This week had been pretty hectic at work after I had been promoted as the senior Technical Architect Manager. My new set of responsibilities, no doubt, has brought me a personal cabin but a bigger team to handle. It feels like I am always on the call.
Given the restlessness and the anxiety of extra work-load and to prove my niche’ in my new position, I found it tough to doze off these days and I resumed to wearing my AirPods to fall asleep as Michelle is out with her parents and I wanted Taylor Swift now to sing ‘Safe and Sound’ for me to at least make me feel like sleeping ! It’s so addictive, I tell you.
For more than four days, I have been doing this and my ears have begun to hurt after wearing the AirPods excessively. Also, I realised on waking up that my AirPods were losing charge very fast and dying quickly so I decided to use one AirPod at the moment and let the other one charge first. This would also heal my ears from the hurt caused by wearing AirPods all times but to my shock, when I plugged in my left Airpod, the sound wasn’t loud enough.
I assumed that maybe the left one isn’t charged well so I switched to the right AirPod and it was as good and loud as before. I managed for the time being but the thought just couldn’t leave my mind that Why is my right AirPod louder than my left ?
This was quite atrocious because I could use one AirPod to manage for a while but I certainly don’t enjoy listening to songs with one AirPod plugged in. I definitely need both the AirPods for the best audio experience. I hadn’t even begun to fix why is one AirPod louder than the other and before that, more terrifying thoughts clouded my imagination. What in the worst case, the one AirPod that I am relying on begins to pause or gets lost ? With the other one already quieter, it will be an awful situation, as bad as owning no pair of AirPods, at all.
So, cutting off on worrying further, I was determined to find out why is one AirPod quieter than the other and began to search for the best possible solution about how to make AirPod louder.
It wasn’t very easy, if I tell you but the solutions were very much do-able and I am writing this article while wearing both my Airpods and they work absolutely fine to the best of their volume. I must share with you the methods I adapted for fixing this issue and since it’s a common issue with the AirPods, you must equip yourself with all the why(s) and how(s) of such an issue so that you never find your left AirPod quieter than right or vice-versa.
So, get ready to find out why at times, you have the left AirPod quieter than right and how can this be easily fixed and have a balanced audio on both the left and right AirPods.
Reason For One AirPod Louder Than The Other
After analysing the issue in depth, I found out that the reason for having one AirPod louder than the other can be related to both the software and the hardware of the AirPods. Along with it, there are a few very relevant reasons like dirty AirPods, or if the AirPods were left wet, soaked in the moisture after a long run or if you mistakenly wore them to swimming. There are plenty like that and to make it easy for you, I have created a crisp and short list down here so that you keep them in mind the next time you wear AirPods and keep them safe.
- Audio File Issues
- Incorrect Audio-Source Setting
- A Hardware Issue
- Firmware issues
- No Battery on the AirPod
I will not leave it upto you to figure out what a hardware or firmware on AirPod is or how should be the audio settings on your device to hear audio equally loud on both the AirPods, rather I will explain each one to you so that it will be easier for you to co-relate when you learn the troubleshooting techniques.
1. Audio File Issues
Whenever there is any issue faced while listening to an audio on the AirPods, the AirPods are the first ones to blame. It is commonly considered that there is something wrong with the AirPods but there is also one possibility that there might be something wrong with the audio file or the song you are trying to play. The file might be corrupted which prevents it from being read clearly by the device and heard on the AirPods.
The audios you listen to, are basically ‘stereo-tracks’ which send the audio signals to two different channels i.e the Left and the Right. Software is used by the Sound engineers and artists for creating clearer and more immersive soundscapes so that when you hear the audio on your device, like AirPods at the moment, the audio can be heard clearly and equally loud on both Left and Right AirPods.
Audio Panning is the technique used which affects the distance between the sound tracks heard on both the Left and the Right speaker.
If the audio which you are playing is heard louder on one AirPod than the other, it is possible that the sound of your Audio File is unstable and audio panning has gone wrong.
2. Incorrect Audio-Source Setting
If the audio sounds equally disturpted and low on both the AirPods, then the audio file might not be at fault and there can be an issue with the Audio-Source settings on your device.
It means your device is experiencing improper Audio-Enhancement settings which is making you hear the audio louder on one AirPod than on both of them.
