Headphones Only Work In One Ear

Headphones Only Work In One Ear The Common Causes And Easy Fixes (Windows 10)

Having headphones that only play in one ear might aggravate, especially if you regularly listen to music or watch movies. If you’ve been relying on your earbuds and preferred tunes to shut out noise while working, this problem is sure to affect your productivity.

It’s simple to purchase or buy a new pair. However, you might not be ready to give up your pricey headset just yet. Or maybe you don’t like the idea of tossing out stuff that could still be useful.

Stay on this page to teach yourself the causes of headphones ceasing to function on both ears and how to troubleshoot the issue.

Causes For Headphone Issues In Windows 10

Causes For Headphone Issues In Windows 10

The actual connections of the headphones cause most sound troubles with Windows 10 headphones. Dust collects in headphone connectors; pins bend and wires fray. Some headphone devices’ internal mechanics, such as mute buttons, can become loose and cause issues.

As with any computer accessory, software and driver errors are the prevalent cause. Drivers that are outdated or malfunctioning, incompatibilities, and missing software can all lead to a frustrating experience.

Ways To Fix Headphones Not Working In Windows

Ways To Fix Headphones Not Working In Windows

1. Restart The Computer

Restarting your device is another simple repair you might attempt. Restarting is especially useful if the problem arises shortly after a software update.

Check to see if you can hear from both earphones after restarting your phone or PC. If the headset is still only playing in one ear, check the audio settings on your device.

2. Evaluate The Settings

Depending on your audio settings, headphones may only play in one ear. Check your audio properties to ensure the mono option is disabled.

Also, make sure that the voice levels on both earphones are equal. You may check this by heading to Levels, then selecting Balance from the Sounds icon on your PC. On both sides of your headset, the voice volumes must be equal.

3. Fix The Damaged Or Disconnected Wire Near The Jack

Some customers rip away the headphone jack from their mobile phones and laptops when they’re in a hurry. Others unplug their headsets from their smartphones, simply tugging on the cord rather than the plastic base. A bent headphone plug is also possible as a result of this.

Due to these habits, you can damage the cables around the headset’s jack. When the wires are twisted or bent, your headphones may start operating solely in one ear over time. Follow the instructions herein to fix the problem.

How To Restore Damaged Wires 

1. Cut the plastic protective base on the earphone jack and the cord around it with a knife or a cutter.

2. Locate and cut the area with the broken earphone wires.

3. Remove the plastic cord from one of the headset chord’s ends.

4. Burn the wire’s insulation off using a match or lighter for a few seconds.

5. Connect the wires to the earphone jack using solder.

6. Use a heat-shrink tube or electrical tape to seal the newly attached part.

Faulty Wiring Within A Faulty Earphone

Your earphones may only play in one ear if the wire is loose or broken. Follow the steps below to open and repair the earbud.

Here is how to repair earphones with faulty wires:

1. Using the small flat-blade screwdriver, pry open the earbud housing.

2. You can also use the lever on your nail clipper to unlock the earbud’s front casing or ear tip.

3. Pulling the casing to expose the earbud further risks ripping the wires if they’re attached to the front cover. Instead, pull the cord up through the upper housing of the earphone. The front case will be pushed aside, revealing the inside components.

4. Resolder the defective wire and let it cool before testing the headphones.

Ensure That Headphones Are Enabled And Set As The Default Device

The Sound window is another critical place to look if your headphones aren’t working with Windows. The quickest and easiest method to get here is to right-click the speaker icon in Windows’ notification area, then click “Open the Sound Settings.”

Click “Manage the sound devices” in the Sound Settings window to see if your “headset” or “headphones” are “Disabled.” If so, choose them and select “Enable.”

Please return to the Sound Settings menu to set your headphones as your default audio device, allowing them to connect immediately as soon as you plug them in.

Go to the speaker icon in the taskbar notification area and select your chosen audio device from there; Windows 10 allows you to change your default sound device. If your device isn’t in either location list, it isn’t working correctly.

Update, Reinstall, Or Replace Sound Drivers

The great news is that if you put your headphones into your Windows PC and hear a reassuring “ding,” they’re being identified at a hardware level. The bad news is that something is incorrect with the proper delivery from the PC to the headphones on the software side.

