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Why is One Earbud Louder Than the Other?

Take a moment and pay attention to your earbuds. If you focus, you might’ve identified a difference in sound. After taking a moment to curse under your breath, here’s your next question: why is one earbud louder than the other?

One earbud is usually louder than the other because of dirt inside the casing. You might also check k Bluetooth connections and ensure that both earbuds are properly in your ear.

Solving your earbuds dilemma is relatively easy. You can usually rectify the issue without needing to pull the earbuds apart.

Having one earbud louder than the other can be a nightmare, so it’s handy to understand what causes it and how to fix it. So, let’s dig into the issue with some more tips below.

Four reasons one earbud is louder than the other

When you start noticing that the audio levels in your earbuds aren’t quite right, it’s time to pause the music and see what’s going on.

It might be a problem that has gone on for weeks or just happened. Either way, it’s an issue that needs to be rectified.

It will not always be the same cause that causes the problem. So it’s worth understanding what could cause this problem to happen. The issues could be:

1. Earbuds incorrectly in your ear

Earbuds are generally shaped to sit tightly within your ear canal. The tight fit within your ear canal is designed to make the sound clear and filter out any background noises.

They only need a slight knock to lodge out of position. If this happens on one side, the audio volume becomes lower than the other earbud if that is still sitting correctly.

Thankfully, a quick readjustment of the earbud can rectify this issue with minimal fuss and allow both ears to receive equal audio levels.

2. Poor Bluetooth connection

Most wireless earbuds use Bluetooth to sync with one another and the audio source. Should this connection be disrupted for any reason, it will impact what you hear.

Sometimes, this is a problem that can affect one or both earbuds. Depending on how bad the connection issues are, this will affect what you hear as you play any type of music.

3. Dirt within the earbud

The more you use your earbuds, the higher the chance debris or dirt will creep into the casing. Even if you think an earbud case will be sealed shut, there is still a chance of grime slipping into the inner part of the device.

If you think this might be the case, it is worth stopping and checking the earbud.

4. Battery levels

Should one earbud get more use than the other, then the power levels of a device could affect what you might hear.

As a battery level reaches critical levels, it will affect what you might hear from the earbud. This could be reduced sound levels, increased warnings, and the audio being completely lost from a device.

5. Other potential issues

Of course, these aren’t the only ways one earbud is louder than the other. There could be a host of other problems that you might need to explore, such as:

  • Damage to the device
  • Issues with the audio mixing
  • Issues with ear wax
  • Components affected by moisture

Whatever the problem, it is worth resolving the issue quickly to avoid damaging your earbuds or ruining your listening experience.

How to fix one earbud being louder than the other [Six tips]

When fixing the audio levels within your earbuds, there are various tricks to solving your volume issues.

Of course, the fixes will vary very much depending on what the issues might be. Some rise from a quick reset to fully pulling them apart. So what sort of fixes are on the table?

1. Repositioning the earbuds

If your earbud isn’t sitting tight, this is simply a case of re-slotting in your ear to get a tight seal within your eardrum.

To help make things easier, some earbuds are marked with an “L” or “R” to show which ear they fit in. Once you adjust, then volume levels should be well balanced again.

2. Resetting the Bluetooth connection

An interrupted Bluetooth connection can often cause problems when it comes to disrupted audio. Thankfully, this can be fixed with a few easy steps.

  1. Access the Bluetooth settings within your smartphone menu
  2. Disconnect the device. You may need to remove it from the device list to reset the connection
  3.  Press the Connect button to reset the connection
  4. Re-sync the earbuds and test the levels.

You’ve done it right if the connection restores itself without any issues. But if issues persist, it may be from one of the other problems.

3. Cleaning the earbud

If dirt or debris has been the cause for your earbud volumes to decrease, then you will need to clean the earbud to remove any grit. This can be done in several ways:

  1. Use a pair of tweezers to pick any hair or fibers out of the grill or casing
  2. Wipe any vulnerable areas with a damp cloth to remove any dust particles
  3. If using a wired device, ensure the connection port area is wiped down and clean to provide the best possible connection to the audio source.
  4. Test the device and check the audio levels

If you’ve got a phone with a headphone jack, you might also find grime there. Using a cue tip and some alcohol can help clean this out.

