How to Fix Bluetooth Earbuds When Only One Side Works?
So you put in your earbuds and play your morning jam, but what’s that? One of the Bluetooth earbuds has gone dumb. That’s quite frustrating, and also horrifying if you happen to have a quality pair of earbuds like Redux earbuds or Airpods. However, this is a common problem with both wired and wireless headphones.
The problem isn’t always related to your earphones, and sometimes may even be resolved with simple fixes. You first need to rule out whether the problem is in your earbuds or your device. That can happen more often than not and can be resolved very easily.
Bluetooth earbuds have gotten very fancy and expensive over the years. Rather than just buying a new pair, it would be economical to first try and fix the ones you have.
Ways to Fix Wireless Earbuds with Only One Side Working
Now, there are a couple of solutions to this problem. First, you want to ensure that the problem is not caused by your media device (laptop, mobile, tablet, etc.). When you’ve ruled out your device settings, you can move on to the earbuds as that ensures the problem is with the earbuds.
A change in the settings of your device may result in this problem. If not, then the earbuds really are not working properly and need fixing. However, there are fixes for those too.
1- Diagnosing the Problem
Just go through each solution one-by-one until you’ve resolved the issue.
● Try Another Pair of Earbuds
The simplest solution to finding out if the problem is with your device or the earbuds is to simply use another pair of earbuds. Now, you want to use wireless earphones to ensure instead of wired ones as those use an audio jack.
You’re checking whether there’s a problem with the wireless data transmission, and that can only be confirmed by wireless earbuds.
If the problem persists in another pair of earbuds too, that means you need to check your device settings. On the other hand, if another pair of wireless earphones work fine, the problem lies with the earbuds in question.
● Connect with Another Device
Not everyone has an extra pair of Bluetooth earbuds hanging in their home. So another way to rule out device setting problems is to connect with another device. You can connect them with your laptop, tablet, or another phone.
If the earbuds work fine on a different device, your device settings are causing the problem. On the contrary, if the earbuds still don’t give sound in both the ears, they need some fixing.
2- Troubleshooting Device Problems
Here are the things you can do to troubleshoot the device problems.
● Restart the Device
If your device is the culprit, the first thing to do is to simply restart it.
For an IT Crowd fan, “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” may bring a smile on your face, but you know what; Ross wasn’t wrong. As is the case with most technologies, simply turning it off and then turning it back on can do the trick.
Sometimes a software update can cause this problem, so rebooting resolves it. However, If the problem persists even after restarting, move to the settings.
● Check Audio Settings
Your device’s settings may be a bit off and causing the issue. There are typically two problems that cause ‘Sound in Only One Ear’ problem:
- Mono setting turned on
- Unbalanced audio (left/right)
Make sure that the mono setting is not enabled. Mono basically plays the same audio in both ears, but can sometimes cause this issue. The balance problem occurs when the balance scale may be turned all the way to the left or right.
You can check for mono and balance settings in your device’s Accessibility settings.
- On iPhone/iPad: go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/Visual
- On Android phones: go to Settings > Accessibility > Audio and On-Screen Text
You’ll see a slider displaying left and right. It should be right in the middle for a well-balanced sound. If the settings are ok, or the problem persists even after adjusting the slider, there’s definitely a problem with your earphones.
3- Fixing the Earbuds
Follow the steps and there are good chances that you can fix your Bluetooth earbuds.
● Reset the Earbuds
The easiest solution is to reset the wireless earphones. A factory reset will likely resolve any connectivity issues causing the problem.
Press the power button of your earphones and reset them. The process may vary by earphones, so make sure to follow the right process for your particular model. Once reset, you’ll have to reconnect your wireless earbuds.
In earbuds that don’t have the option to fully reset, simply disconnect the Bluetooth and connect again. We’re not talking toggling Bluetooth off and on, but deleting the earphones from the list manually, and then connecting them again.
Now, check if resetting them solved your audio imbalance problem.
● Halfway Point Issue
If you have a pair of wireless headphones that also have a wire, you can check if they have the halfway point issue. This basically occurs when the audio is stuck halfway when transmitting wirelessly.
To check if you have the halfway point issue, simply insert the earphone cable into the audio jack while the music is playing. If the audio activates in both ears, the problem is a halfway point issue.
Insert and remove the cable into the audio jack until you can hear the sound in both ears when playing wirelessly.
This is only valid for earbuds that are hybrid and have an aux cable as well. For earbuds that are completely wireless like Apple’s AirPods and Redux Noise-Canceling Earbuds, you cannot apply this solution.
● Broken Wire
If all of the above solutions fail to fix the problem of sound on one of the earbuds only, the most likely issue is a broken wire inside the earbud. You’ll need to open the earbud and check for any broken or displaced wires inside.
Now, there are two ways to go about this. You can either try it yourself and see if you can find a broken wire. You’ll need a soldering iron to fix the broken wire.
The second option is to take it to a professional and have them check the hardware. This is a safer option if you’re not familiar with electrical hardware. Any technician can do this for you for a fee, and fix the wires.
Important Note: Take your earbuds to the manufacturer’s store or the retailer you bought them from if you have a warranty for them. Many expensive earbuds may have a year’s warranty, so if it’s valid, it’s best to let them fix the issue.
● Clean the Earbud
If the volume in one ear is low, perhaps the issue could be dirt accumulated on the cover or mesh where the sound comes out of. Over time dirt and ear wax can accumulate on these tiny covers, which results in low or no sound.
It’s best to occasionally clean them with a q-tip or cleaning cloth. Don’t apply any water or cleaner as that can get inside the earbud and mess with the internal circuitry. Just lightly scrape off any dirt present on the outer cover.
Earbuds like Redux are surprisingly easy to clean so if they are dirty, that’s on you.
Tips on Taking Care of Your Wireless Earbuds
For someone who listens to music and podcasts daily, their earbuds are a prized possession. You’d want these earbuds by your side wherever you go.
So something that essential warrants some care too. A lot of times, issues occur because of your own rough handling.
Here are some tips to ensure your Bluetooth earbuds last long:
- Always store them in their case when they are not in your ears
- Don’t overcharge them or use incompatible cables
- Clean them frequently, especially the casing on the speaker/diaphragm
- Invest in quality earbuds from a reliable company
Bluetooth earbuds are becoming a norm gradually, with so many companies offering a wide range of them. You can find these wireless earphones in both budget-friendly and luxury models that can cost over $200. However, technical issues can occur no matter what kind of earbuds you have.
The solutions in this post will most likely resolve your issue of only one side working. Many times its simple configuration problems and not a hardware issue. If it’s a faulty wire or circuit, you can still salvage the earbuds by fixing the wire.
It’s a lot more sustainable and economical if you just repair the ones you have rather than throwing them away and buying a new pair.