How to Fix Unbalanced Headphones: 8 Easy Ways

A lot of users enjoy using headphones to listen to their favorite music and watch their favorite shows. It helps us focus more on what we’re listening to especially if we’re in a crowded area and there are lots of distractions. This is why lots of people have invested in the best high-end headphones of 2020. But sometimes, one side of our headphones is louder than the other. Knowing how to fix unbalanced headphones can help you solve this problem.

Unbalanced headphones have a lot of causes. It may be because of a physical problem like a broken wire. It may also be because of a system problem. Despite all these possible causes, there are also tons of quick fixes and system settings to help solve this problem.

Before we discuss the different ways of how to fix unbalanced headphones, let’s define first what headphone imbalance is. Let’s start!

Table of Contents

  1. What is Headphone Imbalance?
  2. How to Fix Unbalanced Headphones – Physical Fixes
    1. Clean Your Headphones
    2. Check Your Headphone’s Wiring
    3. Clean the Device’s Headphone Jack Slot
    4. Restart Your Device
    5. Test Your Device
  3. How to Fix Unbalanced Headphones – Windows PC
    1. Check the Balance of the Headphones
    2. Disable Sound Effects
  4. How to Fix Unbalanced Headphones – Android Phones
  5. Balancing Unbalanced Headphones

What is Headphone Imbalance?

Headphone imbalance is a condition where a headset tends to emit uneven sound on each side. One side may be louder or softer than the other side.

This can tire out your auditory nerves if one side is louder than the other. It can also be confusing and annoying while you listen to your favorite music.

How to Fix Unbalanced Headphones – Physical Fixes

These are quick fixes to your headphones or your device. Try out these solutions first before going to the more technical ones to save you time and resources.

1. Clean Your Headphones

One of the reasons why some headphones tend to sound uneven is because there is dirt stuck inside. This happens more often with headphones that have been used for a long time. 

To clean the mesh, dry dust it off with a brush first. This will loosen up any dust, dirt, or earwax. Blasting air into it is not advisable because this can only push the debris further into the mesh.

You can then follow it up by cleaning it with a cotton swab. Just soak the cotton swab in lukewarm water and squeeze out the excess water. Swab it in to remove the remaining dirt and earwax. Using alcohol in this process may damage your headphone’s paint so be cautious in using it.

2. Check Your Headphone’s Wiring

One of the major causes of headphones becoming unbalanced is the wiring. A lot of users fold and bend the wires too much when storing headphones. In turn, this leads to electrical shortages and other wiring problems.

To find out if your headphones are the problem, try inserting your headphones into a different device. If the problem persists, then it must be your headphones.

Proceed to look for any signs of damage in the wiring. This can be in the form of cracks or tears. If you do find some, secure it by covering it with electrical tape. 

If this doesn’t solve the problem, there might be wires bent inside. To find where the problem is, bend the wire section by section and see if anything changes. When you do find the problem, twisting it a couple of times can sometimes fix the issue. But if the wire inside is really damaged, then you might not be able to solve this one on your own.

3. Clean the Device’s Headphone Jack Slot

Another reason why some headphones don’t sound balanced is that they’re not pushed all the way in. This is because there may be dirt and dust accumulation inside the slot. This will prevent your jack from going all the way in.

First, check if the jack slot has debris inside with a flashlight. If it’s dry debris, consider carefully poking it with a thin blunt object. Make sure that it’s not sharp so when you move around, it won’t damage anything. Loosen the dirt and try to wiggle it out of the slot.

If the dirt and debris stay, try cleaning it with a damp cotton swab. Make sure to squeeze out any excess water because it can damage your device. Proceed to taper the tip so it can fit the jack slot. Move it around as if you’re cleaning your ear.

Once you’re done, follow it up with a dry tapered cotton swab. This will absorb any excess moisture left behind by the first cotton swab. 

Don’t try to blow air into the slot because it may push the debris further in.

4. Restart Your Device

If your phone is bugging or there’s an application that’s glitching, it may be causing the problem. As one of the most popular tech troubleshooting steps, try restarting your device and see if that works. 

Simply unplug your headphones and restart your device. Once it’s done, check if the problem persists. 

5. Test Your Device

If your headphones are unbalanced, they might not be the problem at all, to begin with.

