Earbuds are compact and convenient, adding comfort to our everyday listening experience. However, just like any other devices, earbuds can malfunction too and cause audio problems.
One such annoying problem is when only one Bluetooth earbud works at a time. If you’re facing this problem, don’t think of buying new earbuds right away.
We have the perfect solutions in mind for you to try out. Read our troubleshooting guide to fix the problems yourself and save yourself some bucks at the same time.
Let’s get started!
Proper Diagnosis of the Situation With Tests
Before we teach you how to fix your defective earbud with DIY solutions, you need to first examine the overall situation with a proper diagnosis.
Test 1: Change Device
Yes, you need to decide – are your earbuds really the main culprit here or your source device?
By “source device,” we mean the device that is actually delivering the audio. It could be your smartphone, computer, or tablet.
First things first, put another source device to the test. Connect your earbuds to a different smartphone or a laptop and then play some music.
If your earbuds sound great and are functioning properly when connected to another device, the earbuds aren’t defective.
However, if the earbuds still only work on one side no matter which device you connect them to, that means your earbuds need some serious troubleshooting.
Test 2: Change Music Channel
There’s another test you could try. If you listen to music on Spotify with earbuds, change the application and play music from another app.
Although this isn’t a legit cause of earbud problems, it may certainly occur on occasions.
One Earbud Not Working: Possible Reasons With Solutions
After you’re confirmed that it’s the earbuds that are malfunctioning not the source device, here’s what to do. You should diagnose your earbuds to check whether it has any of the problems below and then fix it with our tips.
Reason #1: Connection Interference
Interference from other wireless devices or obstacles between the earbuds and the source device can disrupt the Bluetooth connection, leading to audio playback in only one earbud.
How To Fix: Ensure Clear Line of Sight. Make sure there are no obstructions between your earbuds and the device they’re paired with.
Also, stay away from other electronic devices that could be causing interference, such as microwave ovens, cordless phones, or Wi-Fi routers.
Reason #2: Bluetooth Pairing Issues
Incomplete or improper pairing can result in audio playing in only one earbud. This can happen especially when you’re in a rush when pairing your Bluetooth earbuds and mess it up.
How to Fix: Simply reset your earbuds. You need to click on ‘Forget’ then ‘Re-Pair’ to delete the earbuds from your device’s Bluetooth settings and then re-pair them.
Here’s how you can reset any Bluetooth earbuds:
Step 1: Put them out of the case and turn them on.
Step 2: Connect the case to a power source.
Step 3: Put the earbuds back into their case.
Step 4: Press and hold the control panels for 6 seconds at the same time.
Step 5: They should be reset to factory default now. You will be able to connect them to your device again.
Reason #3: Battery and Charging Problems
Uneven battery levels or inadequate charging can lead to one earbud not working properly.
How to Fix: Charge both the earbuds if the battery level is low. Always ensure that your earbuds are properly charged before using them. Place them in the charging case and ensure the case itself is adequately charged.
You should also be mindful of their battery life. If one earbud’s battery constantly drains faster, there might be a hardware issue. Contact your manufacturer’s customer support for assistance or get it checked by a professional.
Reason #4: Audio Balance Settings
The audio balance settings on your device might be configured incorrectly.
How to Fix: You need to check audio balance. Go to your device’s audio settings and make sure the audio balance is set to the center.
Reason #5: Physical Damage or Debris:
Did one of your earbuds recently fall from your hands while going down the stairs? Note that physical damage to the earbuds or dirt and debris in the audio output can affect audio playback.
How to Fix: You should carefully examine both earbuds for physical damage. See if any part looks discolored or broken. Also, check for clogs in the audio output area.
Lastly, if you dust particles or debris in the audio output area, gently clean it using a soft, dry brush or compressed air. Don’t try to use soap and water or involve any sort of liquids. That may do more harm than good.
Reason #6: Software Updates:
Often, outdated firmware or software can cause connectivity and audio playback issues. Again, this is not very common but a possible reason.
How to Fix: Check for Updates. Check the manufacturer’s website or app for any available firmware or software updates for your earbuds. If updates are available, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to update your earbuds.
How To Clean Dirty Earbuds Thoroughly?
Like we have mentioned before, cleaning Bluetooth earbuds that are covered in dust and debris may solve malfunctioning problems right away.
This is how you need to clean your earbuds to make them work at the same time and deliver good-quality audio:
Step 1: Turn Off and Disconnect
Make sure the earbuds are turned off and disconnected from any devices.
Step 2: Remove Tips and Wings
If your earbuds have removable silicone tips or wings, gently remove them.
Step 3: Use Soft Cloth or Swab
Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a cotton swab dampened with a small amount of water or rubbing alcohol. Avoid using excess liquid to prevent damage.
Step 4: Clean Ear Tips
Clean the ear tips and wings (if removable) with the damp cloth or swab. Make sure to remove any dirt, wax, or debris.
Step 5: Clean Speaker Grilles
Gently wipe the speaker grilles on the earbuds to remove any dust or particles.
Step 6: Charging Contacts
If your earbuds have charging contacts, gently clean them with a dry cloth to ensure proper charging.
Step 7: Cleaning Case
If your earbuds come with a charging case, you can clean the case in a similar manner. Make sure it’s unplugged and disconnected before cleaning.
Step 8: Allow to Dry
If you used rubbing alcohol, make sure the earbuds are completely dry before using them again.
9. Reattach Tips and Wings
Once everything is clean and dry, reattach the silicone tips and wings if applicable.
By the way, always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning your specific earbud model, as some materials or methods might not be suitable for all types of earbuds.
By following these step-by-step guidelines, we hope you could troubleshoot and resolve some of the common problems that were causing only one earbud to work at a time.
Please note that if the issues persist after trying these solutions, contacting the manufacturer’s customer support is always a good option for further assistance. In case of severe damages, doing these DIY solutions at home won’t work, you’ll have to get it repaired or replaced with new earbuds.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Why is only one of my Bluetooth earbuds working at a time?
Answer: There could be several reasons for this – a connectivity problem, low battery, a pairing issue, or physical damage, dirt and debris, a hardware defect, etc. Try checking the battery levels, resetting and repairing the earbuds, updating them and cleaning them thoroughly. If the problem remains, get in touch with a professional technician.
2. How do you get both wireless earbuds to work at the same time?
Answer: Make sure both earbuds are properly paired and connected to your source device. Turn off Bluetooth on the other devices nearby for better connectivity.
3. One earbud is louder than the other. Why?
Answer: Uneven volume between earbuds can be caused by dirt in the speaker, an audio imbalance setting, or a hardware issue. Try cleaning the earbuds, checking audio settings, and testing with another device. If the problem remains, you may have to get it repaired by a technician or even have to buy a new pair of earbuds.
4. How do you reset Bluetooth earbuds?
Answer: First off, put both earbuds back into their charging case. Then locate the reset button on the charging case or earbuds. It might be a small hole or a button. Use a paperclip or a similar tool to press and hold the reset button for 5 seconds. Release the button once you see the indicator lights on the earbuds or case react (flashing, changing color, etc.) Now, take the earbuds out of the case and try pairing them with your device again.
5. How do you clean Bluetooth earbuds?
Answer: Use a soft, damp cloth or cotton swab to clean ear tips, wings, and speaker grilles. Be gentle and avoid excess moisture.