Why Is One AirPod Louder Than The Other? 

AirPods are a great way to make your listening experience better. These connect with your iPhone and other Apple products wirelessly and switch between them seamlessly. AirPods also sound extremely good, and the noise cancellation on the AirPods makes a massive difference when in loud environments. However, like any other technology, the AirPods also have some issues.

One of the most common issues is where one AirPod gets louder than the other. This usually happens due to a bug or a glitch but can be due to other reasons. Nevertheless, this hampers the listening experience a lot. Don’t worry; we will share some methods to fix this issue and how you can prevent it from happening. Let’s get started.

Why Is One AirPod Louder Than The Other? 

Common Reasons For One AirPod Louder Than The Other

Before we get to troubleshooting the issue, let’s understand why exactly the issue is happening on your AirPods. The pair of AirPods are always synced, both volume and sound delivery, but they can change paths due to the following reasons:

  1. Audio Channel Imbalance: Audio signals are transmitted independently to each AirPod, leading to potential variations in volume.
  2. Ear Wax and Debris Buildup: Ear wax and debris can accumulate over time, leading to blockages in the AirPods’ sound output and thus creating an imbalance between the pair.
  3. Hardware and Software Issues: Hardware or software malfunctions can cause audio imbalance. Issues such as damaged speaker units, faulty wiring, or software glitches could affect sound distribution between the two AirPods.
  4. Connectivity and Bluetooth Interference: A poor Bluetooth connection will impact the sound output since AirPods are connected to your device via Bluetooth. Things like wireless interference, signal strength, or pairing inconsistencies are some of the common issues causing the volume balance.
  5. User Settings and Audio Adjustments: Sometimes, the user settings and configurations could be causing the audio imbalance. These adjustments can be accidental or intentional, causing one AirPod to sound louder than the other.

How to Fix One AirPod Louder than the Other?

When one of your AirPods is louder than the other, you can follow certain troubleshooting steps to fix the issue. Whether the issue is due to debris, software, or connectivity issues, each has a fix. We have compiled a list of working solutions you can try when one AirPod is louder than the other. Follow along.

Fix 1: Reset the AirPods

To begin troubleshooting, try resetting your AirPods to resolve any software glitches causing the volume imbalance. This is a basic troubleshooting step that you should carry out whenever you face any issues with your AirPods. Here’s how to reset your AirPods:

  1. Place your AirPods in the charging case and close them in.
  2. Wait for 30 seconds and open the lid.
  3. Take your AirPods out and put them into your ears.
  4. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Bluetooth.
  5. Find your AirPods in the list and tap the “i” icon next to them.
  6. Tap “Forget This Device” and confirm.
  7. Put your AirPods back in the charging case with the lid open.
  8. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case for 15 seconds until the light flashes.
  9. Reconnect your AirPods by bringing them close to your iPhone/iPad and follow the on-screen instructions.
  10. Once you reset your AirPods, try using them again and see if one still sounds louder than the other.

Fix 2: Clean your AirPods

Over time, ear wax and debris can accumulate on your AirPods’ grills which blocks the sound from exiting the AirPods properly. If one of the AirPods has ear wax or debris accumulated, it won’t sound as loud as the other one. This means that the AirPod that is sounding loud is mostly clean. However, the one that isn’t sounding as loud has accumulated debris.

Fixing this is simple; clean your AirPods. Remove any earwax or debris buildup that may be blocking the sound output of your AirPods. You can use a cotton swab or soft material to remove the ear wax. You can also use rubbing alcohol for much better cleaning. If you have AirPods Pro, remove the silicon tips before cleaning.

Once you have cleaned up both AirPods, it’s time to test them out. Put them in your ears and see if the sound is still imbalanced. If yes, move on to the next step.

Fix 3: Check the Audio File

Sometimes, the issue may be with the audio file you are trying to play on your AirPods. The audio may be tuned so that the volume is higher on one side and lower on the other. This can be done deliberately or accidentally when the file gets corrupted.

To ensure this is the issue, try playing some other audio file or taking a call. This will ensure the audio file is corrupted and your AirPods are completely fine. If the volume imbalance issue persists, then the audio file is fine. Move down to the next step.

Fix 4: Adjust the Sound Balance

Apple allows you to adjust the volume of each AirPod independently using the device’s sound balance function. Those with trouble hearing in just one ear can benefit tremendously. Accidentally tweaking these settings, though, could result in one AirPod being noticeably louder than the other. Follow these steps to adjust the sound balance and fix the problem:

  1. Go into your iPhone’s Settings.
  2. Go to Accessibility > Audio/Visual.
  3. You can change the left/right AirPod volume difference using the slider in Audio/Visual Accessibility.
  4. If you want to make sure that both of your AirPods are playing at the same volume, you should position the slider exactly in the middle. In any case, it’s adaptable to your individual hearing needs.
  5. Once you have set the right sound balance, your AirPods should sound balanced. If the problem persists, move down to the next step.