Check the device you’re plugging your headphones into. It might be the device’s fault. To do this, simply plug another headphone into the device and see if the problem persists. 

If you encounter the same problem, then your device’s settings need to be fixed.

How to Fix Unbalanced Headphones – Windows PC

1. Check the Balance of the Headphones

One of the possible causes of your unbalanced headphones is the programming of your computer. Because of the settings, one side may be louder than the other. Here are the steps to fix this:

1. On your Taskbar, search for Control Panel and click on it.

Search for Control Panel and click on it
Search for Control Panel and click on it

2. Look for the Sound option. It usually has a logo of a speaker right beside it. If you can’t find it, you can always use the search bar that is usually located in the top right of the Control Panel. Once you find it, click on it.

Look for the Sound and click on it
Look for the Sound and click on it.

3. For the next step, you have to make sure that your headphones are connected to your device. Look for your device and right-click on it. This will open up more options for you.

Look for your device and right-click on it
Look for your device and right-click on it.

4. In the options, select Properties.

Click on the Properties
Click on the Properties

5. Once you’re in the Properties of your headphones, go to the Levels tab. It’s located at the top of your Properties.

Click on the Levels section
Click on the Levels section,

6. Click on the Balance button to the right of your device.

Click on the Balance button on the right of your device's name
Click on the Balance button on the right of your device’s name.

7. To restore the balance to your headphones, adjust the bars until your headphones sound the same.

Adjust the sliders to your preference to restore balance to your headphone
Adjust the sliders to your preference to restore balance to your headphone.

This is a simple yet highly effective fix. If, for example, the problem lies with your headphones, this solution can at least fix that. Having the system adjust to the lapses of your headphones is a great cost-effective fix instead of buying new headphones.

2. Disable Sound Effects

A lot of modern computers and laptops come with sound-enhancing features. Naturally, these features affect your headphone playback. This may be one of the reasons why you have unbalanced headphones.

Here’s how you can fix it:

  1. On your Taskbar, search for Control Panel and click on it.
 Search for Control Panel and click on it
Search for Control Panel and click on it
  1. Look for the Sound option. It usually has a logo of a speaker right beside it. If you can’t find it, you can always use the search bar that is usually located in the top right of the Control Panel. Once you find it, click on it.
Look for the Sound and click on it
Look for the Sound and click on it.
  1. For the next step, you have to make sure that your headphones are connected to your device. Look for your device and right-click on it. This will open up more options for you.
Look for your device and right-click on it
Look for your device and right-click on it.
  1. In the options, select Properties.
Click on the Properties
Click on the Properties
  1. Once you’re in the Properties of your headphones, go to the Enhancements tab.
Click on the Enhancements tab.
Click on the Enhancements tab.
  1. Click on the checkbox that is labeled as Disable all sound effects. It’s the checkbox that is on top of the list of other checkboxes.
Click on Disable all sound effects.
Click on Disable all sound effects.

How to Fix Unbalanced Headphones – Android Phones

If your headphone is working fine on other devices but is unbalanced on your Android phone, then your Accessibility setting is responsible. These are similar to the sound features on Windows PCs, assigning audio via mono or stereo channels for enhanced listening. 

Here’s what you can do to check if these settings have been enabled or not:

  1. Go to your phone’s Settings.
Go to your phone's Settings
Go to your phone’s Settings.
  1. Look for Accessibility. If you can’t find it, it’s sometimes located inside the More settings section. 
Sometimes, the Accessibility section can be found inside More settings.
Sometimes, the Accessibility section can be found inside More settings.
  1. Scroll down until you find the Audio and Screen Font/Text section. Under this section, you’ll be able to find a slider that will let you customize which side should be louder.
  1. Some phones don’t have this slider. If this is the case, you can just tap on the Mono audio toggle. This will remove the stereo effect but it will enable equal playback.
Press on the slider to activate Mono audio
Press on the slider to activate Mono audio

Balancing Unbalanced Headphones

Unbalanced headphones can be really annoying especially if you’re an audiophile to take extra pleasure in listening to music. It can be both confusing and disorienting when one side of your headphone is louder than the other. 

But don’t worry because there are tons of quick fixes and system adjustments that you can do to solve this. So before tossing out your headphones, make sure to learn how to fix unbalanced headphones first. It’ll help you solve your problems and prevent you from spending on a new pair of headphones.

Good luck with fixing your headphones!

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