Are Your Headphones Too Quiet? 10 Common Problems And Their Solutions


Do your headphones sound too quiet? It’s a more common problem than you think. You need to know that there are several reasons why this may be happening, and they all have a solution.

Why Are Headphones Expensive?

Headphones can be expensive pieces of hardware. Sure, you can find low-cost versions of headphones anywhere, but consumers like to pay extra for a pair of headphones that provide excellent sound. That is the entire point of making them so expensive, after all, to offer a supreme listening experience that transports the owner to another world.

It is usually why people get so anxious when their headphones seem to be malfunctioning. Quieter sound can be a death call for a pair of headphones, and if you think it’s expensive to buy them, you should know how expensive they are to repair.

So, what are you supposed to do if your headphones produce a sound that is too quiet? Here’s a list of ten common issues that may be the cause of this problem, as well as some tips on how to fix them.

1. Issues With The Plug-In Or Socket

If you own headphones that require wires to connect, they may malfunction due to plug-in or socket issues. For example, having the headphone plug be connected too loosely to your audio device may cause quieter sound and static noises. The way to fix this is to simply tighten the wires the next time you use them and see if you can detect a difference when listening to your music.

Make sure that every time you plug in your headphones, you press down hard on the jack. You should hear a clicking noise once they’re securely connected. If you find that they work better at first, but then the jack gets looser with time, it will probably be best to replace it. You might even be able to buy the piece online and replace it yourself if you don’t have a tech repair shop near you.

Another common issue with sockets is dirt and debris. A headphone jack is a hole just like any other, and it can fill up with dirt and dust after a few months of use. If you find that this is the case, it is recommendable to use a cotton swab to remove the debris from the area gently.

Another area that can get very dirty is the grid inside the headphones or earbuds. This part of the headphones can get clotted with ear wax which may dampen the sound, resulting in quiet.

If you find that this is the case with your small pair of earbuds, then there’s a procedure you can perform to clean them. Remove the grid with a pair of tweezers and then hold it over the fire for a short period. Once this is done, the grid will bend with the heat.

Once the grid has cooled, use the same pair of tweezers to bend the grid back to its original position. The sound quality should be restored when you pop them back in since the ear wax will have melted off with the heat.

Unfortunately, there is also the possibility that the headphone jack is faulty or has got broken somehow. If you see any cracks anywhere, then you’re better off going to your local tech store and buying a new one to have it replaced or buying a spare piece online to replace it yourself.

2. Issues With Bluetooth Or Wireless Connectivity

If you own a pair of Bluetooth headphones, then the issues you’re experiencing may be due to the Bluetooth connection not being strong enough or directly being defective.

This can happen when there’s something between your music reproduction device and your headphones blocking the waves’ path like a metal desk, a thick wall, or just too much distance. You can check whether or not this is the case by listening to music closer to your device, then moving away to see if the audio quality worsens.

3. Issues With Your Music Reproduction Device

Sometimes it’s not even headphones that are the problem; it’s the device itself. Most people are unaware of this, but you can select your audio quality in the settings for your device. You can get incredibly specific and select which side you want more volume to come out of, the depth, clarity, etc. This is why many people find their brand-new headphones with sound coming out of only one side or not at all.

Sometimes your settings can get wiped or replaced without your knowledge, which creates these kinds of issues. If that’s the case, simply go to the setting section on your device, and choose audio settings. There you should see bars or dials with which to monitor the sound. You can make as many changes as you like and perhaps end up with a more pleasant sound.

Of course, in this case, it is best to read up on how to adjust the settings first since every device and app is different. Spotify, for example, has a range of settings with which you can change your listening experience, from timing out crossfades between songs to significantly increasing the depth and clarity of sound with just a few dials!

But how can you know if these settings are correct for you? Well, if you don’t want to do a lot of experimentation, then it may be a good idea for you to browse audiophile communities. Audiophiles are people who appreciate the quality of sound and are constantly trying to improve on it. This is why they chat on forums like Reddit, where they post ‘Audiophile test playlists,’ which are meant to test out the quality of your device.

You can also look at instructions on how to use these tests and how to adjust settings on your reproduction device or app so that you can improve the quality of your sound. These forums are an excellent tool for increasing the depth and clarity of your sound and just overall creating a better listening experience for yourself and others.

4. Audio File Issues

In some cases, the reason for the sound issue may not be the headphones or even the audio reproduction device but the audio file itself. This can happen when the audio file you listen to has been recorded to be played at an extended volume. If this is the case, the headphones should produce other audio files just fine but only have trouble with that particular one.

If an audio file has been formatted to be played at a lower sound, no matter how high you turn the volume on your headphones, it will always be heard quietly. In these cases, it’s best to obtain the same music from another source or convert the audio file to a different format to re-establish the settings. One could also find the audio file source and re-format it to play at an average level.

The format of the audio file may also be an issue. For example, audio files that come in WAV format tend to have better sound since they’re as close to CD reproduction quality as it gets, but they’re extremely heavy, taking up to 45MB of data.

This may be the reason why the sound coming out of your headphones is quiet or virtually nonexistent since the file is too heavy for the reproduction device to process.

