Earbuds should last between 1-2 years depending on the brand, how much they are used and how you treat them. To troubleshoot one earbud not working, fixes range from basic methods to more advanced ones, depending on the issue at hand.
However, it's good to know that small fixes make up the majority of solutions to earbud problems. So let's run through the ways to fix one earbud not working, from tried and tested quick and easy methods; to the more advanced, hands-on approaches.
Before trying more advanced methods to fix one earbud not working, it's best to check the connecting device and sort out any pairing problems you may have.
Firstly we need to rule out the device being at fault. To do this, try connecting another pair of earbuds to the device to see if they are both working. If only one earbud works, then it's most likely your device that's causing the issue, and you'll have to look into fixing it. If you don't have another pair of earbuds, then try connecting them to another digital device and see if the dead earbud now works.
Additionally, you can try the below methods to try and get your none working earbud to work on your device.
Methods to reset your earbuds will vary depending on the type you have, and you'll be able to access a guide on how to do so by typing the make and model of your earbuds into the search engines.
Even though other combinations of button pressing may be used, as a general method to reset earbuds, firstly, put them back into the charging case to disconnect them from any devices, close the case and wait 5-10 seconds. Then take them out and press and hold the power button for 10 seconds, or until you see the small status light blink on and off, signaling the reset is complete.
Your Bluetooth connection on your computer or smartphone might be is prone to issues, such as disconnecting, or they aren't in the pairing mode, etc, causing your earbuds to not connect and therefore not have any sound in one ear.
To unpair the earbuds from your device, locate the Bluetooth option and click on forget this device or remove this device. Then reconnect the device and see if the dud earbud now works.
If repairing doesn't work, then reboot the device you're using and try again. Also, remember to disable Bluetooth from any devices you aren't using to avoid unwanted connections.
Hearing sound in only one earbud could result from incorrect audio settings on your device. If the audio settings show the volume is aimed 100% at one earbud, then you'll hear no sound in the other one, and the audio balance will need to be adjusted for both earbuds to work in unison.
Here’s what you can do to address this issue by accessing the sound balance function on your device.
Cordless earbuds each have separate battery lives. This means they charge individually and it's not uncommon for one to drain its battery quicker than the other.
For instance, if you've been using one earbud with the other one in the charger, then the charges will become unbalanced. Additionally, one earbud is prone to losing its charge faster, as it performs more functions than the other, such as being the master connection between the earbuds and the device, and the second earbud simply connects to the first one to run its connection.
In this case, fully charge both earbuds by placing them into their charging case, and to ensure the charging case isn't the issue and has enough power, and to speed the charge up, plug the case into the mains to be charged too.
When you leave your earbuds in environments that are dirty, such as handbags and pockets, small debris are prone to falling into the jack, and this can cause issues such as fuzziness, crackling, or one side not working.
To help remedy this issue:
If you're using wired earbuds, then you can check the cord to identify any problems, such as pinching or fraying.
You can look for pinches on the cord at different points, and when you identify them, press on them and notice if the sound in your dead earbud suddenly reappears. If there are clear, visible bends on the cord, then adjust the cord at the damaged site, and if your earbud starts to work then you can straighten it out and tape this up.
Another issue with cords is fraying. Cables are prone to becoming unraveled in weakened areas such as the point nearest to the plug, which is prone to damaged insulation and showing signs of fraying. In this case, there are various methods you can use to fix this such as using pliers and shrink tubes, or cable savers.
If you've concluded that one earbud isn't working, it's most likely due to a shortage in the wiring.
This is where you'll want to check for damage within the earbud.
If you've damaged the earbuds with a liquid, you can quickly take matters into your own hands to fix them if you know how. This process needs to be carried out quickly after the accident occurs, as the electrical circuits that are inside earbuds are sensitive to moisture, and to avoid damage any corrosive liquid needs to be cleared off of them as soon as possible.
You'll need some distilled water and rice for this method to work.
Earbuds (especially wireless ones) are a fairly new phenomenon and are being updated all the time. They are generally not designed for a specific device, so naturally, when pairing different brands together, issues can arise. There are many instances of known issues for a brand pairing.
So, if the methods outlined in this post don't work for you, it's good practice to research your particular issue, such as how to deal with pairing issues when pairing Redmi earbuds with a Samsung phone, for example, as there may be a known way around it that doesn't fit into the generally known methods.
If both earbuds are now working fine, then there are some preventive measures you can take to combat the issue happening again.
If you can't seem to fix your non-working earbud and decide to purchase new ones, then here's a list of things to look out for before you do.
If your earbud isn't working then there are many tried and tested methods to resolve this issue. It's important to remember that your earbuds might have specific settings, pairing, resetting, and usage methods, so it's good practice to research your specific brand and model number, which can help to solve this issue at hand. If you've tried many tested methods and still can't solve the issue, then, unfortunately, you're most likely going to need to buy a new pair of earbuds.