You have a beautiful set of earbuds or headphones that sound quite premium. You have been using them for a while now and suddenly, like it always happens, they start malfunctioning. Among various other malfunctions, one of the most common problems that users face is that one side of the earbuds of headphones starts to sound significantly quieter or louder than the other piece. This completely ruins the listening experience of the user as one side being louder sounds very unnatural and disturbing. The user is constantly bothered by the difference until to a point where he buys a new pair only to find the problem recurring in the future.

One side of the earbuds being quieter than the other is a massive issue but that doesn’t mean you should throw them away and buy a pair of new ones. There is a very high chance that the problem could be a very small bug that costs you a new pair. Before buying a new pair, try to fix the problem with the existing ones. Most of the time, it works.

Why Does One Side of the Earbuds Sound Louder?

There are a number of reasons that could make one sider significantly quieter. Although the solution might be quick and easy, you have to keep trying different ways until both earbuds work fine. If they don’t, then you should think about getting them fixed or replaced. 

You could simply have a blockage in your ear, wax build-up in the earpiece, wire mesh being dirty, issue phone’s settings, earbuds compatibility problem, software issues, headphone jack issue, and much more. There are tons of problems that could occur. Although the fixes might be easy for each solution, we need to start with the ones that don’t involve any tear or DIY hacks as that could also damage the earpiece.

Here are the top reasons why one earbud sounds louder and below you can find a detailed description of how to fix it.

  • Swapping the sides
  • Earpiece blockage due to dirt
  • Cleaning Headphone jack
  • Water damage
  • Connectivity Issues
  • Sound Settings for mobile
  • Sounds settings for PC
  • Shorted wire
  • Galaxy Buds Fix
  • AirPods Fix
  • Huawei Earbuds Fix

Change sides of the earbuds

One of the quickest and easiest fixes that you should try is to swap sides. Put the left side on the right ear and the right side on the left ear. Sounds silly, right? But sometimes, you also get a low audio experience due to the blockage of your ear canal. It could be due to wax buildup and dust. In a lot of cases, a user is also just ‘feeling’ that the sound is lower. Put a different soundtrack for confirmation. If you still feel that one side of the earbud is quieter in the other ear too, then we can proceed with some solutions that can fix your issue.

Clean the Earbud Speaker for Dirt or Wax

After identifying that earpiece is at fault, the first step you should do is to clean your headphone or earbud. Why and how? Dust can get in and accumulate. When you sweat, the water can get in and mix with dust to stick inside the headphone or earbuds. The wax from your ear can also get in and accumulate over time. 


For headphones, take a cotton bud you use for your ear. For earbuds, use a toothpick (depending on the speaker size). Wrap a little bit of cotton around the end of a toothpick and soak it in alcohol. Make sure that it’s not dripping as the alcohol can get in and damage your earbuds. Clean the speakers and blow air in them to make sure all the dust gets out. 

To check if the earbud is clean, you should check if the air is passing from your earbud. Some AirPods users on Apple forums have claimed that sucking the earpiece worked for them. It took all the wax out and thankfully, it didn’t get into their mouth. One user went on to write a sarcastic comment: “Thanks, the sucking which isn’t nice worked for me.👍”. I wouldn’t recommend sucking the earpiece. Instead, use the alcohol-dipped cotton to clean it gently. In most cases, this fix works!

Clean Headphone Jack

If you are using headphones or wired earbuds, the problem could also be with your headphone jack or headphone plug. If you don’t know, there are 3 black lines on your headphone’s plug. The top black line is for the right side, second one for the left side, and the third one for the microphone. Sometimes, the jack is dirty and hence doesn’t pick up the current with the same intensity. This can cause malfunctioning of one of the sides. 


Use a cotton-dipped earbud or simply roll cotton on a toothpick. Make sure that the cotton isn’t dripping alcohol. Gently clean out the headphone jack and blow air in it to ensure all the dirt gets out. Plug the headphones in and check if the problem is fixed.

Check for signs of water damage

Check for the signs of any water damage. If your headphones or earbuds are not waterproof, there is a chance that sweat might have caused the problem on one side. Although there is no apparent way to know if the inside electronics are damaged this might be an alarm to replace your pair or claim warranty if the buds were claimed to be waterproof. This happens in very rare circumstances but taking a brief look before heading to technical stuff is a good thing.

Connectivity Issues

You could also be simply having connectivity issues. There are a number of steps you should take before claiming that connectivity isn’t or is the issue. If you are having issues with a mobile phone, the first thing you should try is to forget the Bluetooth device and pair it again with the phone.

 If the first method doesn’t work, check if the Bluetooth of your phone has the same technology as the earbuds do. Sometimes, playing earbuds rated at 5.0 Bluetooth technology doesn’t work well with Bluetooth 3.0 or 4.0 devices. In that case, pair your earbuds with a different device with compatible technology.  If they work fine, that means the issue is with your device settings or compatibility.

