How to Fix a Wired Earphone that Works Only in One Ear? 

Imagine yourself binge-watching popular web series on Netflix or listening to your favourite tracks over the weekend, and all of a sudden, your wired earphone stops functioning in one ear. It ruins your mood completely and leaves you utterly frustrated.

Moreover, if you use your headphones to listen to calm beats and block off external noise at work, it may adversely affect your productivity. While you can always order a new pair of headphones, but parting away with your expensive headphones can be painful.

Rather than throwing away your faulty headphone, it’s better to check if your headphone can still be fixed. With the appropriate tools and instructions by your side, fixing headphones serves as an attractive and economical solution to purchasing new ones.

Read this article to find out the general instructions and tips for fixing wired headphones that work in only one ear.

Common Reasons for Defective Headphones

Your headphone may get faulty due to the following reasons:

  • Malfunctioning jack plug
  • Issues with the audio jack
  • Electric short in the wires
  • Defective earpiece

How to Identify the Reasons Behind the Malfunctioning of Your Headphones

The first step in fixing the malfunctioned headphone is to find the source of the problem. Then, you can go through the below-mentioned troubleshooting tips to pinpoint the reason why your headphones got faulty.

  • Try listening to the audio by plugging in the headphones. If you feel there are breaks in the audio transmission, adjust the position of the cable while listening for feedback. If you can hear the sound by keeping the cable in a particular position, it indicates an electrical short.
  • Insert the plug by pushing it gently into the audio jack and listen for feedback. If you hear the sound, the problem may lie with the plug that requires fixing.
  • Try listening to sound by using another pair of working headphones. If you don’t hear any sounds, it indicates that the issue lies with the headphone jack itself.
  • Test the wires using a multimeter and listen for beep sound to ensure there are no breaks in the wire. In the absence of any beep sounds, you may need to repair the wires.

Tools Required for Fixing Defective Headphones

Check the documentation of your headphones for details regarding the warranty period. If your headphones are well under the warranty period, you can get them repaired for free by calling customer care.

If you want to fix your headphone, you may need the following tools:

  • Sharp blade or a pair of scissors
  • Wire strippers
  • Duct or electrical tape
  • Solder and a soldering iron
  • Lighter
  • The third hand with alligator clips

How to Fix Faulty Headphones Without Tools

Depending on the underlying problem, you may not always need the tools for fixing your faulty headphone. If the issues lie with the wires, you can fix your headphone without opening them.

  • Try adjusting the wires or cords by twisting, straightening, or bending in various directions. Listen for feedback, and you might hear the sound as the damaged wires touch. This helps in determining the exact location of the electrical short.
  • Generally, the faulty connection occurs near the audio jack or earpiece. When you find out the exact position of the cable that produces sound, hold the wire in its place with your fingers.
  • Take an electrical or duct tape and wrap it around the short wire position while keeping the holding pressure on the cable continuously. This causes the tape to compress the cable enough for maintaining the connection between wires.
  • Another way is to bend the cord over on itself and wrap it together at the kink using the tape to prevent it from moving and leaves the wires touching each other.

How to Rule Out the Possibility of Error From Your Audio Source

Before you discard or begin to fix your earphone that works only in one ear, rules out the possibility that the issue does not lie with your audio source. Ensure that your audio settings are proper and don’t contribute to the headphone problems.

Follow the steps below for ruling out the possibility of the error caused by audio sources, including your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC.

Check the Audio Settings

The audio settings of your source device may cause your headsets to play only in one ear. Check the audio properties of your device and confirms that the mono option is turned off.

Ensure that the voice levels are balanced on both left and right earbuds. To do so, click on the sound icon on your computer, select levels, and then select balance. Make sure that the voice levels are equal on both sides.

Use Another Working Pair of Earphones

Get a pair of working earphones, connect them to your device, and check if this headphone is working perfectly. If you can listen to audio without any issues in both ears, it indicates the issue lies with your headset.

On the contrary, if these working earphones play only in one ear, you need to check your device’s audio settings.

