Why are my headphones so quiet? Solve it

You know that feeling when you’re listening to your favorite song, but the audio is too low, no matter how much you ramp up the volume knob. It’s frustrating! And you might be wondering, “why are my headphones so quiet?“.

If you have a set of headphones or earbuds, chances are you’ve bumped into the problem where they seem too quiet. It’s a common issue many people face, no matter which type of headphones they use.

The good news is that there are many reasons why this problem occurs, and it’s always possible to fix them.

Why are my headphones so quiet? – Common problems

Here is a list of common factors that cause low volume in headphones or earbuds, along with the solutions you can try. Keep reading!

Wired connection issues (headphone jack or plug)

A faulty connection is the most common problem that leads to low volume in headphones. This might be due to an issue with the headphone jack or plug, which is often easy to fix.

Here are a few things you can try:

  • Ensure that the headphone jack is completely plugged into your device and not crooked. If it’s loose, this can cause sound problems.
  • Clean the headphone jack and plug on your headphones and devices using a soft cloth. If any dirt or wax is blocking the connection, it will affect the audio quality.
  • Try using different headphones or earbuds with your device to see if that fixes the problem. If another pair of headphones works fine, your headphone jack could be damaged.
why are my headphones so quiet - headphone jack plug

Sometimes your headphone cable can get damaged or broken, too, especially if you keep them in a tight pocket, such as the one on your jeans. If this is the case with your headphones and it’s still under warranty, don’t hesitate to contact customer support for help.

Wireless connection issues (Bluetooth or others)

Wireless headphones are the rage these days, but sometimes they can be a little finicky. If you’re having low-volume issues with your headphones, it might be because of a wireless connection issue.

There are a few things you can try:

  • Ensure that both devices are turned on and the Bluetooth connection is active.
  • If you’re using an iPhone or iPad (AirPods sometimes have similar problems), ensure airplane mode is disabled. This setting can sometimes interfere with the Bluetooth connection and cause sound issues. The same applies to other Android devices or laptops, as most computers have airplane mode nowadays.
  • Reboot your devices by turning them off and then back on again. This often fixes minor glitches in the system and only takes a few minutes.
  • Try connecting to another device with your headphones to see if that works better. If it does, there might be a problem with your headphones’ hardware or drivers.
  • You may get interference from other devices, such as mobile phones, routers, or microwaves. Try disconnecting and connecting your wireless headphones again, but move to another location and stay close to the source.

If none of the above works, keep reading.

Earwax or dirt inside your earbuds

Having earwax or dirt inside your headphone can create a muffled sound, which might cause the low volume in your headphones. This problem is easy to fix by cleaning them with water and cotton swabs (Q-tips). If that doesn’t work, you could try using rubbing alcohol instead.

I mentioned earbuds because of the size; it’s more likely to happen, but this also goes for headphones. Make sure to clean the ear cups and all around the band, especially if you’re not the only one using them.

Wrong volume settings/profile or software bug

Sometimes low volume can be caused by incorrect audio settings on your device. This problem could be caused due to a profile that’s been set automatically or a software bug that needs to be fixed with an update. It could be an accessibility or security option.

why are my headphones so quiet - software issue

To fix this:

  • Check your device’s audio settings and ensure it is set to maximum volume output (be careful).
  • Delete old audio profiles or equalizer settings and restore them to factory settings.
  • Check that there aren’t any audio limitations in your phone’s accessibility settings.
  • Update your device’s firmware or drivers (computer) if there are any updates.

If none of these solutions work, it might be a different issue. Let’s keep trying other solutions.

Low battery, duh – why are my headphones so quiet?

The sound level might be low because of a low battery if you’re using wireless headphones or earbuds. This issue is easy to solve by simply looking at your device’s battery indicator and checking if it needs charging.

why are my headphones so quiet - low battery

Some headphones start dying slowly when the battery is about to die, and you can hear how the sound starts to go silent. You might also experience some distortion in the audio.

If this is the problem, plug your headphones into a power source and let them charge for a bit before using them again. If you have a small portable charger, ensure it’s working properly before testing your headphones again.

The actual video/audio file you’re listening to

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re not getting good quality audio from the source, it will be difficult for your headphones to make it sound better, no matter how high the volume is set.

If you’re watching YouTube videos or playing music from a low-quality source, try using a different app or website with better-quality audio files.

It could be just one song with super low volume levels due to the type of audio file. Try changing to a different song or listening to it on another device.

Ear fit issue

If your headphones don’t fit well in your ears, they could create sound leakage and make it difficult for you to raise the volume levels enough without experiencing discomfort or pain.

This is even worse with smaller earbuds; they have to fit your ear canal perfectly for the sound to be isolated and not leak out, and sometimes they fall out of your ear.

why are my headphones so quiet - ear fit

One way to fix this is by getting different headphone tips or ear pads that fit you better, but it could also be the type of headphones you are using. If they don’t have adjustable ear cups, there might not be much you can do about it other than get a new pair with more flexibility in size and shape.

High impedance headphones

If you’re using high-impedance headphones, it’s possible that your device might not be able to produce enough power for them to create a loud sound. This problem is more familiar with desktop computers and laptops and only applies to high-end headphones.

If the low volume problem happens on every device, you might have high-impedance headphones.

To fix this:

  • Check if your computer has an audio jack that supports high-impedance headphones (>=60 ohms). But don’t worry, most computers and smartphones don’t.
  • Try using an external amplifier or DAC (digital-to-analog converter) between your device and headphones. This device solves the issue. Here are some great headphone amps under $100.
  • Replace the default audio driver on your computer with one that supports high-impedance headphones. This suggestion might apply to desktop computers for gamers/creators.
why are my headphones so quiet - amp impedance

The probability of having high-impedance headphones and not knowing it is pretty low, though. Audiophiles know about this and usually have a headphone amplifier to increase the volume levels.

Old drivers

This last tip applies to computers or laptops only.

If you’re using old drivers, there’s a possibility that your headphones might not be working with the latest software/firmware updates. This problem can often happen when you’ve been using the same pair of headphones for a long time, and new updates come out that are incompatible with them.

You can try updating your device’s firmware or drivers (computer) if there are any updates. Pay special attention to the operating system that you are using too.

Some old drivers might not work with the new ones and will cause low-volume problems, especially on Windows, since they’re infamous for having issues like this.

Some devices also allow you to roll back to earlier driver versions, which could solve this issue. If none of these solutions work, it might be a different issue.

Your headphones are damaged.

Suppose all of these tips don’t seem to fix your problem. In that case, there’s possibly something wrong with your headphones themselves, and you should probably contact customer support or try getting a replacement.

Sometimes product quality can vary from one production run to another, so make sure you read reviews before buying anything expensive like this if other people had similar experiences (or even better).

Some companies offer good warranties, though, so use them if necessary because aside from their primary purpose – protecting your purchase – guarantees are for other things like getting an exchange/refund on something that’s not working correctly.

Why are my headphones so quiet? The bottom line

There you have it – a few reasons your headphones might be too quiet and some solutions to try. If all of these don’t work, there’s possibly something wrong with your device or headphones, and you should contact customer support for help.

Let us know if you have any questions or if these tips helped you in the comments below.

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