If by fault, you have selected the sound settings on one AirPod as ‘Always Left’ , or ‘Always Right’ , it has automatically given the permission to your device to play the audio louder on one of the AirPod.
It happens when the users forget to check the default settings on the device and if the device is already set on a preference to hear louder on one side, such issues are bound to occur and you are just wondering why is one AirPod quieter than the other.
3. A Hardware Issue
Along with the above issue discussed about the improper audio files, there can be something wrong with the hardware of the AirPods, to be precise , with that one AirPod which is exceptionally louder or quieter.
If the inner mechanism of the AirPod has been goofed up with, you won’t be able to hear clearly on it and this AirPod at fault will either be oddly louder or quieter than the other.
The hardware of the AirPod can be damaged if there is dirt or earwax blocked up inside it and hasn’t been cleaned for a long time. Also, if it had been wet, there is still moisture locked up on the speaker mesh of the earbuds which is creating these sound issues.
4. Firmware Issues
Apple launches firmware updates from time-to-time to improve the performance of it’s iDevices and provide the capability to the iDevice’s firmware to keep technical bugs at bay.
If the ‘Automatic Update’ feature on your iDevice is turned ‘off’ and no recent update has been installed on it, it will affect the device’s performance and in such a case when an audio is played, it won’t be compatible with the AirPods’ firmware and won’t be heard clearly on the AirPods.
5. No Battery on the AirPod
It is funny and I have personally been a victim of this. It happens very commonly that all this while you have just been worrying about why is my one AirPod quieter than the other and you haven’t even noticed that there is no charge left on this AirPod.
How do you even expect it to be loud when it has just lost its capability to play any audio and is desperately begging to be charged up ? Hilarious, isn’t it !
So, before you just give up on that one tiny piece of AirPod, please check if it needs to be charged. Poor battery on the AirPod(s) is one of the least considered but very common reasons for having one AirPod louder than the other.
Briefly, these are the issues which can totally affect the AirPods performance, leaving them incompatible to deliver clear sound and you’ll be left dealing up with the Left AirPod quieter than right or the other way round.
Are My AirPods Broken?
After you have with you all the reasons which can mess up either the hardware or the software of your AirPods, I have one more word of caution for you.
Before you move ahead and pinch the settings on your AirPods, it is essential for you to identify the faulty one. The AirPod on which the sound isn’t balanced and you hear louder or quieter than the other, please check if it’s broken.
There are ways to alter the audio settings, update software and clean the AirPods of all the debris but there is no way at all to ‘fix’ an AirPod which is now damaged.
How To Fix One AirPod Louder Than The Other
Here, in this section, you’ll find yourself among the easiest and quick troubleshooting techniques to learn how to fix one AirPod being louder than the other.
Also, you’ll stumble upon why is one AirPod quieter than the other and how to make one AirPod louder so that you hear equally loud on both the AirPods and none of the two is quieter than the other.
1. Clean the AirPods and the Charging Case.
The very first and most important way to fix that one oddly quiet or loud AirPod is to clean it, deeply. If dust or earwax has settled themselves on the AirPod, it is bound to mess up with the audio quality and, if it is not considered urgent to clean it, the audio quality on that Airpod can be damaged forever, making it quiet.
In common practice, when it comes to cleaning the AirPods, the users just wipe the dust off from the outer surface of the AirPods using a clean cloth but this does not remove the dust and earwax trapped inside the AirPods.
This accumulated debris is mainly responsible for the incorrect sound delivery. Since the audio isn’t heard loudly enough on one AirPod, it means the sound delivery is blocked on the inside of the AirPod, i.e the speaker mesh of the earpiece.
Since at the moment, the issue at hand is how to make one AirPod louder, this quiet AirPod needs to be cleaned, first. Look ahead to grab a step-by-step instructional guide about how to deep clean your dirty AirPod.
- Grab a clean and dry Microfiber cloth which is lint-free. Pick up the faulty AirPod and wipe out its outer surface gently using the cloth. Be careful while you hold it as it is tiny and slips out easily.
- Now, you’ll begin cleaning the more delicate parts of the AirPod i.e. the speaker mesh. Take the cleaner and spray it on one end of a Q-Tip, or just dip it. Now, softly touch the speaker mesh of the AirPod. Take extra precaution while doing it because if the Q-Tip is dripping any drops of the cleaner, the liquid might get inside the speaker mesh of the AirPod, making the matter worse.
