Usually the problem with earphones is that you don't know which goes to which ear. Of course there are some small markings (such as L or R), but who wants to read those every time when you want to use them (especially in some dark places).

Which method usually do you use to keep the track which one is which?

  • 2
    I find, in particular with Apple headphones, the volume control / microphone on the cable do a pretty good job (once you know which side it is on it is not hard to remember) in my case it is the right headphone so I always know to put that in my right ear.
    – MrPhooky
    Jan 23, 2015 at 13:35
  • 1
    Sometimes, once you put the wrong earphone in your ear it will feel different. It does for me, it normally wont stay in. Then I just automatically switch ears. Sep 24, 2015 at 0:10

7 Answers 7


In lighted situations: Wrap electrical tape around the base of the earbud and the wire, using a different color for each side. I would suggest red for right just for the mnemonic device. Taping is good practice, anyway, unless your wires are fabric-wrapped.

In dark situations: Put a drop of high-temperature glue - super glue is probably OK - on the outside stem or shell of one of the earbuds and let it dry completely. You'll be able to feel the bump with your fingertip.

  • 4
    I suggest red for left and green for right, following nautical and aerial practice. Jan 31, 2015 at 16:44
  • 1
    As a mnemonic device "green" and "right" both have five letters : )
    – Stan
    Jul 2, 2018 at 21:06
  • You don't even need light to distinguish the two side if you put tape only on one earbud.
    – Neinstein
    Jul 17, 2018 at 18:53
  • @Neinstein True, but I like taping wires at connections because that's a weak point and I want to avoid fraying. Aug 2, 2018 at 11:16

A dot of red fingernail polish on the right earbud. Red and Right begin with the same letter.


You can make a simple knot on one of the earphone cable, so from know you'll always know which headphone is the left one, even without looking.

How I always know which headphone is the left one, even without looking

  • 14
    But making too tight knots into these small cables can lead to them breaking faster! Jan 23, 2015 at 12:24

Wrap some tape around one of the cables. Make it thick enough to feel or make a tab.

  • 1
    Exactly what I do. I make a little tape 'flag' on one side.
    – J. Musser
    Jan 27, 2015 at 18:09

Most earphones have a long and short cable. You could remember which way you wear them.

I know that my Sennheiser earphones are short on the left side and long on the right side. I always put them on in the same way, the long wire goes behind my neck towards my right ear, whilst the left side can easily be inserted.

  • I have been going crazy looking for a set of J cord earbuds! (I listen to music while I work and I like to leave one earbud out sometimes and J cord means it's sits behind my neck instead of hanging in my lap!) Are all Sennheiser earbuds J cord style? Can you recommend a model number? Sep 23, 2015 at 14:28
  • Not quite sure if all Senheisers are like that. My earbuds are 8 years old, so wouldn't know what to reccomend :P
    – CustomX
    Sep 23, 2015 at 14:50
  • Thanks, I had a Sony pair for years and they broke recently and I'm having a heck of a time replacing them. Right now I'm using the Y cord ones that came with my phone but I still have not gotten used to taking them out to talk to someone and having them fall to the floor. I'll check Sennheiser out, good to know they last! Sep 23, 2015 at 14:55

Hi I am using Samsung earphones and on the left earphone, there is a dot which can befelt in dark. Also for Left earphone L is not carved in its carved out, which can be felt in dark along with a dot just below that. Guess this solves the purpose.


My solutions

In light: I took a permanent marker and covered the right earbud with one color (blue) and the left with another (red). If you have earbuds with colors other than white, wrap paper and tape it around each earbud cable and then do the coloring.

In dark: I took some tape and made a little "flag" on the right earbud.

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