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Why Are My AirPods so Quiet? (Try This Fix FIRST!)

If you’ve saved and waited for just the right moment to grab a pair of Apple AirPods, you probably have pretty high expectations for their performance. And, for the most part, they deliver. 

Why, then do Airpods seem to get quieter over time?

Why are my AirPods so Quiet?

The number one reason your Airpods are so quiet is because earwax, dirt, and sweat have built up and formed a layer over the speakers inside your headphones. Use a clean, dry toothbrush or Q-Tip to gently remove the grime from your AirPods and they will instantly get louder.

1. Sweat, Moisture, and Earwax

Gunk. Whether it’s from your ears, a dusty environment, or somewhere else, if it gets in your AirPods, you’re going to hear the difference.

This is the number one reason your AirPods aren’t putting as much sound in your ear as they used to. When earwax builds up inside your AirPods, the volume can decrease pretty significantly.

clean your AirPods and remove earwax

Even a small layer of earwax in your AirPods is enough to make a big difference in sound quality. 

If you work out while wearing your AirPods or wear them in the rain, moisture can lead to buildup, too. The salt in your sweat will remain in the AirPods, messing with the sound quality. 

On top of that, AirPods that are wet from rain or sweat will pick up dust as they dry out.  

This issue is especially true of the AirPods Pro – the rubber tips gather dust, sweat, and earwax like nobody’s business!

If the sound quality and volume on your AirPods Pro has suddenly decreased, check inside the tips to see if any gunk has built up. Look closely! It can get so caked on that it’s almost not noticeable at first glance.

The Solution

Check the speakers on your AirPods and clean them regularly. If you have AirPods Pro, you may have to remove the tips to check if the speakers are covered in gunk.

Cleaning dirt and gunk out of your AirPods is a simple concept. But, because you’re dealing with sensitive electronics, you need to be sure you’re cleaning them the right way. 

Use a clean, dry toothbrush or similar item to gently remove dirt and grime from your AirPods. You can also use a Q-Tip to clean out your AirPods, just the same way you would clean out your actual ears. 

Just make sure you don’t use any soap or water – that’ll only make the blockage worse, and you risk permanently damaging the speakers.

2. Low Power Mode

If you’ve got your iPhone in Low Power Mode, it will automatically decrease the volume on your AirPods. To make your AirPods louder, you may need to turn off Low Power Mode. 

If you’re thinking this is a design flaw – that, since your AirPods aren’t drawing any power from your iPhone, Low Power Mode shouldn’t affect the volume at all – you’re right.

Your AirPods have their own battery, and having the volume turned up doesn’t drain your phone battery at all – but it does anyway!

But, even though there is no logical reason for this to happen, it still does. If your iPhone is in Low Power Mode, the volume on any headphones you’re using will be affected.

turn off low battery mode on iphone

The Solution

If you’re wondering why your AirPods suddenly got so quiet, check your iPhone settings to see if you’re in Low Power Mode. If you are, turn it off, and the volume should go back to normal! But, don’t forget to charge up ASAP!

  1. Open your “Settings” app
  2. Tap on “Battery”
  3. Then toggle “Low Power Mode” OFF

3. Volume Limit

Most phones and in-ear/over-ear headphones have a safety mechanism that keeps the volume from getting too high and damaging your ears.

Most of the time, that feature works rather well – you can have your music or streaming volume quite high without hurting your ears. 

Sometimes, though, the volume limit on your AirPods is quite, well… limiting.

This is especially true if the stuff you’re listening to or watching isn’t mixed correctly, and if you’re in an especially loud environment. 

The Solution

Turn off the volume limit on your phone. If you’re using an iPhone running iOS 15, follow these steps: 

  1. Open your “Settings” app
  2. Tap on “Sounds and Haptics”
  3. Find and tap the “Headphone Safety” button. 
  4. From there, you will be able to turn your volume limiter off using the “Reduce Loud Sounds” switch
headphone safety on iphone

4. Software Issues

Your phone, laptop, or tablet might need a software update, or it may be experiencing issues of its own.

If that’s the case, it’s possible that it’s also causing an issue with your AirPods, making them play audio at a lower volume. 

If you’ve been experiencing other issues with your AirPods, such as a failure to connect or a tendency to only play in one ear, a software issue might be to blame. 

The Solution

Check to make sure the device the AirPods are paired with has up-to-date software and doesn’t have any viruses or other issues. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple software update to get all of your devices working perfectly again!

  1. Open your “Settings” app
  2. Tap on “General” and then “Software Update”
  3. Check to see if there are any available updates

5. Hardware Issues

This is the one I hate to mention, because if your AirPods have hardware issues, it’s more or less hopeless. 

If your AirPods are suffering from water or heat damage, they’re going to struggle to put out the same quality and volume of sound.

If you have been unfortunate enough to leave your AirPods in your pocket when you did laundry, you know what I’m talking about.

The reason behind this is simple: the AirPods are damaged and can no longer do what they’re supposed to do. As far as solutions go, it’s just as simple, but much more disappointing. 

The Solution

To put it bluntly, the solution to damaged AirPods is to just buy new AirPods. If they’re damaged, there is no real way to fix them. That is, perhaps, the worst thing about these $200+ headphones. 

6. Nearly Dead Batteries

If a pair of AirPods is almost dead (the batteries are below 5% charge), they might start to act up.

The connection might be spotty, one or both ears might go in and out randomly, and, of course, they could become frustratingly quiet.

The Solution

Charge your AirPods! Apple AirPods charge incredibly fast, giving you more than an hour of playback time after just 10 minutes in the charging case. They can even be fully charged in just 30 minutes!

Pro Tip: Clean Ears Equal Clean AirPods

Want to stop your AirPods from ever going quiet on you again? Stop the problem at its source – your ears!

It sounds funny but keeping your ears clean is the best way to prevent build-up on AirPods that causes quietness. Now, that may seem like common sense, but an estimated 90% of people clean their ears the wrong way

Only about 10% of people actually need to clean their ears due to an abundance of earwax; the rest of us are fine because the ears are naturally self-cleaning.

That’s right – odds are, what you’ve been doing your entire life to keep your ears clean is actually not very good for you.

Regularly cleaning out your ears with a Q-Tip or your finger can lead your body to produce more earwax instead of less, which makes buildups happen even faster

That’s bad news for your ears, and bad news for anything you put in them. 

Experts say that the best way to keep your ears clean is to use Q-Tips on the outer portions of your ears only when necessary (hardly ever), and to leave your ear canals alone completely.

The risk of doing permanent damage to your ear canals with a Q-Tip is too high, and they don’t even need to be cleaned in the first place!

use qtips to clean your ears and prevent airpods from gunking up

Of course, over time, your AirPods will eventually need to be cleaned no matter what. But, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by excessively cleaning your ears because doing that makes things worse, not better.

The point is this: if you want to keep your AirPods clean, keep your ears clean – and the best way to do that is to just leave them alone!

Wrapping Up: AirPods, Ear Gunk, and You

If you’ve been wondering why your AirPods are so quiet, you aren’t alone.

The most common reason for loss of volume in Apple AirPods is a buildup of earwax and dirt that covers the speakers.

But, other things may also be to blame – like the volume limit or Low Power Mode on your iPhone.

So, keep your ears and AirPods clean, and always remember to check your phone’s settings before you assume your expensive wireless earbuds are broken. 

Did your AirPods get quieter? Have you been able to solve this low volume issue? What was the fix that worked for you? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!