How to Fix Bluetooth Earbuds When Only One Side Works

Updated On February 8, 2021
By Harry Singleton

In Guides

So your favorite Bluetooth earbuds have decided to die on one side. *Sigh* This can be super frustrating and let’s face it, only listening to music in one ear just ruins your sound experience. Particularly if you use your wireless headphones regularly to drown out external noise so you can work better.

But, wait. Before you solemnly bin them, there are some tricks you can try to get them back to full working order again. This is quite a common issue with headphones but luckily, it can be easily solved. 

There are a few methods of repairing your earbuds, but it does depend on what type you’re using. Each one is different and will need a specific repairing technique. Once you know how to repair a set of headphones though, you’ve got a skill that could be rather handy in the future!

We’ll take a look through some common causes of malfunctioning Bluetooth earbuds and steps on how to bring them back to life. As well as that we’ll answer some FAQs to help you with this super annoying issue. So, if you’re wanting to know how to fix headphones that only have sound in one ear, then check out the guide below!

Common Causes of Malfunctioning Bluetooth Earbuds

There aremultiple explanations as to why your Bluetooth headphones have suddenly started to malfunction. This is both good and bad. It’s good because a lot of causes usually mean there are many ways on how to fix earbuds. Unfortunately, it can be difficult knowing the exact reason for your earbuds breaking down. 

If you take your earbuds with you everywhere, you should be carrying them in a protective case of some kind. Just throwing them haphazardly into your bag or pocket is asking for trouble. They get chucked around, crushed, bent, and twisted. This will cause no end of damages, so always make sure you use a case.

Sleepwith your earbuds in? Yeesh, that’s a bit risky. We can’t control what we do in our sleep and once you’re firmly in the land of nod it’s highly likely you’ll be moving around, rolling over or tossing and turning. Considering that on average, you’ll sleep for 7-8 hours a night, that’s a lot for your earbuds to put up with, so it’s not surprising that you end up with one earbud that doesn’t work. But don’t panic, if you need to sleep with some kind of sound, then you can buy specially designed sleep buds.

A 5-Step Guide to Fixing Your Earbuds

1. Try An Alternative Pair Of Headphones

First and foremost, you need to check whether it’s your headphones that are the problem. One way to do this is to use another pair of headphones that are in perfect working order and pair them with your device. If you don’t have another pair you can use, see if you can borrow some from a friend. If everything is fine then you know for definite that the problem is with your headphones. If both pairs are only working on one side then adjust your device’s audio settings.

2. A Reset Is Possibly Needed

If you’ve concluded that it is your headphones breaking down on one side, then one solution is to give them a quick reset. It’s super easy to do, simply press the power button on your device and keep holding it down until the headphones flash blue or red. Then try connecting them to your device again to see if that works.

3. Look For Broken Wires

If your headphones are fully charged and are still only working on one side then you’ll need to start looking for broken internal wires. To do this, don’t worry it’s super easy. Open the Bluetooth device, and remove the case. Use a soldering iron, find the broken wires and reconnect them. From there, put it all back together inside the case and turn the Bluetooth function back on to test it.

4. Check If It’s On Mono Setting

If the audio is set to mono then the sound will only play through one of the headphone speakers, making you think that they’re broken. This is annoying as you may unknowingly throw away a perfectly fine pair of Bluetooth headphones, so make sure to double-check this!

5. Make The Most Of Your Warranty

Most earbuds, especially the more pricey ones, tend to come with at least a 6-12 month warranty. If your earbuds malfunction within that warranty period then it’s wise to take advantage of it and have them professionally fixed. Trying to fix your earbuds yourself could affect the warranty if something doesn’t work and they get ruined, and then, well, you’re stuck with a broken pair of headphones.

If you are a tech expert then by all means repair them yourself and preserve the warranty for a bit longer, however, if you don’t know what you’re doing then it’s not worth the risk.


Why is only one side of my earbuds working?

 When a pair of earbuds stop working or there’s only sound from one side, you might assume that they’re broken beyond repair. You’ll panic and frantically start turning the house upside down looking for a spare pair. Then when you realize that your ‘broken’ wireless headphones are your only pair, you desperately surf the net.

But then you’ve got to pay delivery costs AND wait a few days for them to arrive. Na-ah, you don’t need to wait that long or spend any money, particularly if your earbuds cost an arm and a leg, to begin with.

There are many reasons for headphones only working on one side and it’s important to get to the root of the problem before you can solve it. It could be that they’ve been dropped, accidentally sat on, or that there’s a wiring issue somewhere.

How do you get both wireless earbuds to work at the same time?

If you’re a whiz when it comes to technology then you may find it super easy to fix your earphones. If you’re just an average Joe when it comes to all things techy, then it may be wiser to seek the help of someone professional to fix your earphones. It may just be a case of rebooting them by turning them off, leaving them for a bit, and then turning them back on to check whether it worked.

You can try switching the power off and restart both earphones. Wait for your device to pick up your wireless earphones and pair them up again. Wait for the notification that they’re paired up. If your earphones are still fairly new then this may be all they need, however, if they’re older the issue may be a bit more serious.

The last thing you want to do is ruin your warranty by making the problem worse – always make sure you know what you’re doing before you attempt any DIY repairs, otherwise get a professional.

When will I need to buy new earbuds?

Unfortunately, there will come a time when your headphones are completely kaput and you just can’t fix them. If they’re only a cheap pair then replacing them may not be a huge problem, but if you’ve spent a pretty penny on them it can be frustrating. If you’ve had them for less than a year it may be worth contacting the manufacturer and asking their advice. If it’s been longer than a year then you may just have to accept that that’s the lifespan of most earphones.

Signs that you may need to buy new Bluetooth earphones include issues with the sound quality. If the audio quality begins to deteriorate or you start hearing crackling noises, you may have to kiss goodbye to them. Another sure-fire sign is the Bluetooth becoming unstable and unreliable. If you’re struggling to connect to your device or get a good signal, it might be a case of Sayonara for these earphones.

Other signs include pain when you wear them. If your headphones don’t fit right then they’ll cause discomfort and that’s something you shouldn’t have to put up with. Our ears come in all different shapes and sizes so make sure to try a few different pairs before you decide on a winner.

If the sound just doesn’t work at all, well that’s pretty self-explanatory, those earphones need to get in the bin! Another definite sign your earphones are on their way out is how long the battery is lasting. If they’re dying every few hours or taking forever to charge, you may have to think about upgrading.

If you have multiple pairs lying around with only one side that works, you can pair up the functioning ones as long as they are the same or similar models. Although the sound won’t be as good quality as a matching pair, at least you’ll have a working set of earphones so you don’t have to miss out on your favorite music.