Fix 5: Check for Firmware Updates

It is important to keep your AirPods’ firmware up to date to ensure they are running the latest software, which can address any known audio-related issues. Here’s how to use your iPhone to look for firmware updates and install them:

  1. Now, go into your iPhone’s Settings.
  2. Tap on Bluetooth.
  3. Find your AirPods in the list and tap the “i” icon next to them.
  4. Scroll down and tap on About. Here, you can check the firmware version of your AirPods.
  5. It will notify you to update if there is one available. Before beginning the upgrade process, check the status of your AirPods’ connection and battery life.

At the time of writing of this article, the latest firmware versions for different AirPods are as follows.

  • AirPods Pro (2nd generation): 5E135
  • AirPods Pro (1st generation): 5E135
  • AirPods (2nd and 3rd generation): 5E135
  • AirPods Max: 5E135
  • AirPods (1st generation): 6.8.8

Fix 6: Wear your AirPods Pro Fit and Tight (AirPods Pro Only)

It is highly important to wear your AirPods properly and ensure that they fit in your ears. If you are wearing one of the AirPods properly and the other loosely, you may experience a louder volume on one of them. To ensure that you have the best fit, you can use the built-in Ear Tip Fit Test. Here’s how:

  1. First, wear your AirPods.
  2. Now, go into your iPhone’s Settings.
  3. Tap on Bluetooth.
  4. Find your AirPods in the list and tap the “i” icon next to them.
  5. Tap on Ear Tip Fit Test. Make sure your iPhone or iPad is running on iOS 13.2 or later.
  6. Tap Continue.
  7. Now, tap the Play button, and you should hear a sound.
  8. Based on the test, it will recommend you adjust AirPods or change the ear tips.
  9. Once you have made the adjustments, try listening to something again. Your AirPods should now sound balanced.

Fix 7: Restart the Audio Source

If one AirPod is still noticeably louder than the other, try rebooting the device or application serving as the audio source. This can help resolve temporary software glitches that can sometimes cause volume imbalances. Instructions for restarting are device-specific. For those of you with an iPhone, here are the steps:

  1. Hold the power button and either of the volume buttons on your iPhone at the same time.
  2. To power down your device, simply drag the slider to the off position.
  3. After around 10 seconds, press and hold the power button to turn on the device.
  4. After powering back up, listen to see whether the AirPods are more evenly balanced now. If not, continue with the troubleshooting.

Fix 8: Reset All Settings

If all else fails, try resetting your device’s settings to default, as customized settings could inadvertently cause audio imbalances. It is important to note that resetting your device settings will delete all your configured settings, saved VPNs, Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices. So, if you are ready with that, here are the steps to reset your iPhone’s settings:

  1. Go into your iPhone’s Settings.
  2. Now go to General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  3. Then, tap on Reset.
  4. Tap on Reset All Settings. Enter your iPhone’s password or passcode if prompted.
  5. Tap on Reset All Settings to confirm the action.
  6. Restart your iPhone and connect your AirPods again. Now wear your AirPods and try listening to something and see if the issue has disappeared.

Fix 9: Check Your Hearing

Sometimes, the issue might be with your hearing. Try giving your AirPods to someone else and ask them to check if the audio is imbalanced. If they say it’s not, then there must be a problem with your hearing. This could be due to listening to music at a high volume for a long period of time. Consider getting your hearing checked, as an underlying hearing issue may affect your perception of volume balance.

Fix 10: Contact Apple Support

If the issue with your AirPods still persists after trying the aforementioned solutions, you may want to contact Apple for further assistance. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Click on the “See all products” link on the Apple Support website.
  2. Choose AirPods from the list of Apple products.
  3. To find help with sound and music, select the “Audio & Sound” tab.
  4. Then, click “Continue” to access the list of help topics. If you can’t find an article that addresses your problem, you can always start a live chat or give Apple’s technical support a call.
  5. Chat with an Apple support representative who can answer your questions.

If your AirPods require service, you may be instructed to send them in over the mail or take them to an Apple Authorized Service Provider in your area. It’s possible to get a free replacement or repair of your AirPods if they’re still inside Apple’s One-Year Limited Warranty or AppleCare+. If that’s not the case, you may be subject to an out-of-warranty service charge.

Preventive Measures

You can take a couple of preventive measures to make sure such an issue doesn’t repeat in the future. Here are some tips to try:

  1. Regular Cleaning: Clean AirPods and charging case to remove dirt and earwax buildup.
  2. Use Protective Cases: Invest in a protective case to prevent physical damage.
  3. Adopt Proper Usage Habits: Handle AirPods with care and ensure a proper fit in your ears.
  4. Update Firmware: Keep AirPods’ firmware up to date for performance improvements and bug fixes.
  5. Avoid Excessive Volume Levels: Listen to your AirPods at moderate volume levels to prevent potential damage to the speakers, which can lead to imbalances.

Final Words

AirPods are a great way to make your listening experience better. However, one of the AirPods can get louder due to the collection of dust and debris, hardware issues and software glitches. We hope that you have successfully followed all the fixes mentioned in this guide and that your AirPods now sound balanced. If you are still facing the issue, you should seek professional help or contact Apple support. Finally, if you have any further questions, let us know in the comments section below.

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