JBL Earbuds, One Side Not Working: How to Fix

The reoccurring issue of a dead or non-responsive earbud is a problem that has plagued folks since the inception of headphones. Despite the positive reviews most JBL earbuds get, they are not immune to this common headache. 

While some people might be able to ignore this problem and soldier on with one headphone, the majority of consumers don’t want a product that only half works.

To ensure that you have headphones that emit music from both sides, let’s take an extensive look at all the different reasons why your earbuds are not working on one side. 

Solutions For Faulty JBL Earbuds 

Regardless of which JBL product you are having issues with, these solutions are designed to fit a wide range of products and can be utilized to fix the issues you are having with your earbuds. Further down you will find fixes for individual products that have issues that are unique to their model. 

Check to make sure you are within Bluetooth range before attempting these solutions. For the sake of saving you time, there is no point attempting multiple fixes when the problem is that you are outside of your coverage area. 

Factory Reset Your JBL Earbuds 

If you are experiencing issues with a quieter or completely silent earbud, chances are the easiest fix is going to be resetting the Bluetooth connection. This is an easy process that will take little more than five minutes at the maximum and the steps are simple to follow. 

Before resetting your Bluetooth, double-check that both earbuds are completely charged to ensure that you don’t misdiagnose the issue. You can determine this from most JBL products by a charging light that will emit from the earbuds. If you cannot see this light on one of the earbuds then your problem stems from more than just a glitchy BlueTooth connection and we will alleviate the problem further below. 

How to reset most JBL earbuds: 

  1. Take out both earbuds from their charging case and put one down, it doesn’t matter which. 
  1. With the earbud still in your hand, tap the button three times, holding it down on the third tap for no less than five seconds
  1. Both earbuds will shut off which will be signified by the LED powering off. 
  1. Hold the button on both earbuds until they boot up. 
  1. If done as instructed, the earbuds will be blinking blue. They are now in pairing mode. 
  1. Connect them to your preferred device and see if the quiet or non-responsive earbud is working. 

How to reset JBL Tune earbuds: 

  1. Remove the JBL Tune earbuds from your connected devices. 
  1. Plug the charging case into a working power source
  1. Place the two earbuds back into their charging ports. 
  1. Grabbing only the right earbud, hold down the button for no less than ten seconds
  1. Clear any pairing information on your phone that has to do with the earbuds. 
  1. Your earbuds have been reset, you can now re-pair them with your device of choice. 
  1. Test to make sure both earbuds are working correctly. 

How to reset JBL Vibe earbuds: 

  1. Delete or remove the earbuds from their connected device. 
  1. Remove the earbuds from their charging case. 
  1. Hold down the singular button on the back for no less than five seconds
  1. For certain models, wait until a blue and white light begins to flash, indicating the reset has completed. 
  1. Pair the headphones with a device of your choosing to check if the quiet earbud is working correctly. 

How to reset JBL Live 300TWS earbuds: 

  1. Like most JBL wireless earbuds, start by unpairing the earbuds from your connected device and removing the right earbud from its charging port
  1. There is a sensor found on the inner part of the earbud, put your finger over it or place it into your ear to cover the sensor. 
  1. Now tap the touch button twice and hold it down for five seconds on the opposite side of the earbud. 
  1. Your earbud will power off, place it back into the charging case. 
  1. The middle light in the charging case will blink an alternating blue and white to inform you it is in pairing mode. 
  1. You will need to form a fresh pairing with your smart device, once it is connected check to see if your earbud problem has been resolved. 

This solution is going to be the typical fix for this issue and should you encounter it again you can follow the same steps to fix the problem. If this hasn’t resolved the dead earbud then continue reading for further fixes. 

Clean the Charging Case and Earbuds 

If you have put your earbuds into their case and noticed that one of the charging indicator LEDs has not lit up then the problem is more than likely an obstruction in your charging case. While this can also mean that the charging case itself might be damaged, the simplest fix is taking a bit of elbow grease to the product. 

What you will want to do is grab a toothpick and non-abrasive cloth, towel, or dry wipe for the cleaning process. To start you will want to very delicately press against the trio of charging extensions to see if they are cooperative to the touch and pop back quickly. If this does not happen, then you likely have some amount of sediment or grime that is affecting your earbud’s ability to fully connect to their case. 

This can be remedied by using the toothpick and cloth and gently removing any unwanted debris, gunk, or earwax that may have collected in the delicate area. You should be sure to do this process with a delicate touch, or risk breaking the charging case altogether. Do not use any chemical substances or metallic objects as they could irreparably damage the product. 