To repair this, go to “Device Manager -> Sound, video, and game controllers” from the Start menu, then pick your audio driver. 

Begin by selecting “Update driver” from the context menu, then “Search automatically for updated driver software.”

If it doesn’t work, right-click the driver and select “Disable device” before re-enabling it. Finally, you can try rolling back the driver by right-clicking the driver and selecting “Properties,” then hitting the “Driver” tab and “Roll Back Driver.”

As a workaround, several users have reported the following. Click on “Browse my PC for driver software” in the “Update driver window”, then “Let me pick from a list” and select “High Definition Audio Device.” You may receive a notice stating that the driver is incompatible. Ignore the notification and install the driver anyhow.

If this doesn’t work, you may alternatively look for the latest driver on the headphone manufacturer’s website. Make sure the downloaded version is compatible with your device and operating system.

Instead Of AC97, Use HD Audio

AC97 and HD Audio are two audio protocols that connect to many desktop computers’ front 3.5mm port. Which header links your motherboard to your front sound ports will ultimately determine whether your PC uses one or the other.

Assuming that you connect everything correctly on the inside (e.g., using the more current HD Audio header, which automatically recognizes devices), you should check your audio driver tool’s “Connector Settings.”

Realtek HD Audio Manager is the audio driver program (found in the Control Panel). Open it, click the Settings cog in the top-right corner, and ensure “HD Audio Front Panel” is chosen under “Connector Settings.”

Check To See If Bluetooth Is Working Correctly

Another reason your headphones aren’t working in Windows 10 and 11 could be a Bluetooth problem. This issue applies just to Bluetooth headphones. There are two things to keep an eye out for:

1. To begin, double-check that your headphones are compatible with Windows 10/11 and your computer. Your headphones may not work correctly if your computer only supports Bluetooth 4.0, but your headphones are Bluetooth 5.0. Choose “Device Manager” from the context menu when you right-click Start. To see your current Bluetooth version, expand “Bluetooth.”

2. The second problem could be because Bluetooth is off in Windows 10. Type “Bluetooth” into the “Search” box. “Bluetooth and other device settings” should be selected. Toggle Bluetooth to the “On” position.

It’s also conceivable that the Bluetooth adapter built into your computer has failed. To see if it’s simply your headphones, try connecting additional Bluetooth devices. If nothing else works out, you might need to invest in a USB Bluetooth dongle or adapter.

Your PC isn’t Bluetooth compatible if you don’t see any Bluetooth options at all. Instead, you’ll need a USB Bluetooth adaptor.

Issues With Wireless Headphones

The issue with wireless headphones could be the headphones themselves. Make sure you charge your headphones, even if it seems obvious. A low charge may prevent Windows 10 from recognizing and connecting to them. Even if they do contact, the charge may not be sufficient to produce any sound.

It’s also possible that there’s a problem with the firmware. You may have to carry out an upgrade on the firmware of your headphones from time to time for them to work with newer hardware and operating systems. In most situations, you’ll need to go to the manufacturer’s website to get the most recent update and step-by-step instructions on how to install it.

Last but not least, double-check that your wireless headphones are indeed charging. If you have earphones with a charging case, the case may not have any charge or may no longer retain a charge.

Replace The Audio Port On Your Headphones

If you’ve tried everything else and the headphone AUX port is still not responding, although everything else is working, it’s time to accept that the port has failed.

You can’t just utilize another port because most PCs only have one headphone or AUX connector. Unfortunately, once the headphone jack stops working, it’s pretty challenging to get it fixed. You’d have to disassemble your PC and solder in a replacement. You risk causing irreversible damage if this goes wrong.

If your audio port isn’t working, the simplest solution is to get a USB sound adaptor. These are usually low-cost and plug-and-play, which means they’re ready to use in seconds.


Before you contemplate purchasing a new pair of headphones, use the advice above to see if yours need a minor fix. Repairing your headset not only saves you money but also helps to prevent electrical waste. Most importantly, you may instantly return to your music playlist or video viewing without much hassle.