How to fix headphones where one side is quieter than the other?

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How To Fix Headphones With One EarBud Louder Than The Other?


The flow of music interrupted by a grossly inconsistent sound playing from both ends of your ears can be quite exasperating!  After all, who wants to hear blasting music from one side with a faint tune playing on the other? It ruins the whole experience of the headphones and that is just not what you paid for. Instead of tiring your auditory nerves to catch an even melody, try to fix the problem at hand.

One Ear bud is Louder Than the Other

One of the most common problems reported by headphone users is that the left ear bud is quieter than the right, or vice versa. This renders the whole piece useless. In such an event, we tend to throw away the earphones altogether and simply purchase new ones until this issue rears its head again. However, is that practical?

The answer is no! In order to fix earphones where one side is quieter than the other, we need to first identify the root cause.

Swap Sides

In order to troubleshoot the issue, first run a quick check to make sure the problem is not you. Swap the left earphone with right one to ensure that the hearing malfunction is not from your end. Wax build-up in our ears can hamper our hearing, causing one side of the earphone to seem softer. However, if the issue persists after this exchange, you have saved yourself a visit to the doctor!

Check Mesh of the Earphone

When headphones are regularly used, dirt and earwax may accumulate inside the mesh of the earphone. This tends to disrupt the flow of volume. Dirty earphones are usually the reason why only one side is quieter. You can easily spot grime on the surface of the earphone and clean it before you toss away the entire set.  We will talk more about the proper way to clean your headphones without damaging their functioning.

Shorted Wire

Another common reason cited behind one malfunctioning earphone is the wire attached to it. When playing music or videos in the comfortable confines of our homes, we tend to bend the wire near the audio jack at odd angles, which may cause disruption. When bent at a specific point, a shorted wire will briefly start playing music. The sound might be incoherent, but it will help you recognize the problem. Once you have tested this as the root cause, stay tuned to find out its easy fix.


Try to connect to an alternate media player. If one ear bud is still louder than the other is, the problem is with your headphones. However, if the functioning of both earphones balances, check the volume settings on your existing device or the Bluetooth connectivity if you are using wireless headphones.

How to Fix Earphones Where One Side is Quieter

After you have successfully identified the problem, it is time to rectify it. We provide you with a list of easy solutions to fix your earphones yourself.

Clean your Earphone

If the left ear bud is quieter than the right, the problem lies with the left one. Take a Q-tip and gently scrub away at the net like surface of the headphone. This will remove any gripe and ensure smooth working of your piece. Alternately, you can even blow into the mesh to remove dust and wax that may have accumulated on the surface.

Tape the Wire

Try this quick way to fix a shorted wire causing one ear bud to sound louder than the other does. Tweak the wire to spot the area where the ear bud plays some sound, albeit briefly. Simply apply electrical tape to the point where the headphone starts working when you bend it. This holds the wire together, ensuring a smooth flow of volume from the shorted wire.

Adjust Sound Setting

To fix earphones with one working bud, you should check the sound settings as well. At times, adjustments in settings can ensure smooth playing of both sides.

Apple Users

  1. Tap settings
  2. General
  3. Accessibility
  4. Move down to the hearing section
  5. Ensure the balance for the left and right buds is in the middle

Android Users

  1. Go to headphone settings
  2. Adjust Volume


Final Word

Headphones can be a pain when one ear bud is louder than the other. The differing volumes from both sides can be nerve racking! Before you toss them out due to sheer frustration, try these super simple hacks to fix your earphones. Save time, money and long trips to the store when you have the solution right on your screen! Identify the root cause and move on to easy steps listed above to ensure their smooth working.

Hi, I'm Red, the Chief Editor of Red Diamond Audio.