So you did it. You bought those wireless headphones you wanted. You loved them. You listened to them daily. And then one side stops working. Nooooooo!
Do you have to buy a new pair already? Before you do, you might want to keep reading because it could be possible to fix your wireless headphones if only one side isn’t working.
I have had this happen before and thankfully saved myself by fixing the problem. But you’ll have to take a look and see if your situation is the same.
Eventually, I did buy a new pair, but knowing how to fix that one side can help you out, especially if you haven’t had yours for very long.
Why will only one of my wireless earbuds work?
Most often, the sound is only coming out of one of the earbuds because the wires close to the audio jack. They get bent in each direction from frequent use, which can short out the wiring and impair the sound from coming out.
Take a look and see if things look amiss. It might not be readily noticeable. Or you could have some other problem that may only need a quick tweak to resolve. Either way, keep reading, and you’ll find out what to do!
How to Fix Bluetooth Headphones When Only One Side Works
Always reset your Bluetooth wireless headphones before you try anything else. If that doesn’t resolve your troubles, head to the settings, and check that they aren’t set on phone or mono, which could be the reason why only one side works.
Beats wireless headphones often have this problem when the preferences have been adjusted. If you head to ‘Balance’ when you’re in the ‘Sound’ selection, you will see the option to activate both sides.
But Beats or something else, if you’re not able to correct your one-eared sound problems with your wireless headphones by adjusting the settings, you might be having a hardware problem.
It’s worth taking a look because you might just be able to fix it all on your own and get back to jamming out.
First Things to Troubleshoot When Fixing Headphone Sound Issues on One Side
I am a big believer in tinkering. Often, the answer to our problems is right in front of us. But first, we need to take all the necessary steps for a process of elimination. You might have missed something so simple you’ll kick yourself.
To troubleshoot sound issues on one side of your wireless headphones, you need to:
- Power it on and off
- Check the balance
- Check for the mono setting
- Try reconnecting Bluetooth
- Use the sound cable
- Or even reset your headphones
Let me break this down a bit further… ask yourself:
- Did I somehow set it to only right or left? You’ll find this in balance.
- Did you leave it on mono setting for a phone call? Easy!
- Are you listening to a song recorded in mono? Your problem may go away when you change tracks.
- Did you try restarting it? That’s actually the first thing you should do with any device that’s giving you beef.
- Did you reconnect your Bluetooth? Sometimes the connection gets wonky and needs to be paired up again.
- Did you use the sound cable? Try plugging it in while you’re playing audio to see if you hear out both sides. The jack might be dirty and need a few tries to clear off as you re-insert it.
- Did you reset it? When nothing else seems to work, try resetting everything and see how it goes.
Allow me to explain more about using cables. See, when you plug in wireless through those auxiliary cables, you may uncover a stuck trigger in your port.
Inserting it and removing it and then inserting it again a few times with different angles may knock the mechanical triggers inside there back into place and solve your problem.
And what, pray tell, should you do if none of those things results in getting audio out of that stubborn side? I have some more advanced tips for your following below, so keep reading!
More Advanced Ways to Fix Headphone Sound Issues on One Side
So, would you like the good news first? Or the bad news? The bad news?
Ok! So, if none of those other troubleshooting tips worked to fix your wireless headphones and get sound playing out both sides, you’ll have to take more drastic measures.
I know that doesn’t sound good, but the good news is they can usually be fixed. You may even find it’s the audio jack in the instance of wireless headphones with a base that’s connected with another device.
If you’re fairly handy, you can tackle this all on your own. But please, before you do anything at all with these advanced steps
- Read everything first
- Gather everything you need to follow these steps, and
- Take out the batteries. You don’t want to risk a short circuit so make sure you’re cutting the juice completely.
What you’ll need:
- Screwdriver (grab your tool kit and keep the different heads handy)
- Auxiliary cable with jack plug
- Cable cutter
- Soldering kit
So, here’s what to do:
1. Check the Driver
- Pop that non-working headphone open (after removing batteries of course)
- Remove the foam pads (may require your flat-edge screwdriver to separate it from the headphone)
- Unscrew the screws
- Use the aux cable with a jack
- Cut open the other end of your cable with your slicer, so there’s about 2cm of cable revealed
- Twist the cable ends together
- Use the soldering tool to get rid of the old bonding from where the original cables were
- Solder the new cable onto those points
- Plug the jack end into your device socket
- Turn on that device and test things out
If all else has turned up nothing, this will usually resolve your issues and be music to your ears. Like literally! You’ll carry on to the next step, but if this trick didn’t work out, skip ahead to the third step listed below.
