Why Is One Earbud Louder Than The Other And How to Fix It

It's very annoying when listening to music but one side of the sound is faulty. Why is one earbud louder than the other? We will find out now.

by Derrick Reeves | Updated: August 12, 2021

*Products recommended in the post contain affiliate links. If you buy something through our posts, we may receive a commission at no extra charge to you.

One of the most common complaints that people have with their headphones: "Why is one earbud louder than the other?". This can be a frustrating problem, but thankfully there are easy ways to fix it! In this blog post we will go over some of the reasons why your headphones might sound louder on one side and how you can fix those problems.

Why One Earbud Louder Than The Other

Issues With The Audio Mix

Audio mixing issues are one of the most common reasons why people think their headphones sound louder on one side than the other. Audio engineers work with audio mixers to achieve a specific volume level for each song.

If there is an imbalance in your audio mixer, it will show up as being louder on one side of your headphones than the other because some frequencies take more power to produce and can be heard at lower volumes without distortion while others need higher levels so they'll end up sounding quieter even though they're at the same volume setting on both sides.

Loss And Problems With Audio Signals

When you're listening to music on your headphones, it may be that a song has been mixed for stereo speakers and not specifically for headphones. In this case, there's some math involved in figuring out what type of soundwaves need more power to get them through all sides properly.

A lot of times something as simple as a loose connection or an old audio cable can make one headphone quieter which seems weird because they are plugged into the same device! That is why running quality cables will help avoid any problems!

Loss And Problems With Audio Signals

Connectivity Issues

This often happens when you use wireless headphones. If there's a lot of interference or if the device loses power, then one side will become quieter.

Wireless devices are notorious for getting out of sync. When one side is quieter than the other, it can be because interference or battery life has decreased and there's no way to adjust the volume on both sides simultaneously.

Wireless devices tend to get pretty far off track when they have pairing issues. Loss of connection has nothing to do with the mechanism to block noise from Noise-Cancelling Headphones, so check twice.

Wrong Device Settings Problems

Wrong Device Settings Problems

In my phone settings, I was able to adjust the volume levels for the right and left sides in order to resolve the issue of my headphones playing louder on one side than the other.

Make sure that the volume levels of the left and right are equal before testing the sound. To determine if it makes a difference, you may need to adjust the sliders slightly. To make things a bit more complicated, various systems will have different ways to resolve this issue.

iPhone User:

A similar problem could be caused by incorrect left and right balancing if you have an Apple or an iPhone. In Settings, go to General > Accessibility > Hearing in order to check this. The balances for left/right can be adjusted through this menu.


Android users can select Headphone Settings by pressing and holding the Home button.

The Google Assistant app can also be used to access this. To change your headphones settings, go to More > Settings > Headphones. Using the new volume controls for headphones, you can customize the volume.

You can also check your headphones' audio settings if you're using them with a PC or MAC. Moreover, the devices can also be adjusted in terms of volume and balancing.

For those of you who use a Mac:

The first step is to examine the main volume of your MAC. Here are the steps you need to take:

Click on Sound in the System Preferences section of the Apple menu. Select your headphones from the Output tab (if they are not there, your headphones may not be connected).

Check the volume settings by using the volume slider.

Ensure your audio balance on the slider is between left and right.

Additionally, if you are still having trouble with the volume on one side of your headphones or earbuds, you should try restarting the Sound Controller:

Double-click Activity Monitor by going to Applications > Utilities.

To find the Core Audio controller, type 'coreaudiod' into the search box. The Core Audio daemon runs on your computer.

Click the (X) button to quit coreaudiod; the sound controller will then restart when you do. Your problem will hopefully be resolved.

For Windows User:

There are a couple of different ways to find volume settings on a Windows PC.

In the lower right corner, you should be able to find the sound icon. Check the volume level and headphone settings by right-clicking and selecting Open Volume Mixer.

Enter the Sound Settings command in the Start Menu. The sound volume can now be checked from here. To manage connected devices, such as audio devices, go to Device Properties.

Navigate to the App Volume & Device Preferences page. Here you can check the volume of your headphones.

Your Headphones Are Dirty

Your Headphones Are Dirty

When you wear headphones, it is important to make sure they are clean.

The more you use your headphones, the dirtier they get. From sweat to pet hair and smog particles—even things like chewing gum or food can leave their mark on your favorite pair of earbuds!

Things like hair, earwax, or makeup and sweat form a gooey mix of dirtiness against the headband which gradually expands as more layers accumulate over time - gross!

And worse yet, there are billions of infectious bacteria living in your desk drawer and just waiting to rub into the delicate folds of the earpads by improper storage.

You can tell if there's a problem with your headphones by looking at the earpads on either side of them.