4. Managing Audio Levels

Sometimes, it’s not the earbuds themselves that might be the issue. The problem might lie in whatever platform you are playing the music from.

Whether it is a PC, laptop, or smartphone, it is worth checking the sound balance and mixing themselves to see whether anything is off with the audio equalization.

To do this on a PC:

  1. Access the sound menu
  2. Right-click on your synced device
  3. Select Properties and highlight the levels section
  4. Alter the channels to equalize both channels

If you are using a smartphone:

On iOS devices:

  1. Open up settings and select balance
  2. Select audio/visual from the accessibility menu
  3. Equal the channel levels

On Android devices:

  1. Open Settings and access the audio menu in the Accessibility section
  2. Select audio adjustment
  3. Adjust the balance levels

After these have been adjusted, test the levels to see if the sound levels are equal on both earbuds.

5. Recharge the batteries

As simple as it might sound but recharging the batteries may also help balance the sound levels between both earbuds.

This works as the regenerated power to the earbuds may restore enough power to bring back sound levels to the same as the other earbuds working at a higher capacity.

When charging your earbuds, it’s worth ensuring that they are both charged at the same time to maintain equal power levels and an equal balance between volume levels

6. Checking wires

If using earbuds with a wired connection, it’s important to check that the earbud’s wires aren’t damaged.

The signs of wire damage may include:

  •  Interruption in sound if knocked
  • Fluctuating sound levels

If it’s a damaged cord, you may need professional help to see if the loose connections can be fixed and restored to maintain a balanced sound during use. If it’s exposed wires, electrical tape is a great start.

Tips for keeping earbuds working correctly

When it comes to ensuring that both earbuds are working, there are several tricks you can do to ensure that they stay working properly.

Always use it as a pair

When using wireless earbuds, always use them as a pair of earbuds and not individually. Not only does this help them get a better all-around listening experience, but it also allows them to maintain a better audio balance.

This happens for multiple reasons. Firstly, using them as a pair allows for an even Bluetooth connection between them and the audio source. Sharing an equal balance splits the audio layers evenly and reduces the chance of balance levels falling in one earbud.

On top of that, using them as a pair also allows both of them to maintain equal power levels when in use. Should one earbud run low on juice, it could affect the headphones’ audio output. It’s a significant reason people realize why one earbud is louder than the other.

Keep everything clean

No matter what type of earbuds you own, keeping them in good condition is always a good idea. It improves their overall longevity and helps them maintain their overall quality.

Always ensure that the charging case is regularly wiped out. This helps remove any fibers or debris that might get trapped inside when earbuds are inserted and removed.

Also, regularly wipe them down with a cloth to remove any grit so you can always hear things in pristine condition.


Are wired earbuds more prone to damage than wireless?

No – wired and wireless earbuds are prone to the same issues regarding volume levels. A wired connection is more stable than Bluetooth, but the lack of a wire lowers the risk of long-term damage. You’ll also have to contend with the audio jack, which can get damaged over time.

Does resetting the headphones automatically fix the issue?

When trying to figure out why one earbud is louder than the other, the problem doesn’t need a lot of messing around. Sometimes, popping them back in the case and resetting them is enough to do the job.

Do earbuds need to sit tight in my ears?

To get the best sound levels when listening to earbuds, you must ensure they sit tight in your ear. Ensuring a tight fit means you can hear the audio clearly and get an even volume balance from both earbuds. Adjust their position if you think one earbud is louder than the other.


Ultimately, figuring out why one earbud can be louder than the other is not difficult. It could come down to the fact that a Bluetooth connection has been interrupted, the earbud is dirty, or it has been knocked out of position. These problems can be easily fixed by readjusting the device or resetting the connections. Furthermore, you can also adjust sound balance levels on both the device and the source to maintain an even balance.

A bit of extra care and due diligence can help avoid any dirt causing physical sound issues and ensure everything stays charged. By monitoring all these aspects, you can ensure that the sound levels stay even and always work out why one earbud is louder than the other. 

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