- The above step will soften the earwax and the dirt deposited on the speaker mesh.
- Now, take one toothpick and carefully pick up the softened up earwax and the debris off from the speaker mesh of the AirPod.
- You can even use Blu-Tack, an adhesive, to pull out the debris. You simply have to warm a piece of it between your hands and push it slowly onto the speaker mesh. Pull it out really quickly and you’ll see the debris stuck onto the Blu-Tack, pulled out totally.
- Now, use a paper towel to gently wipe out the speaker mesh after the debris has been picked up.
- Now, let the AirPod dry out completely and refrain from using it till then. Let the clean AirPod rest while keeping the larger part of the speaker facing downwards so that if by chance, a single drop of the cleaner planned to stay on the speaker grille, it should drip out and not depsout itself on the speaker, blocking the sound once again.
It already feels fresh, isn’t it !! So, that’s how you have to clean that dirty AirPod, the faulty one. Take some spare time out and repeat the same process on other Airpod as well, along with the Charging Case so that by the time you have made one AirPod louder, the other one shouldn’t go quieter by accumulating dust on it.
After the AirPod is dry, now plug in both the AirPods and play an audio. If the sound is equally loud on both the AirPods, it was the dust which had made the AirPod quiet but if unfortunately, if still one AirPod is quieter than the other, look forward to the next fix, altering the settings on your phone.
2. Adjust the Audio Balance on your phone.
Now that you have cleaned your AirPods deeply but still one AirPod is louder than the other, you’ll have to adjust the audio settings on your phone.
Check out the steps mentioned below to adjust the audio settings :
- Go to Settings and tap on Accessibility.
- Now, tap on Audio/Visual. The slider should be settled in the middle, not towards either Right or Left.
If the slider isn’t settled in the middle and is more towards the Right, then you’ll keep questioning why is my right AirPod louder than my left. So, to keep loud and clear volume on both the AirPods, fix the slider in the middle, exactly between the Left and the Right.
Now, try listening to audio on your phone. If nothing got better and you are still stuck on why is one AirPod quieter than the other, proceed ahead to learn how to make one AirPod louder by resetting other settings on your phone.
3. Calibrate the Volume on AirPods.
‘To Calibrate’ means to ‘bring together in-sync’. Sometimes, your phone and the AirPods might go out-of-sync which results in the volume louder or quieter on one of them.
The quick way is to calibrate your device and the AirPods to boost up the sound’s volume so that an audio when played on the device, sound well in-sync on both the earpieces. You have the steps given below to help calibrate the iOS device and the AirPods.
- Play audio/ music by having the AirPods connected to the device.
- Then, press and hold the button ‘Volume Down’ to take the volume all the way down till it’s mute.
- Now, swipe down on the top-right corner of your iOS device and the Control Centre will show up. Then, tap on the Bluetooth icon to turn ‘off’ the bluetooth. Your AirPods will be disconnected for now.
- Now, swipe up to exit the Control Centre. Get back to playing the music. Now, the audio should be heard from the phone’s speakers.
- Once again, press and hold the volume down button to mute the playback entirely.
- Now, swipe up again to open the Control Centre and tap on the Bluetooth icon.
- Keep holding onto the Bluetooth icon till a list of nearby connected devices shows up.
- From the list, tap on your AirPods to connect them once again to the device.
Your iOS device and the AirPods have now been calibrated and the audio when played now, should play equally loud on both the AirPods.
If calibrating both of them didn’t work for you, I’ll guide you to reset the bluetooth connection itself in the next step.
4. Reset Bluetooth on your iPhone.
It’s time to completely reset the Bluetooth connection on your phone if cleaning them and balancing the audio slider didn’t work.
Steps to reset the Bluetooth Connection :
- Go to Settings on your phone and click on Bluetooth.
- Tap on Bluetooth to turn it ‘off’ and wait for some 20 seconds.
- Now, tap again and turn it ‘on’.
- Now, tap on your AirPods from the list of connected devices to connect them again.
Now, plug them back in again and listen to the audio. At times, establishing a fresh connection helps in connectivity and if the sound was imbalanced due to improper connectivity, this step would fix it.