Deplete The Battery 

You won’t find this solution on most google searches but it has been making the rounds as an unconventional method for fixing dead JBL earbuds. For whatever reason, by allowing the faulty earbud to drain out all of its battery and then recharging it, it seems to fix the issue of quiet or silent earbuds. Before you do allow the battery to drain, make sure to disconnect the earbuds from any paired devices you may have. 

Once it is disconnected, simply leave it out of the charging case until it fully depletes its charge. Some of the craftier folks who came up with this unique method recommend leaving the earbud outside of the case for at least 6-8 hours or overnight to make sure it is completely out of juice. Once you are sure that the earbud is unresponsive (poke it a couple of times with a stick if you want), you can now place it into the case to charge. 

If successful, the earbud should illuminate to inform you it is charging and once it has achieved a competent enough battery, retest the earbud to see if the audio has returned to normal. If you are still experiencing a silent or unresponsive earbud, continue to individual solutions. 

Check The Audio Balance 

Some JBL earbuds offer a customizable audio balancer that can be accessed via your mobile device or personal computer. If you are curious whether or not this is the issue, simply go onto your paired device and find the audio or sound option in the settings.

If your earbuds or device have the option for audio balancing, you will find it in the dropdown list of options in this menu (it could also say sound balance).  

If the settings are all even then the slider should be smack dab in the middle. If you notice that it is leaning heavily to one side, simply readjust it back to the center of the slider.

Once it has been readjusted (if it needed to be), try playing music or audio and see if the audio level feels even on both headphones. If you are still left with a quiet earpiece, take a few deep breaths for the safety of your immediate surroundings and continue to the next solution. 

Place Earbuds into Stereo Mode 

Similar to the audio balance, several people might have the misfortune of mono sound earbuds without even knowing.

Mono mode is designed for people to listen to the audio while still being able to hear their surroundings, it is ideal for those who listen to music while working. Unfortunately, it can also confuse some people into thinking one of their earbuds is dead. 

If your earbuds have a mono and stereo mode, you will be able to find them in one of two places; either in the Sound/Audio settings or in Ease of Access. The option for mono and stereo might say something like Mono/Stereo or Mono or Stereo sound.

If the setting is set on Mono, switch it to Stereo and see if your issue has been resolved. If not, it may be time to look into your warranty (if you have one) to see what other options are available to you. 

Miscellaneous Solutions for Specific JBL Earbuds 

While the answers listed above are certainly worth giving a shot before continuing to individual fixes, sometimes a one size fits all guide does not cover all the different devices a consumer might have.

While researching solutions for JBL earbuds, I came across a few model-specific issues that felt worth addressing. 

JBL Tune 225 

The Tune 225 has encountered an error that is unique to the product, both headphones can not play audio in tandem with the other. Both can play music independently, but when you attempt to play through both earbuds then one is frustratingly quiet.

Thankfully, there is a solution to this infuriating problem. 

  1. Disconnect any paired devices that may be connected to your earbuds. 
  1. Take out both earpieces from their charging case. 
  1. Wait a couple of seconds and place both earbuds back into the case. 
  1. Look for both LEDs on each earpiece and make sure they are lit up. 
  1. On the back of either of the earbuds, press the button three times. 
  1. Your earbud will respond by dimming the LED momentarily, then it will flash blue and white. 
  1. Repeat steps 5 & 6 on the opposite earbud. 
  1. The earbuds will now attempt to connect to each other. If successful, the LED will change to a solid white on both earbuds. 

JBL Free X 

The Free X is one of the more budget-friendly options you can find from JBL, which is known as one of the premier brands of headphones and speakers. Like the Tune 225, this product has an issue that is exclusive to this specific model of the earbud.

When the two earpieces begin to pair, sometimes the left side is unable to automatically pair together, leaving you to suffer one-sided audio if you don’t remedy the issue. 

  1. Take out the right earbud from the charging case. It will begin attempting to pair, you can discern this from a blinking blue light. 
  1. Now take out the left earbud as well. If successful, the left earbud will automatically connect and both lights will be blue. 

If this does not successfully connect your device, try the following: 

  1. Place both earbuds back into their individual charging pod. 
  1. Now, hold down the main button on each earbud for no less than five seconds. 
  1. The indicator light will flash white and blue if done successfully. 
  1. Now pair your Free X earbuds and see if the problem has been resolved. 

Conclusion 

Earbuds, headphones, and auditory earmuffs are a vital part of any music lover’s daily routine. If it wasn’t for good playlists and discreet headphones, many of us would be virtually unemployable.

That doesn’t mean they can’t irritate the life out of us from time to time, even ones as promising as JBL earbuds.

Thankfully, like most things in life, it can be solved with a little research and a few choice words tossed in the general direction of whatever isn’t working!