Headphones of all descriptions have become a staple for almost all of us. Whether they’re wired or Bluetooth, AirPods, Beats, or JBL, many of us wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without them. What better way to drown out the outside world?
Well, sometimes that drowning out can be a bit too much. While there are often complaints of headphones being too quiet, it’s less common to hear of a pair of headphones too loud to comfortably use – even on the lowest setting.
But it does happen, and it can happen for several reasons. So if you’ve experienced this, and you’re looking for a way to fix it, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
Why Your Headphones Are Too Loud
By this point, you’ve probably tried everything you can think of to get your headphones to quieten down, including desperately holding the volume-down button on both your headphones and your device.
And of course, that hasn’t worked, because you’re here reading this! So this is not simply a question of turning down the volume to an acceptable level.
First of all, we need to understand whether this is a problem with your headphones or with your device. The easiest way to find this out is to use your headphones with other devices and see if you have the same issue. If you do, then you know it’s the headphones.
Alternatively (or as well), you can use other headphones with your device. If they also sound too loud, then you know it’s your device that’s causing the problem. Typically, you’ll discover that more often than not, the issue stems from your device. Or rather, some misconfigured settings on your device.
However, that’s not always the case, and sometimes the headphones are the problem. Unfortunately, there are so many different makes and models out there that it’s impossible to find one fix for all headphones. But don’t despair – there’s at least one trick you can try!
First, let’s look at some general headphone fixes that you can employ no matter what you’re using, and then we’ll tackle device-specific fixes for iOS and Android.
Reset Your Bluetooth Headphones
If you’ve not already done this, then do it before you try anything else! More often than not, simply re-establishing a stable Bluetooth connection between your headphones and your device can work wonders for all kinds of problems.
Exactly how you do this will depend on the make and model of your headphones, so I won’t list a ‘how-to’ for every possible headphone brand here. We have, however, covered resetting of some of the most popular headphone brands in other articles.
You can find instructions for resetting the relevant headphones by clicking the links below:
For less well-known headphone brands, consult the manufacturer’s official site for instructions, or if you still have the set-up instructions that came with your headphones, check in there for a step-by-step guide.
Update Headphone Firmware
It’s possible that your headphones are suffering from a glitch or a bug that the developers are aware of, and may have even already rolled out a patch for. But, if your headphones aren’t updated to the latest firmware, you won’t hear the benefit.
Again, the process for updating headphone firmware is different for different makes and models, and some headphones may not even be eligible for any firmware updates if they’re an older model.
Here are some links for updating the firmware for your AirPods or Beats. If you use anything else, you’ll have to consult the manufacturer’s site or documentation that came with your headphones for detailed instructions.
Generally, most headphones update their firmware automatically, so you don’t actually need to do anything, as you’ll know if you read the steps for AirPods and Beats in the linked articles above.
The best thing to ensure your headphones have the best chance of updating is to leave them in their case (if applicable), close to your device, which should be connected to both power and Wi-Fi, for at least 30 minutes, ideally overnight.
This gives you the best chance of the firmware successfully downloading and installing.
The fastest way to amend this issue for iPhone (and iPad) users is to make use of Apple’s Reduce Loud Sounds settings, part of iOS’s headphone safety features.
To access this, head to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Headphone Safety, and then toggle on Reduce Loud Sounds.
Next, you can customize the volume limit you want your device to apply to all audio output played through headphones. You have a choice of five different decibel levels. Once headphone output reaches your selected level, the volume will be limited.
Adjust the slider to set a volume limit. These are the available decibel limits and Apple’s examples of comparable noises:
- 75 decibels – as loud as a vacuum cleaner
- 80 decibels – as loud as a noisy restaurant
- 85 decibels – as loud as heavy city traffic
- 90 decibels – as loud as a car horn
- 100 decibels – as loud as an ambulance siren
Employing one of these decibel limits through your iPhone/iPad’s settings will force your headphones to restrict their volume output, and make listening to music and podcasts enjoyable again, whilst also protecting your ears!
When it comes to Android devices that seem to be stuck with a volume problem, your best bet to tackle it is to head to the developer settings and disable Absolute Volume, a feature that synchronizes volume across your Android device and all viable connected Bluetooth devices, such as headphones and speakers.
Essentially, what this feature does is ensure that when you press the volume-up button on your Android phone, the volume will increase on your headphones. And when you press the volume-down button on your speaker, the volume will decrease on your Android device.
If this sounds like the kind of setting you’d like to leave on, then I’m with you. Who wouldn’t want their volume control synchronized across their devices? Well, while turning it off can sometimes mitigate this particular issue, there’s something you should try before you delve into the developer settings and fiddle with the system – recalibrating your Bluetooth volume.
Recalibrating your Bluetooth volume is easy to do, and often irons out any significant issues with volume, whether there’s too little or too much of it. The article linked relates to AirPods, but you can follow these steps for pretty much any Bluetooth headphones with the same results.
If that didn’t work, or you’re determined to turn off Absolute Volume anyway, here’s how to do it:
- Open Settings and scroll down to About phone
- Scroll to the bottom of the page to find Build number
- Tap Build number seven times and you’ll see a pop-up saying ‘You’re now a developer!’
- Return to Settings and select System > Advanced > Developer Options
- You should see Absolute Volume toggled on – simply toggle it off
That’s it! You’ve disabled what most people would agree is a very handy feature! But, in all seriousness, this can fix your mismatched volume problem and reduce the decibels to a manageable level.
It’s a common misconception that everyone wants their music blasting into their eardrums at 100+ decibels, and sometimes it feels like options for reducing or restricting volume aren’t always easy to come by.
If you’ve got sensitive ears, hearing problems, or difficulty with auditory processing, then offensively loud sounds piped directly into your brain via your eardrum is not a nice experience at all.
Hopefully one of the fixes in this article has worked for you, and you can now enjoy your preferred form of audio media in relative peace!