Restart the Source Device

Restart your device like your smartphone, laptop, or PC, and then check for the functioning of headphones in both ears.

If you find the issue resolved, it indicates that it might be related to any software updates. However, if your headset still plays audio in only one ear, you need to check the audio settings of your device.

Clean the Headphone Jack

Your headphone may accumulate lint and dirt as you move around indoors and outdoor; while wearing them. Over time, this dust gets trapped in the headphone jack and interferes with the audio output resulting in a loose connection between the headphone jack and the port.

If you observe that your headset works great in other gadgets but plays only in one ear when plugged into your device, try cleaning the headphone jack of your PC or phone.

Use a brush toothpick with a pointed tip for loosening the dirt carefully, and then scoop out the dust with a brush.

How to Fix Disconnected Wires Near the Jack

The disconnected or damaged wires may lead to a defective headphone that plays only in one ear. It happens because users yank out their headset’s jack from their laptops or phones when in a hurry. Others disconnect the headset from the device by tugging at the cord.

These habits result in damaged or disconnected wires near the headset’s jack. To resolve this issue, follow these steps.

  • Cut through the protective plastic base near the earphone jack and cord by using a knife or cutter.
  • Identify the section that comprises disconnected or damaged wires and then cut off this section.
  • Take off the plastic cord located at one end of the headset cord.
  • Burn off the wire’s insulation by using a lighter or a match stick.
  • Use a solder for soldering the wires to the earphone jack
  • Ensure to connect the wires appropriately to their respective section on the earphone jack.
  • Use an electrical tape or a heat-shrink tube for wrapping the newly joined section.

How to Fix Shorted Wires

When the earphone cords are wrapped improperly or got tangled, it may result in the shorted earphone wires causing headsets to play only in one ear. You can locate and fix this issue by following the below-mentioned steps.

  • Play any audio or video file on your device and plug in your headphones
  • Identify the location of the electrical short by bending the earphone cord at every half inch across its length. Keep doing this till you listen to sound coming in both earbuds.
  • Cut and remove the defective part of the wire.
  • Now, hold the remaining portions of the earphone cord. Next, expose the wires by slicing through the tips of the plastic cord.
  • Now separate the coloured wire, insulation wire, and copper wires.
  • Cut the insulation wires using a knife or a cutter. Keep the copper wires together by twisting them.
  • Burn off the enamel at the tip of the coloured wires by using a lighter or match stick.
  • Twist the coloured wires to join them and then wrap them securely with electrical tape.
  • Similarly, join the ground wires by twisting them and using electrical tape for wrapping them securely.
  • Make sure that the ground wires don’t come in contact with the coloured wires.
  • Secure this newly linked section by wrapping electrical tape around it.

How to Fix a Broken Headphone Plug

If you find out that your headphone’s plug is damaged, you need to get it replaced with a new one. Buy a metallic plug with a stereo connection and ensure its spring is the same size as your current plug.

  • Use a cutter or a blade for slicing the damaged headphone plug. Make sure to cut through the cable at an inch above the meeting point of the cable and plug. Next, remove an inch of the cable’s cover by using wire strippers or a pair of scissors so that the wires are exposed.
  • Now separate the wires as per the colour and type. Finally, burn off the enamel coating of the cables by using a lighter.
  • Ensure to keep like-coloured wired together by twisting them. Similarly, twist the frayed ends of two ground wires for keeping them together.
  • Take your new headphone’s plug and slide its sleeve over the wire so that the part of the wire meant for connecting with the plug faces the exposed wire.
  • Use a soldering iron for soldering the ends of each wire and allow it to cool.
  • Add solder to the pin located in the plug’s housing and melt the solder by applying heat.
  • Connect the wire to the plug by touching the soldered pin to the soldered end of the wire.
  • Follow a similar procedure for connecting the other wires.
  • Use sandpaper to rough the edges of the soldered wire to be easily connected with the plug pins.
  • Now screw the jack sleeve into the plug for assembling the new headphone plug. Ensure that the sleeve is secured tightly and wires aren’t in contact with each other.
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