How-To

Why Is One AirPod Louder Than the Other? (Do This NOW)

I own AirPods and AirPod Pros, and occasionally they both experience the same issue – one AirPod is louder than the other.

There are countless cases of AirPods owners who say they’ve had this problem – some say it’s been an issue they’ve dealt with for multiple years!

Luckily there is a very easy fix that should resolve the majority of cases where one AirPod is louder than the other.

Why is one AirPod louder than the other?

One AirPod is louder than the other because earwax, dirt, and sweat have built up and formed a layer over the speaker inside your headphone. Use a clean, dry toothbrush or Q-Tip to gently remove the grime from your AirPods and they will instantly get louder.

When earwax and grime builds up inside your AirPods, the volume decreases significantly. In fact it can get so bad that you don’t hear anything at all!

The only way to fix this is to spend time carefully cleaning your AirPods.

If that doesn’t work, don’t panic. There are several other proven steps you can take to fix this issue. Follow every step below and I’m confident you’ll get your AirPods working again.

Clean AirPods and charging ports

Believe it or not, if one AirPod sounds louder than the other, it’s very likely due to dirt, grime and earwax that have built up on your AirPod speaker and down inside the charging port. Gross!

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

clean your AirPods and remove earwax

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!

So 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.

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 AirPod speakers. You can also use a Q-Tip to clean out your AirPods, just the same way you would clean out your actual ears. 

Make sure to clean the inside the charging case and the charging tips of your AirPods too!

Clean charging ports and bottom of AirPods

If you need to, you can add a little isopropyl alcohol to the end of the Q-tip to really get a deep clean. Don’t worry, Apple approves!

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.

You might also find it helpful to grab a flashlight, or use the flash on your phone to get a better look. 

If you constantly make sure those charging connection points are nice and clean, and the AirPod speaker and sensors are clear, you’ll likely resolve this issue for good.

Adjust Audio Balance

If you cleaned your AirPods and one is still louder than the other, then you need to make sure your audio is balanced.

To adjust your audio balance:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Then select Accessibility
  3. The scroll down to Audio/Visual
  4. Make sure the Balance slider is the exact middle
Adjust AirPod Audio balance

If this balance slider isn’t in the middle, you’ll get more volume coming through one AirPod vs. the other. So just make sure your audio is 100% balanced before moving on.

Reset Bluetooth

If cleaning your AirPods and balancing your audio didn’t fix the problem, the very next thing you should try is resetting your phone’s Bluetooth.

To reset your Bluetooth:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Then select Bluetooth
  3. Toggle Bluetooth OFF and wait 20 seconds
  4. Then toggle Bluetooth back ON
  5. Reselect your AirPods and try to connect
toggle off bluetooth to pair airpods

Alternatively, you can swipe down on the home screen and then click on the blue Bluetooth icon, turning it grey (off). Wait 20 seconds, then click the Bluetooth icon again turning it blue (on).

If this doesn’t work for you the first time, you can try it one more time before moving on. Typically, just by forcing your phone to try and reestablish a stable Bluetooth connection, you can fix this problem.

If you start listening to music again and you still find that one AirPod is louder than the other, try resetting them…

Reset your AirPods

This fix is very easy, but just a bit more involved than resetting your Bluetooth. The good news is that this will work for many of you.

To start, you’re going to need to “Forget This Device”. To do this:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Then select Bluetooth
  3. Click the info icon next to your AirPods
  4. Select “Forget This Device”
  5. This will successfully remove your AirPods from your phone
forget this device reset airpod bluetooth

Now that your AirPods are removed, you need to re-sync them.

To re-pair your AirPods, follow these steps:

  1. On your phone, make sure Bluetooth is ON
  2. Put both AirPods in the charging case and open the lid
  3. Press and hold the button on the back of the AirPod charging case until the case status light blinks white
  4. Your AirPods should pop up on your phone. Select “Connect”
  5. Your AirPods will take a few seconds to connect but then you should be good to go!

This process will entirely reset your AirPods and your sound should be working consistently now.

If you’re part of the unlucky few that still haven’t fixed the issue, don’t panic. There are several other fixes that will likely solve this for you, so keep going.

