How to Fix One Earbud Being Louder Than the Other

Is one of your earbuds louder than the other? This is a common issue that many earbud users encounter at some point. 

In many cases, fixing this problem can be pretty straightforward and may only require a few software adjustments. However, it can be more complicated than this, particularly if the issue is hardware-related.

Hardware Issues and Solutions

Some of the most common hardware issues that could cause one earbud to be louder than the other include:

Jack Isn’t Fully Seated into the Socket

If the headphone jack isn’t fully inserted into the socket, you’ll probably notice that one earbud is quieter or softer than the other. So, before you try out other troubleshooting steps, make just that the jack is fully seated into the socket by pushing it in further. 

Dirty Jack or Earpiece

Did you know that headphone jacks and earpieces contain thousands of germs and dirt particles? That’s why it’s essential for you to clean them regularly with a slightly damp, lint-free microfiber cloth. Not only will you fix the unbalanced audio problem but also protect yourself from catching infections.

You can either use water or 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean your earpieces and jack, but of course, alcohol is preferable for disinfection.

Clean the earbuds thoroughly and make sure that you clean the meshy bits carefully to remove dirt and trapped ear wax. 

Physical Damage/Defect (Wires, Cable, Plug, Socket)

In the worst-case scenario, one of your earbuds could be louder than the other simply because of physical damage to the wires, plug, or socket. 

If you try another pair of earbuds and they’re working fine, the issue is probably in the audio cable. However, if you plug in several other earbuds and none of them have balanced audio, then the plug or socket could be damaged. 

Nevertheless, it’s recommended that you check software-related issues first before assuming that something is damaged.

Audio Signal Loss

A problem with signal transmission may imply an issue with the cable of your earbuds. Cables that are too long require audio signals to travel a longer distance. Not to mention, they add more resistance for the audio signals to get through. 

Try to use earbuds that have shorter cables, and if the cable is replaceable, don’t hesitate to get a new, shorter one.

In the case of portable music players, a signal loss could result from the line remote. Try disconnecting the line remote and see if that fixes the audio balance issue.

Earpiece Moisture

Moisture in your earpiece will likely block the sound waves and prevent them from fully reaching your eardrums, causing it to sound quieter. Some earbuds are sweatproof and waterproof, but if yours isn’t, you need to make sure that they’re dry most of the time. 

You can easily dry off your earpiece with a microfiber cloth or cotton bud.

Software Issues and Solutions

Your audio balance issue doesn’t always have to be due to hardware problems. Check out these software issues and learn how to fix them:

Poor Audio Balance Adjustment

Almost all desktop and mobile operating systems allow you to adjust the audio balance when listening to music. In other words, you can make one earbud louder than the other.

This can be quite handy if you have hearing issues in one of your ears. However, you might change these settings unintentionally and make one of your earbuds louder. 

Check the audio balance settings in your device and make sure that the volume is balanced equally across the 2 earpieces. 

Issues With Audio Settings

Sometimes, messing around with the audio settings can cause one earbud to sound louder than the other. Check for any special sound effects settings in the audio which may cause conflict. 

If you can’t figure out what’s wrong, resetting the audio settings should do the trick. 

Incorrect Output Device

Not all output devices are designed for stereo output, causing audio unbalance issues in your earbuds. Ensure that the audio source is capable of playing stereo outputs. If it’s mono, you’ll experience several audio output issues, causing one of your earbuds to sound softer.

Connectivity Issues – Wireless Earpiece

If your earbuds are wireless, there’s a chance that one of them may have run out of charge before the other. In that case, the volume will start getting lower until it disappears completely. 

Check if the earpiece is fully charged and reconnect the wireless earpiece and see if it fixes the problem.

You might also be experiencing problems with Bluetooth connectivity. Try to reset your wireless earbuds and remove them from your device’s paired connections and start all over. 

It’s also worth noting that one of your earbuds could be unable to charge or hold a charge due to hardware damage. If you plug it in, but it won’t charge, you might need to get a replacement.

If you’re under warranty, you could get a free replacement. Other than that, you’ll have to exchange it for a fee.

Audio File Issue

If your audio file is corrupted and improperly modified, it could make the sound on one side of your earbuds softer. Try to listen to another song to make sure it’s not a problem with what you’re listening to.

Some music producers make the sound on one side louder intentionally for the beats to be more noticeable.


Alright, so these were all of the common issues that may cause one of your earbuds to sound louder than the other and how to fix them. 

It’d be a good idea to check the audio jack first to ensure that it’s inserted properly. You can then walk through your audio settings. 

If all else fails, there’s a good chance that we’re dealing with a more complicated hardware problem here.

On a final note, try switching the 2 earpieces and see if the issue persists on the same side or not. If it continues in the same ear, you might be dealing with a hearing problem that you don’t know about. 

Brian Clark

Brian Clark

I’ve been a writer with Musician Wave for six years, turning my 17-year journey as a multi-instrumentalist and music producer into insightful news, tutorials, reviews, and features.

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