Why are my headphones so quiet


Why are my headphones so quiet

Wondering how to fix quiet headphones? Let’s look at possible reasons why your experiencing sound reduction in your headphones.

If your Bluetooth headphones have suddenly gone quiet or not working properly, then frustration lingers. Audio needs to be heard and if the sound is too low you cannot enjoy listening to your favorite music!

The ability to eliminate possible reasons why your headphones volume is so quiet is what this article aims to resolve. We will walk you through a step by step guide to fixing the issue with your headphones being low in volume or not having volume at all.

My headphones are too quiet, why?

There are several reasons and outcomes why this is. When headphones sound suddenly stop working, whether on earbuds or sound only works in one ear, then there are several possibilities. We will help eliminate and discuss how to fix the problem, which might end up being that you need to replace something like a plug, socket or even your whole headset.

10 Reasons why your headphones can become quiet:

1. Wired Headphones Possibility – Issue with the socket or plug

2. Wireless Headsets Possibility – Issue with the Connection

3. Current Device Settings – these need adjusted to increase volume

4. Audio File – Issues with File format

5. The Headset – The headphones might be the problem and need replaced

6. Hearing loss Issues – Humans can get hearing problems that might be a possibility, although unlikely

7. Update your phone – With certain devices updating your phone resolves this issue

8. Charge battery – Bluetooth headphones need recharged as they are wireless devices

9. Replace headphone and earbud Tips – Headphones quiet in one ear usually means an earbud needs replaced. Most earbuds don’t fit perfectly as all ear canals are different. Find ear tips to suit your ear shape using memory foam. By choosing memory foam you will ensure low sound loss.

10. Headset shape – Some headphones shape and design are better suited for specific users. This includes earbuds and headphones, so if your head shape is slightly smaller than average or your ears are larger then consider trying to find a headset that fits securely and snugly.

1. Socket or Plug Issues – Wired Headphone Only

If you have a loose connection between the media player and the audio socket this can cause the sound volume being too quiet or an unusual static sound.

Debris in your headphones (how to clean earphones guide) is another common cause for losing connectivity to your device. Dirt can get trapped in the headphone jack so worth taking a look to see if this is a possible cause.

Defective headphone jacks can be another culprit and might need replaced or repaired.

2. Connection Problems – Wireless Headphone Issue

With wireless headphones the volume can be reduced or completely distorted if there is a metal desk or a large barrier which can cause distortion in the sound quality because of the Bluetooth reception.

3. Device Settings

Common causes why one earbud is quieter than the other could be due to the audio settings needing adjusted in windows 10. By changing the volume settings to the correct volume level, combined with earphone sound settings, you could restore either the left or right earbud from being too quiet.

A quick step to figure out if this is a possible cause is to connect to a different headphone device to see if it plays sound without issue. If music or sound works, then you know the original headphone settings need fine-tuned.

4. Audio File Issues – Repair Audio File

Sometimes you might need to fix corrupted audio files. The reason why your headphones can be so quiet is due to the original recording itself being very low quality. This happens when the audio was recorded at very low volume.

This means that no matter how you change the settings to try and increase the volume the sound quality will still be very poor and give a distorted sound from headphones.

5. Issue With the Headphones

Sometimes headphones can have defective hardware that need replaced, which can be the cause of the headphone volume being to quiet or not playing at all. A possible reason why is either:

  1. The headset is brand new and has factory defects
  2. The earphones or headphones have been used extensively to the point of needing replaced.

With any new headphone purchase you would expect a warranty. Factory defects can happen, if this happens I would ensure you return your headphones and ask for a replacement headset for free.

6. Hearing Problems (Hearing loss Issues)

Humans can become hearing impaired and might need to check their hearing (online hearing test). Sometimes loss of hearing can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, which is why eliminating this possibility, although unlikely, is worth factoring in as a potential problem to why your headphones sound very low.

7. Update your phone

Apple headphones not working

Updating your iPhone can help, but also follow these recommended steps by apple support for distorted sound or if your Apple headphones stop working.

We also have a guide on how to use apple earbuds as a mic on pc that might help some apple users experiencing issues with mic volume.

Android headphones not working

If you Samsung headphones are not working there are 5 steps worth considering with Samsung support.

  1. Determine if the headphones are the issue.
  2. Remove all accessories and restart your phone or tablet.
  3. Inspect your headphones for damage.
  4. Check the headphone jack and volume buttons on the phone or tablet.
  5. Check for software updates.

8. Charge battery

This might sound simple, but sometimes recharging the headphones to full battery can be the solution to headphones not working.

9. Replace headphone and earbud Tips

Sometimes you will need to replace earbuds or headphone cups. This can happen when earbuds become damaged and results in ear canal volume issues or distorted sounds.