If this doesn’t work out, you’ll have to lighten up the bluetooth connection by disconnecting all the extra devices which are not in use at the moment. This takes you to my next point where you’ll learn how and why to disconnect the extra devices connected to the Bluetooth of your phone.
5. Turn off Nearby Devices.
If you look closely at the picture shown above, you’ll find a lot more devices connected to your phone than just your pair of AirPods.
While resetting the Bluetooth connection, it is also essential to lighten the burden on its signals and disconnect the devices which are just connected but not actively used.
While you disconnect them, also power them ‘off’ , means, turn them ‘off’ so that when you switch the Bluetooth once again, they don’t get connected automatically, making you disconnect each one once again.
Too many extra devices connected are responsible for interfering with the connection you desire on your one device where you want to hear the audio, making the desired device pause abruptly in between. Explore the steps given below to disconnect devices on your iPhone.
- Open the Settings and tap on Bluetooth.
- Scan the list of devices and identify the ones you wish to disconnect.
- Next to that device’s name, there will be an info ‘i’ icon.
- Tap on it and click on ‘Forget this device’.
Repeat this process with each device you wish to disconnect and let only your AirPods be connected to the Bluetooth for a while.
Now, play an audio and see if the situation improved. If the answer is positive, it means there was an inference with the connection and now, it’s sorted.
If the issue still persists, it means, you need to further check upon your phone’s settings and reset them.
6. Update iPhone’s Software.
Apple is always active to update software on its devices and keeps launching updates timely. While you have been toggling with the phone’s settings, you also must check if there is any pending update which has been creating these sound oddities on the AirPods when listening to an audio.
“Outdated or old software is undoubtedly responsible for erring with the phone’s bluetooth connection and can be a potential reason for keeping one AirPod louder than the other.”
Learn the steps below about how to update software on iPhone and for future, I recommend keeping ‘Automatic Updates’ turned ‘on’ on you device so that you won’t have to check up on them separately.
- Click on Settings on your phone and tap on General.
- You’ll see Software Update, on the top. Click on Automatic update.
- Now, tap on Download iOS Updates.
- After the download finishes up, tap on ‘Install iOS updates’.
It is crucial for the phone to run on the latest software so that no such issues occur and disrupt the audio experience.
There are a few more indispensable features which Apple has on its devices like ‘Ear detection’ and ‘Noise Cancellation’ which also you must stop by in the quest to unleash how to make one AirPod louder.
7. Turn Off Automatic Ear Detection.
The AirPods come built-up with the technology of sensing when they are plugged in your ear which is called ‘Automatic Ear Detection’ on iDevices.
No doubt it is an extremely desirable feature but even a slight problem with this feature, it will lead to sound-cut and impartial delivery of sound on the AirPods, causing one AirPod louder than the other.
In the current situation, I would simply recommend turning this feature ‘off’ and then, try listening to an audio. I must warn you that even if ear detection is turned ‘off’, when you’ll play the audio, it will keep playing even if you plug the AirPods out as they cannot sense whether they are inside or outside the ears, so , pause the music when you must otherwise the AirPods will keep consuming battery and will die fast.
To turn this feature ‘off, mark the steps mentioned below :
- Go to Settings on your phone and tap on Bluetooth.
- Tap on the info ‘i’ icon next to your AirPods’ name.
- You’ll find this option ‘Automatic Ear Detection’ there. Tap on it to turn ‘off’.
See if the issue was resolved or not. If it’s still the same, move on to the next step.
8. Charge the AirPods.
If you have been using your AirPods with a less battery ( say 10% or less), they will not function to the best of their capability and the sound delivered will either be muffled or will keep pausing in between the audio.
Making this a habit to use the AirPods on less battery affects the functionality of the AirPods’ microphone and can shorten the battery life permanently.
So, make this a duly habit to charge your AirPods before they pass out totally. This will not only keep your AirPods fully charged up but also will ventilate your ears by giving them a break from the AirPods. Wearing AirPods excessively not only damages their battery but can also hurt your ears.
9. Restart your iPhone.
Restarting your iPhone holds the proficiency to fix minor software issues, if any. As I mentioned in the first part of this article, ‘software issues’ hold the power to disturb functions of your phone and the one at hand right now is quite a potential one as it still hasn’t been resolved by resetting the bluetooth settings and cleaning them up.
