Left Earbud Louder Than Right? Here’s 6 Ways To Fix It

Trying to listen to your music when you discover that one earbud is louder than the other can be extremely annoying. You maybe have tried everything, only to ask: Why is one earbud louder than the other?

The reason this may be happening is because of the buildup in the earbud of earwax and dirt. These things can get into the mesh of the earphone and disrupt the flow of volume. This makes one earbud sound louder than the other.

why is one earbud louder than the other

How do fix the problem of one earphone being louder than the other?

It is extremely annoying when you just want to sit back, relax and listen to your favorite music, only to discover that one earbud is louder than the other. Who wants to listen to this music where one side sounds fine, and the other sounds tinny and quiet?

Maybe you have tried making sure the volume is all the way up, but this only makes the problem worse, and you are stuck on what to do next. Thankfully, this article will cover a series of steps that you can do to see if the problem is you. your earbuds. or something else entirely.

Your Earbuds and Your Ear Wax

Woman holding cotton swab and cleaning ear
Woman holding cotton swab and cleaning ear.

When it comes to listening to your favorite music, the first thing that you need to check is to make sure that the problem is not a result of user error in the form of excessive ear wax building up in your ear canal.

Earwax is made by our bodies to trap dust and dirt from getting into our ear canal and damaging the eardrum. Normally, the earwax falls out on its own. but occasionally, earwax can build up in the ear canal. An excess of ear wax build-up can cause all sounds to become quiet in one ear or the other. Perhaps now. with earbuds. you are just noticing that you are having the problem for the first time, and this is why your earbuds sound seems to be uneven.

Expert Tip: To check this issue, the first thing you should switch earbuds into the opposite ears. This is so that you can check to see if you still experience this problem in the same ear. or if it is the same earbud as before.

After you switch, if you hear the quiet sound coming from the other ear. then excellent! You have discovered that it is one earbud that is louder than the other, and not just you. However, if you come to find that you still have the problem in that same ear. then you may have a build-up of wax or a more serious problem.

For the issue of ear wax being built up in the ear canal, using some type of removal tool should do the trick. There are many types available on the market. Some use Q tips to get at ear wax that is located at the outer part of the ear and inside the ear canal.

These can be cheap and disposable, or you can find reusable ones if you like. The problem with all of these Q tip style cleaning methods is that doctors do not like the idea of shoving something that large that far into the ear canal.

This can, at best, push the earwax further back, exacerbating the problem even more. At worst, if shoved too far back, then the eardrum could be ruptured, causing hearing loss.

ear wax remover system
Ear wax remover system.

Another kind of removal tool that is popular is an ear wax remover using water from a spray nozzle attached to a small tube that is inserted into the ear canal. The warm water is used to flush out the wax. bring the water along with it. A person typically uses this in the bathroom, sitting down on a chair.

Then they spray water into the ear canal, eventually flushing the ear wax. and the water along with it Patients may want to have a friend or loved one help them with this by balancing a bowl on their shoulder to catch the water as it sprays out. This will protect them and keep the water from going everywhere.

The downside is that this procedure can make a person feel dizzy if done with cold water, and the patient may not have someone there to help them. Furthermore, some may not feel comfortable doing this for the first time without a doctor present.

In any case, to remove an abundance of ear wax. it would be advised to see your doctor before you try and do anything too drastic. This can help to let you know if your problem really is a build-up of earwax or something much more serious.

Clean the Earbuds

If you do find that one earbud is louder than the other, this could be due to a build-up of dirt and earwax inside the mesh of the earbud. A way to fix this would be to clean the earbud itself and the mesh where the speaker is located.

A way to clean this is to take a paper towel and lightly spray it with a general-purpose cleaner, this can then be used to wipe down the earbud. Next, take a Q tip and gently wipe the mesh of the earbud. Now take a dry paper towel and Q tip and dry the components. This can be a way to resolve the problem of excess earwax on the earbuds.

Make Sure They are Seated Properly In the Ear

Young man wearing black earbuds
Young man wearing black earbuds.

There are many earbuds that some would consider odd to listen to when it comes to sitting them in their ears due to their shape and size. Earbuds that are designed to be like the Apple Airpods or the Samsung Galaxy Buds can be shaped for the ears of different people making each fit subjective, at best

Then there is the “Pro” variant of most earbuds that offer small rubber tips that go into the ear to offer some amount of noise cancellation. These are ideal when you need some amount of noise cancelation, but do not or cannot carry around bulky noise-canceling headphones.

All this means that it can be difficult to get the fit just right. You first could have headphones that struggle to fit on their own. Maybe you don’t like the way they hang in the ear or how they sit on it.

This can make them seem annoying to most listeners, then there is the matter of the noise­canceling variations. If you have tips that are too big or too small, this can affect where they sit and can make it seem like the sound is off to the listener.

Therefore, making sure they fit properly is paramount. Especially if this is the first time you are listening to them, or if you are working in an unusual position, then you should make sure that they are installed properly into the ear.

Expert Tip: This means reading any product manuals that come with your earbuds. or looking up demonstrations online on how they are properly inserted into the ear. Making sure that the earbuds fit your ear properly is one way to fix when one earbud is louder than the other.