10. Headset shape

You might be wondering why is my headset getting uncomfortable? Everyone has different ear shapes, sometimes headphone brands and products have a design that d

oes not suit your unique earshape. With most earbuds you can replace the ear tips and if your experiencing sound quality issues along with discomfort it might be worth choosing smaller earbuds to improve overall sound.

3 Considerations when Headphones have Low Volume

Hardware Check

Sometimes when experiencing problems with a pair of headphones it can be good to quickly eliminate  factory defects and headphone parts that might be malfunctioning. By doing a hardware check first you can discover issues quickly and resolve just as fast.

Here are the following hardware checks you should do first:

Ensure you headphones are securely plugged in. If your headphones are not properly plugged in, you might only hear distorted sounds or sound out of one ear. You will know when they are properly pushed in, when you feel a click when the 3.5mm or 7mm jack hits the back of the audio port.

image of black headphones with 3.5 mm jack properly plugged into the headset properly along with another image side by side with jack not properly plugged into the audio port

  • Left image – headphones not properly plugged in
  • Right Image – Properly plugged headphones

You must have a clean headphone jack because a build up of dirt, earwax and general grime can cause problems. Using headphones for long periods of time causes earwax to build up, which can been seen if you inspect the earbud after long periods of use. There however are some simple ways to clean the wax build-up. One technique is to use dampened alcohol with a toothbrush, cleansing wipes, cotton buds or micro fiber cloths. Here is a guide to cleaning earbuds.

Another common defect worth eliminating is a damaged headphone wire. After long periods of use the wires of headphones can become broken through wear and tear. Sometimes the damage can be so severe its worth while buying a new headset. This also depends on your level of skill at headphone repair DIY skills. You can find tutorials on Youtube and go through a specific step by step guide accompanied with new headphone jack and wires.

Playback Device Check

Another easy volume fix is by adjusting the audio control settings on your device.

iPhone Users

If you just want to adjust the volume of your iPhone, use one of these methods.

By pressing volume up or the volume down button on the LEFT-HAND side of the iPhone (opposite to the image). You can increase the volume or decrease by pressing in the buttons until at the comfortable volume level.

Volume buttons on an iPhone

Another option instead of pressing the buttons is to ask Siri to increase the volume or to decrease the volume.

Step 1. Go to Settings/General/Sounds & Haptics or Sounds on older models.

Step 2. Switch on “Reduce Loud Sounds” then adjust the slider to choose the maximum decibel level for headphone audio.apple iphone sound control settings in the app

For Android Devices

How to adjust the volume on Android devices:

Each Android device will have a different pathway and route to a solution. These instructions aim to assist and give you a good idea of the steps required.

  1. Go to the buttons on the side of your Android device and press the volume button “volume up” or “volume down”, which are usually found on the left hand side of the device.
  2. The next step if that one does not work is to open your settings – adjust audio, simply go to settings and then sound and vibration.
  3. From here you can adjust volume on calls, alarms, music, and games via the sliders.

Mac Users

To check MAC volume and audio options, please try out these few steps.

Step 1. Navigate to Apple Menu > System Preferences Sound.

Step 2. Once on the Output tab, please select your headphones.

Note – If you notice your headphones are not visible that means your headphones are not connected to you Mac device.

Step 3. Move the slider to adjust the Macs Volume or audio settings on your headphones.

If the problem has not been resolved try restarting the sound controller. Here are the steps if your still experiencing problems:

Step 1. Firstly, go to Applications and then Utilities.

Step 2. Navigate and click Activity Monitor and input “coreaudiod” in the top right search bar window, which will bring the Core Audio Controller.

Step 3. Now Restart Core Audio Controller by clicking on the coreaudiod and close the application by hitting the X at the top right hand corner.

Windows Users

For instant access to your headphone volume, please follow these next steps:

Step 1. Now hoover over the sound icon and right-click which can be found at the bottom right hand corner of the taskbar.

Step 2. Select the Open Volume mixer option.

Step 3. In the volume mixer you can increase the volume and adjust to your preference.

In order to adjust master volume and audio balance for your headset try these next steps:

Step 1. Window start Menu By Pressing the Windows Key + S > type Sound > Click on Sound Settings.

Step 2. In the sound settings window you can adjust the master volume.

Step 3. To adjust the audio balance, select the Device properties (located in the same window).

Step 3. From here you can slide left or right to change the headphones volume on either side.


Headphone volume issue regardless of settings configuration, volume booster apps, new device purchases, can improve you hearing ability if your ears overall health are in poor condition.

Note, if none of these steps worked then it might be worth looking at buying a new pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Rose Annemarie
Rose loves to review products and has been doing so for years. Now she focuses on headphones and tech products.

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