A quick restart will softly reset the phone and might save you from the next step which is going for a deep ‘reset’ of all of the phone’s settings because that would be a mandatory step to figure out how to make one AirPod louder.
10. Reset the AirPods.
After your AirPods have been re-connected to the phone’s bluetooth connection but the sound hasn’t gotten any better on the quiet AirPods so in the quest of how to make one AirPod louder, you must reset them entirely to remove the bugs from the base.
It’s an easy process but a bit more involved than just re-connecting to the Bluetooth. Learn by the steps mentioned below about how to reset your AirPods.
Steps :How to remove AirPods from the list of connected devices :
- Click on Settings once again and tap on Bluetooth.
- Next to the AirPods’ name, click on the info ‘i’ icon.
- Tap on ‘Forget this device’.
Now, wait for some 20 seconds before you jump onto the next step.
Steps :How to re-pair them again to your device :
- Keep the Bluetooth ‘on’ on your phone.
- Open the Charging Case’s lid and keep the AirPods back in it.
- Now, press and hold the Set-Up button at the back of the Case till the status light begins to blink ‘white’.
- Keep the Case close to your phone and your AirPods will pop up on the phone’s screen.
- Tap on ‘Connect’.
Now that your AirPods are connected to your phone, it’s a basic fresh connection. This should make the quiet AirPod louder.
If unfortunately you are at the last step, hold still onto the hope. The next step is the most acknowledged one and will most definitely boost up the volume on the quiet AirPod.
11. Reset all the Settings.
This is the last step I could gather when it comes to making one AirPod louder than the other. Here, you’ll be re-setting all the settings on your phone by one click which is actually a very potential way to fix any leftover software bugs which have still held onto the issue and have debarred it from getting fixed up.
Apply these given steps to reset all the settings on your phone:
- Click on Settings and then on General.
- In General, tap on the ‘Reset’ option and select ‘Reset All Settings.’
- You’ll be asked to enter your phone’s passcode. Enter the passcode.
- Tap once again on the option ‘Reset All Settings’.
- Once the resetting begins, the progress bar will be shown.
- Once the settings are reset, the phone will restart on its own.
Wait, here is one piece of advice for my Airpod-ers !! Don’t opt for ‘Erase all content on the device’ if you haven’t backed up your data on iCloud.
Make it a habit to back-up your data on iCloud regularly so that if any dismal day, you have to fix your AirPods or the device by resetting the device, none of your dear picture or saved password gets flushed out.
Now, just tell me, it just happened !! Fingers crossed, I hope the issue just bid you good-bye and both your AirPods are back on the track with loud volume. I know it was an exhaustive process but anything for the AirPods, isn’t it !!!
If anyone still feels miserable out there and is holding up that one hapless AirPod which just didn’t speak loud enough even now, there are a few additional troubleshooting tips for you. There is no way I can leave you behind the eight ball, have I ever !! So, don’t be vexed and read further.
Alternative Tips To Fix AirPods When One Of The AirPod Is Quieter Than The Other
If despite all the troubleshooting techniques above, the sound on one of your AirPods is still low, explore these two additional tips to fix this issue. Never know when all hopes are lost, a lesser conventional method might prove lucky !!
1. Test your Hearing.
No, I just didn’t call you ‘deaf’ !! No, not at all !! I simply mean that why not confirm that the issue lies with the device or the AirPod only, not at your end.
It takes a simple ‘Hearing Test’ to confirm it. You can even ask a dear friend of yours to plug in your AirPods and then try to listen to the sound on them. If the issue remains the same at their end too, it means the AirPods are in an unrepairable situation now. In such a case, the next step will assist you i.e taking them back to their parent body, Apple !!
You can surely consult a professional or use the easy and simple third-party apps like Mimi-Hearing test ( as illustrated above) which quickly assesses the hearing capabilities and accordingly, prescribes audio-settings so that you experience the best of audio on your AirPods.
Based on the test’s results, you can choose to improvise your hearing capabilities either by using hearing aids or implants. Even a small bit of infection in your ear like Otitis Externa or Necrosis can affect your hearing and block you from hearing sound clearly.
So, use very clean AirPods and remove the built-up junk of earwax and debris regularly from your ears and the AirPods.
2. Contact Apple Support
When all is said and done but the situation is still gloomy, it means your AirPods have incurred a deep damage and can only be repaired at Apple.
