, yes, even the headphones themselves.

Fiddle With Audio Settings

On a similar note, try fiddling with the audio settings on your phone, PC, or wherever else you are streaming music from. Head into your audio settings and try to suss out if there is an issue delivering data to both ears. Sometimes each ear has a dedicated volume knob, and if one is lowered by accident, well, it results in one ear not producing any sound during use. Check the audio settings for something called “balance” or simply the volume icon.

Clean the Headphone Jack

If you are using standard wired headphones, a dirty or clogged headphone jack could certainly be your main culprit. Give that headphone jack a good cleaning to remove debris and check if that fixes the issue. Use a soft brush to reach inside the jack and scoop out any unwanted materials.

Replace or Repair

In the case of a frayed wire or some other issue with the electrical components, you will have to either replace or repair the headphones accordingly. The repair procedures are likely too complex for the layperson. Headphones break often while a person exercises. They can be damaged beyond repair unless you’re using the top-rated headphones for working out.

F.A.Q.S

How to fix damaged wires?

Damaged wires can occasionally be fixed by using electrical tape or by purchasing a new pair of earphone cords. Wireless headphones, on the other hand, do not get these issues.


How to reset Bluetooth headphones?

Bluetooth headphones are great, as wireless headphones lack headphone wires. If you are looking to reset the Bluetooth, follow the manufacturer’s instructions that accompanied the wireless headphones.


What to do if nothing works?

If none of the above tips work, try wrapping exposed wiring with electrical tape or replacing your audio source or headphones. Other troubleshooting steps to fix connection issues? Take the headphones to a pro.


STAT: Proper fit is important for product comfort and performance. If the earbuds do not fit properly or the orientation is incorrect it could lead to poor audio or mic performance. (source)

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