Reset your iPhone

Sometimes the issue of one AirPod sounding louder than the other isn’t necessarily your AirPod’s “fault”, but instead it’s caused by your phone.

There are really two ways to go about resetting your phone. The first is simple, just fully power your phone down.

You’d be surprised how many software/connection issues you can solve by just doing the old power-off, power-back-on fix.

This is primarily because a phone reboot clears the current state of your phone’s software, so any issues your phone has run into should get wiped clean.

To power down your phone, press and hold the side button and any volume button at the same time (older versions of the iPhone only require you to hold the side button).

The second way to reset your iPhone is to Reset Network Settings. This action removes all previous connections and disconnects you from any active networks you’re on.

To Reset Network Settings on your iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll down to General
  3. At the bottom, select Reset
  4. Finally choose “Reset Network Settings
reset network settings airpods

Update iPhone software

iPhone software is constantly getting updated, improved and fixed.

If you’re running old or outdated software, it’s very possible that this is causing an issue with your AirPod’s Bluetooth connection, causing one AirPod to sound louder than the other.

Always make an effort to update your phone whenever you can. I recommend you turn Automatic Updates on so that your phone will schedule these updates during the night time when you’re asleep.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll down to General
  3. At the top, select Software Update
  4. Then choose Automatic Updates
  5. Toggle Download iOS updates and Install iOS updates both on
  6. Now select Back and see if any updates are available
  7. If there is an update available, select Install Now

Running the latest software ensures that your phone is working at it’s best! You can avoid a lot of issues just by staying on top of these.

Turn off nearby devices

Another possible fix to get this issue resolved involves turning off any and all Bluetooth devices nearby. This means actually powering them down.

If you have other phones, headphones, mouses, keyboards, etc. in the area, it is possible that there is interference happening.

You can be sure to avoid this by shutting all those devices off.

Alternatively, you can go to your iPhone and “Forget This Device” for each and every one of these Bluetooth gadgets. This process was defined above if you need a reminder for how to do this.

By taking this step you can be sure that no interference is happening.

Turn off Automatic Ear Detection

By default, AirPods have technology built in them to sense when they are in your ear. Once this is confirmed, audio starts to be received from your device.

While the tech is cool, anything that goes wrong with this process will lead to an incomplete or impartial connection and sound will cut in and out of your headphones.

(The number one reason this feature acts up is from dirty headphones. So make sure you cleaned them well following the instructions above!)

I would start by simply turning off Automatic Ear Detection to see if that’s what’s causing the issue. Keep in mind that once you turn this off, your AirPods will keep playing even when you take them out of your ears.

Here’s how to turn off Automatic Ear Detection:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Then select Bluetooth
  3. Tap the Info button next to your AirPods
  4. Scroll down and toggle OFF Automatic Ear Detection

See if this fixed your problem or not.

Charge Your AirPods

AirPods with a low battery (think 10% charge or less) will often go in and out, loose sound/volume, and may also lose microphone functionality. You can even permanently shorten your AirPods battery life!

When AirPods are nearly dead, they’re also nearly useless! You can get very little enjoyment out of AirPods that are about to die. And, when they finally do die? They aren’t exactly easy to find, either.

There are a lot more issues than one AirPod sounding louder than the other to deal with when Apple AirPods aren’t charged properly.

That’s why it’s important to keep your AirPods fully charged up to ensure that you don’t encounter any of these problems.

It’s not too tough a task, either – AirPods can charge from nearly dead to completely full in under an hour!

Conclusion

If one AirPod sounds louder than the other, there are several proven ways to resolve it:

  1. Clean your AirPod speakers and charging ports.
  2. Make sure your audio is 100% balanced.
  3. Try resetting the Bluetooth on your phone by toggling it off then on again.
  4. Reset your AirPods by using “Forget This Device”. Then repair your headphones.
  5. Power your phone off and then back on again.
  6. Update your phone’s software to the latest OS.
  7. Turn off all nearby Bluetooth devices to avoid possible interference.
  8. Turn off Automatic Ear Detection.
  9. Make sure your AirPods are fully charged.

If you try each and every one of these troubleshooting steps, you’re very likely to fix this problem.

Were you able to successfully fix your AirPods? If you were, let me know how you did it in the comment section below!