Muffled Headphones|Go-To Guidelines For Fixing

It has to happen to you even once that you put in a lot of money on a top quality headphone and yet somehow they appear to sound muffled. You read all the reviews and yet you cannot seem to agree with them that these headphones have great sound clarity. This is a common occurrence for frequent headphone buyers, especially those keen on trying all kinds of brands. Let us find out the real reasons behind them and see if we can find a solution to them.

Why do my headphones sound too quiet?

Many a times we buy a headphone from the market or online and they somehow sound a little too quiet. In such cases this happens mostly because of the power. The problems with older headphones are that they require more power than your smartphone can conjure up to. This results in the headphones sounding low and muffled.

Another common reason for the same would be the mismatch of impedance. For the uninitiated ones, all electrical circuits including that of headphones have a tendency to resist current. Earlier it used to be that headphones having high resistance to current flow would usually provide less distorted sound. High end headphones used to flaunt this feature mostly. They would require more power or an amplifier to make this work. Modern day headphones are more efficient in terms of power consumption and hence thus problem has become a lot scarcer.

How to know the impedance of your headphones?

  • Visit the specifications pages of the concerned headphone.
  • Search for the impedance specifications and note the number marked against the Ω symbol.
  • The larger that number is the more capacity it has to resist current and the more muffled it can get with similar output.
  • The impedance range of most headphones that are designed for smartphone usage is 16-32 Ω. This range is very easy for your smartphone to handle.

How to fix the issue of muffled headphones?

  • First ensure that your headphones aren’t broken entirely. The best way to do that is by trying it out with different smartphones and checking for the consistency of the sound. If the sound level remains similar for all varieties of smartphones then you probably have a broken headphone.
  • If you find that the sound clarity is appearing different for other smartphones you may have a cure for that. The most common cure is getting an amp for your headphones.
  • A number of portable amplifiers are available online as well as offline.
  • Get yourself a portable amp such as the FiiO A1.
  • One thing to ensure is that the output impedance of the amplifier must be 1/8 th of the impedance marked against your headphone.

What if only one side of my headphone is sounding muffled?

There is an old trick that usually works and if your headphones are not extraordinarily expensive then it is worth a shot. Dip the muffled sound side of the headphone in hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes while playing loud music on it. And remember to dry it using a Kleenex or similar absorbent after dunking it inside the liquid.

Why does the volume of my headphone keep going down automatically?

  • The common answer to this problem might be headphone compatibility. Most people aren’t aware that that a standard headphone set uses a 3.5mm plug aided with three connections which are commonly referred to as the TRS. One carries the sound t the left, one to the right and the other makes the ground connection. On most smartphones the jack adds a 4th connection for carrying signal from the in-built mic and control buttons. This type of plugs is called TRRS. On the basis of this headphone and phone combination an electrical difference can be caused resulting in the phone to perceive a volume down signal from your headphone when it actually hasn’t.
  • Also make sure that the phone case you are using doesn’t physically impinge the volume down at times causing the volume to go down. Phone holders in vehicles are known to cause such problems.
  • Many phones are also programmed to automatically decrease the volume when it deems it to be harmful for your hearing. You can bypass it from the settings but it gets automatically enacted every 24 hours. So that might be the problem for you as well.

Consolidated problem and solution table

Headphone sounding quietCheck impedance and add amp if required
One headphone sounding muffledDip it in Hydrogen peroxide while turned ON and dry using Kleenex
Volume automatically turning downCheck headphone and phone compatibility, get rid of impinging cases.