Not much is worse than sitting down to enjoy your favorite playlist, only to be met with one of the most annoying issues on the planet -- your headphones aren't loud enough.
Now, let it be said that this post isn't for people who want to blast their eardrums out.
Obligatory disclaimer: Do not listen to music too loud! You can permanently damage your hearing!!
Great, now that we got that out of the way, let's start troubleshooting ways to make your headphones louder.
Here's the list of things to try when you're trying to make headphones louder:
- Adjust your playback settings - The specifics of this will vary depending on what device you're listening
- Investing in a headphone amplifier
- Use a volume adjusting app, or adjust all volume levels in your EQ settings
- Invest in noise isolating headphones
1. Adjust Playback Settings
Depending on the device you're playing audio on, you may be able to mess around with your max volume settings to increase the volume output of your device. One of the most common reasons people ask, "Why aren't my headphones loud enough?" is due to a simple configuration that caps the volume limit.
To keep things simple, let's cover how to fix this on Apple and Android phones.
For Apple, you can check this setting by going to the main settings menu and selecting "Music."
From there, scroll down until you see a section for "Playback."
Here you'll see an option for "Volume Limit."
You can adjust your max volume on the following screen. If your headphones are strangely quiet and you're using an Apple device, there's a good chance its due to this setting putting a volume cap.
Okay now let's check out a similar setting for Android.
First, go into your settings, and select > Sounds > Volume.
From here, you're able to see all of the volume levels for different functions. To adjust the setting for music, you're going to want to make adjustments to the "media" setting.
2. Try A Headphone Amplifier
If these settings are all fine, it could be an issue with the power output of the headphones.
In essence, headphones are just speakers, and all speakers require an amplifier. With smaller headphones, space can be a huge limiting factor. The smaller the amp, the lower the volume output.
If you have a set of underpowered headphones, your volume and sound quality will be limited. At "max" volume, you'll hear distortion, and the headphones won't be as loud as you might expect them to when you increase the volume.
A standalone headphone amp can help with this! While we don't want to assume you're willing to buy an external device to boost your headphone volume (why not just buy better headphones, right?), we're just throwing the option out there.
Now, headphone amps don't work in every case. They are generally only for higher quality over-ear headphones. It is reasonably safe to assume that if you're using earbuds, they are already sending out the max volume.
If you have over-ear headphones and you're curious about buying an amp, what you'll want to do is check the headphone impedance.
Headphones with a high impedance level (we're talking like 300ohms) are going to need a little boost to move the drivers. This is generally found in planar magnetic headphones, which are pretty popular right now. If you're using a more efficient set of headphones, say ones in the 20-25 ohms range, a headphone amp won't do much.
3. Use a Volume Increase App or Adjust EQ Settings
If you're listening on a phone and can download apps, you're in luck. There are a handful of apps for both Apple and Android that can help with headphones not being loud enough.
Take a look at the app store for the app with the best reviews. Since this changes so often, we aren't going to recommend any singular app outright, they all have similar functions.
You may also want to consider checking the EQ settings on your phone itself. Sometimes these settings are "optimized" by the manufacturer but don't suit your specific listening preferences. Play around with the settings until you get something you like.
4. Get A Pair of Sound Isolation Headphones
Again, we don't want to push a new pair of headphones on you, but if you're working with a crappy pair of headphones, it doesn't matter how much you fiddle with the settings, you're still going to have a crappy pair of headphones.
If you want to put on your headphones and drown out the world, you should look into a pair of sound isolating headphones. With these types of headphones, you don't have to listen as such high volumes to get the same immersive listening experience.
With sound isolating headphones, you also run less of a risk of damaging your hearing because you don't have to listen at such high volumes to be satisfied.
Headphones that aren't loud enough are a super common problem. We get dozens of emails of people asking us how to fix these issues, so we decided to make a whole post about it.
Did any of these tips help you? Let us know in the comments section below!