Apple is always active to lend support to its users when such issues occur which are beyond repair. You can register a complaint online about your faulty AirPods by using the steps given below :
- Go to Apple’s Support and click on your product i.e the AirPods.
- On the AirPods’ Support page, click on Audio and Sound.
- Click on ‘Continue’ to explore the support options. You can either choose to chat or place a request for a technician to call.
- Once you submit your request, you’ll receive a Repair ID which you must keep with you to track the status of the request placed.
If you wish to investigate personally, you can visit an authorised Apple Store. If luckily your AirPods aren’t very old and are still covered under the one-year warranty, you can get repaired or replaced for free.
So, this way, even if your AirPods were adamant enough to ignore all the settings practised on the connecting device, you can get them working by taking them back to Apple and getting them repaired.
I simply desire that if my readers have taken their precious time out to literally try out the troubleshooting techniques that I pour out, their issues should be resolved by whichever means. Either I’ll solve it for you or will guide you to the best possible replacement service.
So, with hope, I sign off here with advice that keeps your AirPods in good shape and you keep dancing to their music.
Q1. Why are my AirPods louder on one side ?
Answer – If the audio played on your AirPods sounds louder on one side, then there is something wrong with the Audio balance settings. If the Audio balance is set from left to right or vice-versa, then the audio will sound louder on the side where the balance is set and it can be frustrating. To learn the fixes of these issues, refer to my article above and learn how to balance the Audio settings on your device so that both the AirPods have a balanced audio delivery and you can hear audio loudly on both the earpieces.
Q2. Why does my left AirPod sound muffled ?
Answer – If one of your AirPod sounds muffled, it means that the junk has built up inside the speaker mesh of the earpiece and has blocked it. To fix such an issue, grab a dry, clean lint-free piece of cloth and gently wipe out the debris, be it dust or earwax, from the AirPod. That should help you get rid of the muffled sound and deliver the clearest possible audios on your AirPod.
Q3. Are my AirPods waterproof ?
Answer – To be honest, the AirPods are not waterproof. It is not advisable to go swimming wearing them or taking a shower. If still by chance, you have got your AirPods wet, you need to dry them as soon as possible otherwise the moisture on the speaker grilles can damage them and your AirPods will be irreparable, then. So, avoid using them while you are swimming or anywhere when there are chances of getting the AirPods wet.
Q4. Does putting AirPods in rice work ?
Answer – If after all the precautions, your AirPods still managed to get wet, the best way to make them dry is to leave them in a clean, dry spot with gentle flow of air. Regardless of the claims, I would advise not to put your AirPods in a bag of rice to make them dry. This doesn’t dry them out; rather, if even a grain of rice manages to sneak into the holes of the AirPods, it will further damage them and will be impossible to take them out of the fragile fibre of the speaker mesh of the Airpods.
Q5. How should I deep clean my AirPods ?
Answer – For ensuring that your AirPods are clean deeply, I recommend using a piece of Blu-Tack, or an adhesive of similar kind and warm it up using your hands. Gently, push the piece of Blu-Tack into the speaker mesh of the earbuds and quickly pull it out. Repeat this process once again till you see all the debris pulled out of the earpieces. Afterwards, wipe out your AirPods very gently using a clean soft cloth dipped in distilled water. This way, you’ll leave your AirPods very clean and smelling fresh.
The Last Words :
The way AirPods deliver sound-per-sound audio and bring Siri into your life, is undoubtedly magical. When AirPods are purchased, they are roasted to the best of thor functions but if their up-keep is side lined, they’ll pinch you back by either playing dumb or tossing the volume left and right on either of the earpieces.
If you really value your money and hold the AirPods dearer to your heart, Remember the 2 C’s – Clean and Charge, without any excuse. These two basic and easy habits, if practised, will keep most of the issues on the Airpods at a sleeve’s length and the AirPods will never ditch you when you want to listen to your favourite track.
So, with a relief that your AirPods have found a way back to the audio and are booming loudly with the volume, I hold myself back here. Let me know in the comments section which technique worked out the fastest for you. Till then, enjoy music and take care !
As an engineering graduate (and a full-time layabout), I am always looking for smart technological innovations to make my life simpler and more automated so that I can be even lazier than usual.