Adjust Sound Setting

To fix earphones with one working bud, you should check the sound settings as well. At times, adjustments in settings can ensure smooth playing of both sides. Every device has an audio balance slider in settings that adjusts the amount of sound each earpiece should get. Make sure that it is set to the balanced setting. Here is how you can access the slider settings on the various devices.

iPhone Users

iPhone users can open their phone’s ‘Settings’ app and look for the ‘General’ tab. In the ‘General’ tab, find the option named ‘accessibility’. Scroll down in the section to look for audio settings. In the ‘hearing’ section, you can find the audio balance slider. Ensure the balance for the left and right buds is in the middle otherwise adjust it. Check if your issue is fixed!

balance earbuds sounds right left

Android Users

To find the balance slider in android, go to the phone’s settings app, scroll down to find the ‘accessibility’ section. In the audio section, you’ll find the balance slider. Adjust it if you notice an irregularity. 


If you are facing problems with your headphones or earbuds while they are connected to your laptop, here is how you can tweak the audio preferences in there to see if the issue is resolved. 

Mac Users

In Mac OS, look for system preferences and search for ‘sounds’. Go through all the sound settings and just the volume, audio balance, and other settings. Check if the issue is fixed or not. 

macbook control music/sound left or right side

Apple Stack Exchange

Windows Users

In Windows OS, most of the advanced controls lie on the Control Panel. Launch the Control Panel app and look for the ‘hardware and sound’ option in there. If you are unable to find the option, use the search bar for your assistance. Make sure that your earbuds or headphones are connected to your PC in order to show there. In the playback tab, click on the earbuds icon and head to properties. Make sure that the balance slider is fine. You’ll find the slider in the ‘levels’ tab in properties. Restart your computer and see if the issue is fixed.


Faulty Headphone Wire

If you own a wired piece of headphones, the wire could be causing the issue. Sometimes, wires are bent which disturbs the current flow and causes distortion in sound due to loss of data. Make sure that there is no sign of damage to the wire at any point. 

Fix the bends and curves and put tape on the damaged area of the wire. If that doesn’t work, replace the wire. When you continuously insert and pull the plug out of the headphone jack, it damages the wire at the end of the plug. If it is faulty, get it fixed. Otherwise, put tape on it to avoid any future problems.

Galaxy Buds Fix: Right Side Louder than Left Side

Sometimes, the issue is more complicated than you think. For some renowned brands, there are some more steps you can take if the issue isn’t resolved by any of the steps above. Here are some further steps you can take to fix your Galaxy Buds.

  • Make sure that you reset the earbud settings. To do that, go to > About earbuds > Reset earbuds > Reset.
  • If you are paired with a Samsung device, make sure that you are using the latest software available on that device. If not, try updating.
  • Go to the application details from the settings app and clear the cache of Galaxy Wearable and Galaxy Buds Plugin apps. 

AirPods Fix: One Side Louder than the Other

For Apple users, there isn’t much extra to do other than some settings. Most of the methods listed above should solve the issue. Otherwise, try resetting some of the settings.

  • Reset your AirPods. It might sound too obvious but it will fix minor bugs and connectivity issues. To do that, press the setup button on the back of the charging case of your AirPods. The light will flash amber a few times and then flash white. This is an indication that the AirPods have been reset. Now check if the issue is solved!
  • Reset your phone’s settings. In android, you can go to factory reset and select the settings reset option. In iPhone, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings > enter your passcode > Confirm reset settings and boom! Your settings are reset. This would get you back to the default settings for audio and connectivity. 
  • If you still can’t figure it out, get back to Apple customer support and get it fixed.

Huawei Buds Fix: Low Sound on One Earbud

Huawei users have been facing the same issue with the famous Freebuds 3 model. The solution is somewhat the same for all the models. If you have no luck after cleaning the buds and applying other solutions, Huawei has something for you in-store.

  • Check for the latest software updates on the device and relevant applications.
  • Make sure that you have an AI life app installed on your device to check the status and details of the buds. Connect your earbuds through the app and check for any imbalances in the app’s settings. 
  • Otherwise, reset the Freebuds. To do that, press the function on the charging case for about 10 seconds until the LED indicator blinks green, red, and blue light. This means that the earbuds are reset.

Final Words

Most people quickly replace their earbuds without giving enough thought to why the problem occurs. Electronics are complicated and it’s common for them to malfunction sometimes. There are many easy solutions that you should try before declaring them dead. Start with the easy ones that won’t hurt your earbuds or headphones physically. Many people tear their buds apart because a Youtube video asked them to. Do not physically alter your earbuds until you have tried the software-related solutions and done the cleaning. 

Hopefully, your issue will be fixed. If not, contact the customer support of your earbuds company for further assistance.