If one pad has dirt all over it while the other does not, then that means something might be wrong because manufacturers usually want both sides equally loud in volume so people don't have to decide which way around they like their headphone set up when using them for different reasons such as gaming or listening to music.

Your nice set of Beats by Dr. Dre might be looking a little worse for wear these days after all that time spent in various backpacks, gym bags, and pockets.

Problem With Headphone Jack

Problem With Headphone Jack

Your headphones will sound just as good as new when you clean your jack!

It's possible something sticky is on the metal tip and what happens most often it that this prevents connection with a headphone’s wire; all of sudden one side stops working. To fix this problem try using rubbing alcohol - always make sure there are no visible marks because if so don't use any chemicals or cleaners to avoid permanent damage.

If there is no noticeable damage or you cannot figure out why your jack isn't working, don't replace it right away.

Hearing Problems

One of the best things about earbuds is how you can plug them in on either side. But what if one of your ears has a hearing issue?

You could end up having different volume levels between both sides, but there's an easy fix for that! Just switch to another pair and see where it gets louder or quieter than before- then go get yourself checked out by an ENT specialist or Otolaryngologist who knows their stuff when it comes to this kind of thing.

It may be worth getting those same specialists to clean out any impacted earwax too; some use tools with suction which will suck all the wax right off from inside your eardrums safely without damaging anything else.

Moist Earbuds

Keeping your headphones clean and dry is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Washing them improperly can lead to mold, mildew, or bacteria growing inside the device which will harm both you and its performance.

Humidity rots electronics just as much as it does food so keep that in mind when storing at home for long periods of time!

There are many ways music lovers easily mess up their precious earbuds without even realizing- from accidentally dropping them on concrete floors to using water during activities like swimming with friends; but don't worry they're not completely ruined forever!

You should always take care by wiping off any dirt or moisture before putting buds back into case after use since this might cause damage over the long term if left unchecked.

Unseated Audio Jack

Unseated Audio Jack

How does this often happen? The issue is caused when the audio jack isn't fully inserted in your device.

When you plug a pair of headphones into an incompletely plugged-in port, sound from either side may be louder than the other and it can become unpleasant to listen to music or podcasts on that particular headphone because one ear will always have more volume than the other.

The problem occurs with any type of faulty connection between your phone's micro USB connector (or 3.5mm adapter) and its charging jack - not just for cases where there are no speakers present on both sides of your headphones! If you've ever experienced this scenario before, then we bet you know how frustrating these problems can get.

Audio File Problems

There is almost always an issue when it comes to the audio file, which can cause problems like having one ear louder than the other or sounds coming out of only one side.

If an audio file is a culprit causing hearing difficulties for people who use their phone as a speaker during loud noises like a concert or sporting event where a lot of people are cheering around you, This is going to be a bad impression. My advice is to always double-check your files.

It is often the case that no matter how high you increase the volume, the sound will remain low or very low if the audio file is the problem.

Switching Device Outputs

Here's a quick explanation of mono and stereo in case you don't know. In Mono, only one channel is used to transmit sound.

In Stereo, more than one channel is used to transmit sound through the system. You'll be able to hear different sounds from different channels if you have stereo headphones and listen to a stereo source.

The device, however, could very well output the sound only to the left if the device is mono. A single sound output accounts for this. To prevent this from happening, ensure that your audio source can output stereo sound.

You can also find out what to do with your jack by reading the label. When the output is meant for earphones, the jack will be marked mono, while headphones will be marked stereo.

Defective earbuds

You may be a victim of product defects which are always unfortunate but occasionally happen.

Manufacturers, like any business in this world, want their products to come out perfect and it is rare for there not to be errors or flaws somewhere on the production line.

So if this is your problem check for any warranty information and then contact customer service with questions about what they can do for you because sometimes manufacturers will replace an item immediately if it is under warranty even when it was used by accidentally!

Damaged Headphones

Damaged Headphones

I lost countless tangle-free headphones because I was too careless.

Pulling my headphones off the table to the floor because of a broken cable, or putting it down too close to an edge and smashing them on impact with the ground (cringe).

It's not like they're cheap either. When this happens, you'll probably stop hearing from your earphones since their drivers will be damaged in most cases.

If that isn't bad enough for you already then imagine how much worse things can get when one side of your headphone has completely busted out!

This is also risky because in other cases, your broken cable will stop working which means you can't use these anymore since all of the headphone parts were inside, connected together with those cables.


And that is all reason why is one earbud louder than the other. Whenever this happens to you, check to see if they fall under any of the above scenarios.

If you need a warranty, take them to the shop. And if they can't warranty, also go to the store to buy yourself another headset. In this heart, we don't want the reason for this to come from your ears.

Hope the above helps you in some way, I will always compile the problems of sound, home studio and update it for you.