2. Check That the Port Is Working Properly
So, if you tried everything listed above and you can determine that there is no technical issue with the sound, it’s probably your port.
That port is joined with a small electrical circuit board that connects the drivers. If there’s a problem with it, then it needs to be replaced.
To determine that, you’ll need to investigate further. Try these quick tests:
- Does an aux jack feel loose when it’s plugged into it?
- Do you hear sound when you listen to music on one side while putting the cord in and out of the port?
- Does the jack get stuck or not seem to go fully inside the port?
If this all sounds like what you’re going through, you’re going to need to replace that port.
3. Replace the Defective Driver
If the initial test didn’t result in music to your ears, you will need to replace the driver that isn’t working. Here’s what to do:
- Go ahead and pop that open via the screws
- Look for where the cables are going
- With your soldering tool, take out all 4 cables so you can remove that driver
- Next, solder the 4 replacement cables on using the same technique where the old ones were previously
- Close up shop!
That should set things right again, and you’ll have saved your wireless headphones.
4. How to Replace the Faulty Port
If that jack has gone bad, you’ll need to remove it and replace it with a new one to solve your sound situation. You will first need to order a new one.
If you happen to still have your old headphones of the same model, you can always pry it out of there, though few people have that kind of stuff just lying around.
Here’s what to do to make the switcheroo:
- Get your soldering tool and remove the port from the circuit board
- Solder on a new one in the same place the old one was in
- Put everything back together again and test it out
With any luck, that saved the day!
And finally, I’d like to address those of you with this issue on true wireless earbuds. If that’s what you’ve got, keep reading!
How to Fix Bluetooth Earbuds When Only One Side Works
True wireless earbuds work a little differently, as you know. Since there’s no cable, you’ll have some of the same troubleshooting steps, along with some new ones:
- Try toggling Bluetooth on and off by enabling and disabling it from your device (sometimes, it really is just that simple!)
- Or delete the Bluetooth connection with your mobile settings and then manually pair your earbuds again (also a common and easy fix!)
- With Apple AirPods, try putting each earbud into the correct ear, then open and close the case door fully a few times (I’ve had a few Apple pals tell me this has worked like a charm for them)
- Another trick for AirPods is to simply let them warm up – you may find that after playing audio or even watching a video via a connection with your iPhone that the silent side will suddenly spring to life
- Look for battery charge – you may have accidentally not set it up right to get powered up
- Is the audio you’re playing recorded in mono? That will make it only play out one side. Try a stereo recorded track and see what that does!
If none of these things seem to have helped your true wireless headphones, then it might be something wrong with your device. It’s common with smartphones to glitch on occasion.
It’s easy to check and see if your phone is the culprit. Try pairing your Bluetooth headphones with another phone or device. Play some music or videos and see if you’re still not getting sound out one side.
If it works fine, it’s definitely your phone. You can then troubleshoot that by checking your settings or giving it a soft reset to see if that works.
And what should you do if nothing works? Or, if you just don’t feel comfortable taking your wireless headphones apart?
You have a few options here:
1) Take Your Broken Headphones to a Tech Expert to Have Them Repaired
However, that will certainly cost you. Depending on what that tech needs to do to get your driver playing out that one wonky headphone and where you’re located, the costs could be pretty steep.
2) Check Your Warranty.
If you’ve only had your wireless headphones a short amount of time and you’ve been using them properly, you could be covered by a warranty. You should check what that entails depending on the brand you have. You may be able to get a replacement.
But if neither of those apply…
3) Buy a New Set of Bluetooth Headphones
If your warranty has expired and the cost of repair is steep, you might as well just replace your wireless headphones. You can always get a newer version of your old pair, or look for the best noise-cancelling headphones and choose from those.
Sometimes, it’s very easy to troubleshoot and find a very simple reason why one side of your wireless headphones isn’t playing sound. You may feel foolish, but you can breathe a sigh of relief because it was simple to fix.
Other times though, something more complex is wrong. You should go through each method of troubleshooting until it’s apparent what’s causing the issue.
Should it be more difficult of a repair than you feel comfortable with doing yourself, you can hire someone to do it, or simply buy a new pair.
Often, many people just go ahead and buy a new set because it’s easier than spending money to repair something you’re going to replace soon anyway.
Hopefully, your problem was one of the easier ones to fix, and now you’re back to enjoying your favorite music. If not though, you can take a look and get an even better set of wireless headphones to make up for it.