If this is the case, it’s advisable to convert the WAV file to an MP3 file, which is much smaller and more accessible for the device to play. Such a conversion may result in changes in the sound since the MP3 format is smaller and some sections are lost, but most people believe these changes to be pretty much inaudible.

Audio files can be tricky, especially when you obtain them online. Make sure that when you download audio files from websites, they don’t end in “.exe” since these are classic examples of ‘Trojan horses,’ which are files that look innocent but rid your computer of viruses. This is why you should always check that the file ends either in “.wav” or “.mp3,” so you know it’s safe.

5. Issues With The Headset

When it’s not the jack or the audio file, sometimes it can be the headset itself that’s causing issues. There could be an issue with the hardware itself, causing problems. This is usually caused by the hardware not being properly connected to the audio source, such as broken or dirty wires.

First, you should disconnect and reconnect to see if it fixes the issue. If it doesn’t, it may be because the volume control is turned off. These kinds of issues can happen with brand new headphones, especially since they often come with factory settings that are maladjusted.

If your headphones are battery-powered, then the issue may be that the headphones aren’t charged up. This can happen with air pods especially. The case that they come in automatically charges them, but the case itself has to be charged every once in a while.

If you open the lid on your air pod case and see the light in the middle turn amber color or grey, this is a clear sign that you need to charge the case immediately. Just connect it to a power source and take it out about an hour later.

There could also be a problem with the Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth works by using radio waves to connect to a device instead of wires. You have to select the device you want the noise to come out of for the radio frequency to work.

For example, if you connect your phone to your car via Bluetooth to listen to music, and then you walk out without disconnecting it, it’s more than likely that your headphones won’t work since your iPhone is still connected to your car.

It’s important to remember that one device can’t be connected to more than one other device via Bluetooth at a time, which is why you should always check the connectivity.

6. Device Not Pairing

Sometimes even the most expensive wireless headphones struggle with this issue. You may find that right after buying a costly pair of earbuds, they still can’t connect to your audio device. This may be because your headphones are having trouble pairing with your device since it is brand new. Your headphones are probably not accustomed to pairing with it, nor is the device itself accustomed to pairing with your headphones.

One relatively easy way to fix this is to turn Bluetooth off your device and turn it back on. This will force your device to search for Bluetooth sources around its locality, leading the brand name of your headphones to pop up. Once you see it, simply select it, and wait for it to pair with your device.

It is also essential that your device’s operating system is compatible with the headphones in the first place. Check online if that particular brand is compatible with your device’s OS, whether it’s IOS or Android.

After that, check that your headphones and the device that you’re trying to connect them to are close enough to each other. They shouldn’t be farther than three feet away. Putting too much distance between the source of the audio and the headphones can cause the radio signals to get cut and therefore stop producing sound.

7. Record Players

If you’ve recently purchased a suitcase record player and connected headphones to it, then you may have experienced sound that is too quiet. This can happen when the record player is connected to an insufficient power source, like a lithium battery.

If this is the case, simply disconnect the record player and plug it into the wall or to a wall’s extension. Once you do, turn the dial off (you should hear a click) and then turn it back on. This should fix the problem with the sound as well as the volume level.

8. Auditory Issues

One thing you may not have even thought of to be the problem could be your ears. Everyone’s ears are shaped differently and have different sizes. If your headphones are too large for your ears, this may cause a cave-like effect that makes the sound appear echoed or quiet. However, if your headphones are too small, you may also find that you have issues with sound.

In this case, it’s much better to use IEM (short for Internal Ear Monitors) since they have soft earbuds made out of silicone opry plastic that goes directly into your ear canal, which tends to be the same size for everyone. This allows the sound to be adequately transmitted through the devices while obtaining a more outstanding quality with more depth and clarity.

9. Poor Quality Headphones

If you bought your headphones online at a price that seemed too good to be true, that’s because it indeed was. Online companies usually source their hardware from China, made from cheap materials in terrible conditions by highly underpaid workers. This is why low-cost headphones tend not to last long since they’re made with low-quality parts or sometimes even stolen ones. They’re practically built to break.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend a year’s salary on headphones for them to be good. You can find excellent quality headphones at reasonable prices, but such a find requires a great deal of research and comparing. This is where the internet usually comes in handy.

Many online communities exist for the sole purpose of trying to find the best headphones out there for the lowest asking prices, such as forums and subreddits. These communities are beneficial when you’re looking to buy a new pair of headphones since they can help narrow down your choices and allow you to contrast and compare which brand and model is best for you and your listening habits.

10. Low Volume Coming From The Audio Source

One of the reasons you may hear audio files more quietly when you listen to them on headphones is that the audio levels change once you take them off. Your regular device has one audio setting, and once you connect your headphones to it, the volume jumps back to the last way you set it.

It is why you may hear a song loud and clear without headphones or quiet with them. This is probably because you put it at low volume the last time you changed your volume setting on your headphones. You can test whether this is the case by increasing the audio level when your headphones are on.

Give It A Chance

Headphones, like all pieces of hardware, can malfunction. However, there is no reason to throw them away immediately. It’s better for you and for the planet to figure out the source of the problem first before you completely discard a product, so you can try to fix it.

Audiophile Haven

AudiophileHaven is a site dedicated to Hi-Fi audio, and helping others learn more about premium quality sound equipment.

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