Help! Only One Earbud Works: Troubleshooting Tips

If you’re listening to music, taking calls or watching a movie on your device with only one earbud working, it can be frustrating and ruins the user experience. This guide provides logical steps to follow in order to help you troubleshoot your earbuds and get both working properly again.

Step 1: Check the connections and cables

One of the most common reasons why people have only one earbud working is due to loose or damaged cables. The first step to troubleshooting this problem is to check the connections and cables of your device.

Use a different pair of earbuds

If you have another pair of earbuds, try connecting them to your device to check whether both earbuds work. If you can hear sound from both earbuds, the problem is likely with your original earbuds.

Connect your earbuds to a different device

Connect your earbuds to a different device, such as a tablet or another phone. If you hear sound from both earbuds, then the issue is likely with your device rather than the earbuds.

Check for debris in the headphone jack

The headphone jack is a common place where debris can get trapped, especially if you put your phone or other device in your pocket or bag. To check if there’s debris in the jack:

  • Get a flashlight and look inside the headphone jack to see if there’s anything stuck in there.
  • Blow air into the headphone jack or use a can of compressed air to clear any debris, but be careful not to blow too hard and damage the device.

Step 2: Adjust the balance and sound settings

Another possible reason why only one earbud works is that the balance settings on your device are out of sync. The following steps will help you adjust your balance settings:

Check the balance setting in sound controls

In some devices, you can adjust the balance settings to determine the volume of sound that each earbud produces. To check if this is the issue, follow these steps:

  • Go to ‘sound settings’ in your device settings.
  • Check the balance control and ensure that it is set to center or correctly. If it’s not, adjust it accordingly.

Reset your device’s audio settings

If your audio settings are incorrect, resetting to default settings may fix the issue. To reset audio settings, follow these steps:

  • Go to the device settings on your phone or tablet.
  • Select ‘General’ and then ‘Reset’ > ‘Reset all settings’.

Enter your PIN, if asked, and press confirm. This will reset your audio settings to default and hopefully solve the problem.

Step 3: Check your earbuds’ audio channel

Another reason why only one earbud may be working is that there’s an issue with the audio channel. This simple step can help you determine if the earbuds are working correctly:

Exchange audio channels

One way to test for audio channel issues is to determine which earbud isn’t working correctly, then switch the audio channels on both of your earbuds to check for differences. This can help you determine whether the issue is with the audio channels:

  • Put the side of the working earbud in your ear.
  • Switch the channels on both earbuds, so the earbud that wasn’t working before is now working and vice versa.
  • If nothing changes, then the issue isn’t with the audio channel.

Step 4: Replace your earbuds

If you’ve tried all other steps and none of them work, then you may need to replace your earbuds. Before doing so, be sure to reach out to the manufacturer or study the user manual to be sure if there’s a question about warranty or proper usage of the earbuds.

  • If your earbuds are still new, try returning them to the store or contacting the manufacturer for a refund or replacement.
  • If your earbuds have been used for a while, it might be time to invest in a new pair of earbuds.


There are several reasons why only one earbud may be working; however, with the help of this troubleshooting guide, you can determine the problem, fix it and regain your audio experience. Never hesitate to contact a professional repair person or reach out to the manufacturer before taking further steps.

Most Common Questions and Answers on ‘Can Only Hear out of One AirPod’

  • Question: What should I do if my headphones still do not work even after following the above troubleshooting steps?
  • Answer: If you have tried everything above, the issue may be a hardware fault that requires a professional repair or replacement. Contact your device’s technical support or send it to a repair center in such an instance.
  • Question: Are the earbuds still under warranty even if they are not from the original device manufacturer?
  • Answer: No, only earbuds purchased from the original device manufacturer are under warranty if the warranty duration has not expired. If you bought the earbuds from a third-party or a company other than the manufacturer, you will need to contact the third-party vendor for assistance, or check your purchase agreement for eligibility for a refund or replacement.
  • Question: I recently purchased new earbuds with both earbuds working correctly, but now only one earbud is working. What could be the cause?
  • Answer: The cause could be that a connection is loose, damaged or there is a problem with the audio channel. You should follow the troubleshooting process identified in this article to correct the issue.


  1. ‘Help! Only One Earbud Works: Troubleshooting Tips,’My Laptop Guide.’
  2. ‘How to Fix: Only One AirPod Working at a Time,’ MacRumors.

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