How to make your headphones louder in 7 different ways

  • You can make your headphones louder in a handful of ways — from adjusting your device or app volume settings to basic headphones maintenance. 
  • Sometimes you may need to disabled sound limiting features or download a volume boosting app to make your headphones louder. 
  • Purchasing good headphones with strong song quality is your best bet for a clear and comfortable listening experience. 
  • Playing music through your headphones at a high volume can cause hearing damage, so use caution when trying to make your headphones louder. 
  • Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Headphones are often chosen based on the wearer's particular lifestyle or music preferences. But whether you're a casual, passionate, or even professional music listener, you know the importance of having high-quality sound — and how the right headphones and volume settings are crucial to achieving this. 

But daily wear and tear, app and desktop settings, and more can diminish your volume and listening quality. To once again achieve your perfect listening experience, you may need to make some adjustments. However, it should be noted that 85 decibels for a maximum of eight hours a day is considered a safe range for listening to audio.

How to make your headphones louder

Here are seven ways you can turn up the volume on your headphones. 

 

Clean your headphones

You can easily overlook some of the most straightforward solutions. If you use your headphones often, there's a big chance they'll accumulate dust and ear wax buildup. Cotton swabs, alcohol wipes, or a small cloth are a couple of things that can help prolong their lifespan and sound quality. 

Gently remove and wipe down the outer earpads with an alcohol wipe. As they air dry, take a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and clean the crevices. Dab a small cloth or an alcohol wipe gently against the mesh to sanitize and remove any lingering dirt or wax. Be sure to let both sections dry before reassembling.

For wireless earbuds, use a small toothbrush or slightly damp cotton swab and lightly brush the earbuds' mesh until it's free of dirt. If there are silicon tips at the end of the buds, remove them and let them soak in soapy water for three to five minutes.

Boost the volume in your music app

Playback can sound different depending on what streaming platform or app you're using, as each has its own set of default preferences. But you can manage your favorite streaming music app's built-in volume settings. You just have to know how to access them to boost your sound volume. 

On Spotify, you can tap into the app's Equalizer settings and get bass boosts or a surround sound experience, both of which can increase the volume on your headphones. You can go into the Advanced settings menu and toggle on the Higher Quality Audio feature on the Pandora app, though you might experience some music skipping as a result. 

Tidal users can turn on Enable Normalization and adjust the sound settings. To do this, access the Settings menu from the My Collection tab before selecting Loudness Normalization. After tapping Enable Normalization, drag the Pre-amp slider to the right to increase the volume at which the "loudness" will normalize.  

Use a volume boosting app

Created solely to help boost your audio output, these apps work with your phone's built-in audio tools to override its maximum setting. They can be found in the Apple Store and Google Play Store, and both are relatively simple to set up. Just remember that louder audio means the possibility of hearing damage, so be cautious when using these apps. Here's some you can try for iPhone and Android users. 

iPhone

  • Equalizer Pro Volume Booster
  • KaiserTone Audio Player
  • Bass Booster
  • Boom Music

Android

  • Volume Booster Pro
  • Equalizer FX
  • Volume Booster GOODEV
  • MX Player

Adjust your computer's volume and sound settings

Whether it's a Mac or Windows, interfaces can change the output of headphones. 

For Microsoft Windows users, the "Volume Mixer" allows you to set volume settings for individual speakers or headphones. Right-clicking the volume icon or searching "Adjust System Volume" in the Windows Control Panel will open the window to change your sound settings.

To find the sound settings on a Mac, click the apple icon in the top left corner of the desktop, and open System Preferences to locate the Sound menu. From there, a list of output options will show you the volume levels of the connected device you're using. 

If your headphones have a built-in amplifier or volume setting, adjust them first before changing your computer settings. 

Adjust your EQ settings on your phone

Your EQ or equalization settings on your phone are usually "optimized" by the manufacturer for a standard listening experience. On iOS devices, there's a list of different EQ settings that vary depending on the environment or genre. In loud environments, the Late-Night setting gives a significant boost to sound. 

Androids also have EQ settings that you can adjust until you find the kind of sound boost to your headphones you're looking for. The Advanced Sound settings under the Sounds and Vibration menu features the EQ controls for these smartphones. Android offers treble, bass, vocal, and instrumental sound settings to be more precise with your levels. But you can also tweak your decibel levels, and genre pre-sets to get a louder volume. 

Disable volume limitations on your phone

Smartphones can have volume limit tools to help protect your hearing. When it comes to Androids, some have it while others do not. If you're using a Galaxy or any other relevant device, you can go into your Sounds and Vibrations menu, select the Volume option, and then adjust the Media Volume limiter. From here, you can toggle the setting off if a limit was previously set. 

Apple's "Volume Limit" feature also has to be enabled and disabled. Here's how you do it. 

1. Go to the Settings app on your iPhone.

2. Use the search bar or scroll for "Music." 

3. Scroll down to the volume limit.

  • Note: You'll be able to see if "Volume Limit" is on or off.

4. Once disabled, slide the knob to the end to increase volume. 

Apple also created the Sound Check feature that, when enabled, plays your music at a consistent level, regardless of how loud the sound file is. It's only applied to downloaded songs or ones streamed through Apple Music and can be found within the Music menu of the iPhone's settings app. 

Buy a new pair of headphones

If all the other fixes fail, then it might be time for some new headphones. The process can be overwhelming, especially when you start getting into the different specifications and features between brands. But Beats by Dre and Sennheiser offer high-quality wired and wireless earbuds, while Bose and Sony are popular for their noise-canceling headphones. Some research has to be done to find the best fit for your lifestyle.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

  • How to make your iPhone headphones louder in 3 different ways

  • How to make your AirPods louder if they aren't loud enough, or fix any other volume-related issue

  • How to make your Android device louder in 4 ways, from changing its settings to sticking it in a bowl

  • How to properly clean your Samsung Galaxy Buds without damaging them

  • 'What is Sound Check on an iPhone?': How to protect your ears from downloaded songs with higher volume

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