I did all this stuff and the earbuds still do not work. Now what?

So you have made sure that your ears are clean. You cleaned the earbuds with a q tip and a paper towel. You read the manuals and watched videos online to make sure that they are seated properly in your ear. and yet you find that one earbud is still louder than the other. Now. what do you do?

This is where we explore the technology of each device and how it affects the volume of the music you hear.

Connectivity Issues

Connectivity Issues

One problem may be with the connectivity of your device, especially if you are using Bluetooth. Check to make sure that your device is properly connected, and that it registers at a full enough charge to function properly.

To check the battery status of your earbuds on an iPhone. First make sure the earbuds are connected to the phone, then simply click the lock button to have the lock screen come up. then swipe left. Next to the visual indicator of the battery life of the phone is the battery life of your earbuds. If it is in the green, you should be good to go.

For Android users, making sure that the earbuds are connected, in the settings app. you want to click on “Connected devices”. Click the word “Bluetooth” (Not the switch next to it). You should then see a list of the connected devices and their battery life.

For both Android and IOS. you may want to check the distance from the device that you are listening to. Bluetooth 5.0 has a range that is about four times greater than 4.2. meaning that the range you are using on your device may be causing this problem.

Expert Tip: Another way to test the earbuds is by connecting them to another device. If you find the same problem on another device, then the earbuds will be the most likely problem.

If you are using earbuds or connected devices that have a physical wire and headphone jack, then there are a few things you can do. One would be to check the wire itself for any fraying or breakage, as this could cause one earbud to be louder than the other. If the wire is frayed, then applying some electrical tape can do as a temporary solution, as you should work to get a replacement as soon as you can.

If the wire is broken, then you need to replace it right away, since it can be dangerous to use the earbuds with exposed wires while they are trying to use an electrical circuit. Another thing you can do is to check the connection at the headphone jack itself. Sometimes the connector is not seated properly, and moving it back and forth can help to find the proper connecting point for the earbuds.

Sound Levels

The next way that you can check to make sure that both earbuds have the same level of sound is to check that the same level of sound is coming out of each earbud by design through the sound settings.

This setting is designed for people who need to hear their content out of one ear or the other. At times, the setting can be made to play out of one earbud and not both, leaving you with a weak-sounding earbud. Thankfully, there is a quick and easy way to correct this in the settings of your device:

To check this on iPhone, go into the following menus from the settings app:

  1. General
  2. Accessibility
  3. Audio/visual

From there you should see a sub-menu labeled “Balance* with a slider labeled ‘left’ and ‘right’ and a button in the middle. Make sure that that button is in the middle for a balanced sound between each left and right earbud.

To check the sound levels on an Android phone, go into the following menus:

  1. Settings
  2. Device
  3. Accessibility
  4. Under the Hearing header, tap Sound Balance

Here you should find a similar slider to the one detailed above, this will help to make sure that your earbuds are well balanced.

How to check sound levels in android devices depending on the os version.

Conclusion

When it comes to earbuds. it can be annoying to hear your favorite music only working about half the time. Thankfully there are a few simple steps to help you when it comes to making sure that they work well.

Firstly, it is checking to make sure that you can hear properly by making sure that your ear canal is clear. The next step is to make sure that your earbuds are clean and properly seated inside your ear.

If all this still does not solve the problem, then your next best bet is to look at the technology you are using, by making sure that your earbuds are properly connected to the device. You can also go into the settings menu and find the Balance Sound setting that will help you to make sure that your earbuds are properly sourcing your sound.

With these steps in mind, you will be listening to your favorite music through both earbuds in no time.

How to tell if one headphone is louder than the other

You are listening to your favorite playlist, and all of the sudden something feels off. You seem to hear one headphone sounding louder than the other… First of all, we encourage you to test briefly your own hearing – does sound seem in a different volume if you cover one ear and then the other and this can have multiple reasons. Assuming all is well, its time to check the equipment.

HOW DO YOU TELL IF ONE HEADPHONE IS LOUDER THAN THE OTHER?

Here are TWO METHODS:

  • Switch the sides of the headphone and see if you can hear a significant difference. In the case that they are not wireless, twist the wire slightly in diferente directions sometimes the problem lays on the wiring itself.
  • Place headphones on a leveled surface, start upping the sound volume steadily until you reach max and check what you hear and the vibrations coming out.

Why does the left ear quieter than the right one?

Just like how the appearance of our eyes, the flick of our eyebrows differ with each other, our ears differ as well.

Designated to different functions, left and right ear respond differently from its surroundings. The left is more inclined into music, sounds or the creative side of an individual. The right is more into logic, the rational spectrum of an individual. This is why you feel and hear differently.

Being exposed in fields where you utilize the function of your right ear, you can significantly observe that your left ear is not functioning just like how your right one does and vice versa. Moreover, factors such as constant usage of earphones, building up of earwax can greatly affect the hearing.

Above all, our ears are not created equal thus it is pretty normal having the left ear quieter than the right.

About Maggie Holding

Hello! My name is Maggie and I am a proud Editor/Author for PlayTheTunes. Coming From South Carolina, USA, my whole life I've sang and played the guitar and flute! I love music with a passion, and am ecstatic to help others in their own music journey!