How to Make Your Headphones (Much) Louder

by Matthew David | Updated: 08/23/2020

Are you exasperated because your headphones sound too soft? Tell me about it. Whether I am working on some audio-based work, or even settle down to listen to my favorite music, listening to my shy headphones puts me off the mood.

As time passes, headphones lose strength in their volume. They may have sounded great initially, but it’s not unusual to face this problem with worn-out headphones. You may also see this problem with a new pair of headphones whose volume intensity is not too much. Trust me; I understand how frustrating it is to be limited by your headphone volume.

This is where I step in. For all those of you who use headphones for studio work, video games, watching movies, listening to playlists, etc., and want to add a little boost, I am here to help you. You do not have to ditch your existing headphones and move on to new ones. In this article, I have listed some ways you can make your headphones louder and enjoy a more fulfilling sound experience.

Read further on how to increase your headphone volume and make sure to try them!

Tips to Make Your Headphones Louder

1. Do some cleaning

Seeing the word ‘cleaning’ may have had you roll your eyes but give me a chance. Something as simple as cleaning your headphones out is all you need to do to make them sound like how they used to.

The heat that headphones cause in your ear canal leads to the production of a significant amount of oil and wax. This may get to your headphones and ultimately block the mesh screens. This accumulation also makes your ears more susceptible to bacterial growth.

You can clean them first by removing the ear tips and soaking them in warm, soap water for a couple of minutes. You can use cotton buds or Q-tips to clean the inner parts of your ear tips to remove all sorts of wax or dust accumulation. You can finish off by using hydrogen peroxide on a suitable piece of cloth and let them sit to dry.

You can also clear your earbuds by using a dry toothbrush to gently scrub the mesh screens to get rid of potential debris build-up. Make sure not to wipe the mesh screens off with a wet cloth.

After they finish drying, reassemble the parts of your headphones.

I recommend cleaning your headphones regularly to avoid wax, dust, or oil build-up in your headphones. As suggested above, try cleaning your headphones and see the difference it makes.

2. Pay attention to the volume limit

Another simple tip: remove the volume limit on your headphones. Keep in mind not to damage your ears in the process. Find out what the threshold is depending on your where you are living. As far as I know, the volume limit if 120 dB in the United States and 85 dB in  Europe. Keeping in mind what the volume limit is in your country, you can tamper with the thresholds accordingly.

3. Jazz it up with a headphone amplifier

If you think about it, headphones are simply speakers. Similar to home speakers, you can pair your headphones with a high-quality amplifier to make your headphone volume reach full potential. Using an amplifier for your headphones will not only significantly increase its volume but also increase the dynamic range, clarity, and detail of your music.

Depending on the dimensions of your headphones, you can decide whether or not you need an amplifier for it. In the case of most over-ear and on-ear headphones, you are highly likely to achieve good results with the addition of an amp. The significant limiting factor that you face with smaller headphones is the space. This will require you to invest in a smaller amp and, consequently, not the best volume output. If you have bigger headphones, you can invest in bigger amps to get maximum volume output.

If your headphone is underpowered, the audio quality and volume output will mostly be limited. At the highest volume, you will hear sound distortion. You will not hear the expected volume output when you raise it to its maximum limit.

If you are willing to buy an external device, then you must invest in a headphone amp. A headphones amplifier will take your overall audio quality to another level. Keep in mind that the headphone amplifier may not always work for different cases. If you are facing a problem with high-quality over-hear headphones, it is a safe option for you to try out. I assume that if you are using earbuds, they are offering you maximum volume output as it is.

If you have over-ear headphones and you want to see what amp could work for you, you should pay attention to the impedance ratings on your headphones. Lower the impedance, the more comfortable it is to drive the drivers. Higher impedance headphones, let’s say about 300 ohms, are going to require a bigger boost to move the driver. This is common in planar magnetic headphones that have become increasingly popular recently. If you have a pair of headphones with lower impedance ratings, I am talking about 20-25 ohms; a headphone amp is most likely not to contribute much.

What is the correct time to buy a headphone amp?

Headphone amplifiers may not always be a sure-shot solution. As we discussed above, the headphone amplifier comes into play when your power source is not big enough to meet your headphone requirements. You generally come across this situation with over-hear headphones. In-ear headphones possess typically enough power to meet the requirements of your headphones.

Read also – Headphones Buyer’s Guide

4. Tweak the playback or EQ settings

You can play around with your settings, depending on the device you are playing your soundtracks on. This way, you could potentially find a setting that will provide you maximum volume output on your device. Several people that face volume problems on their headphones do not realize that it may be due to simple configuration errors in their equipment that dramatically limits the volume.

Here are some ways you can adjust this:

On Apple devices, select “Music” on the main settings menu and scroll down until you see a “Playback” option. Here, you will see a “Volume Limit” option where you can adjust the setting to maximum volume. You should try this because if you are facing volume problems with your headphones, there is a high chance that it could be due to a low volume limit.

Now for Androids, the setting is pretty similar. First, go to your settings. There, you will find a “select’ option. Then choose “Sounds” and then “Volume.” You will be able to see all your volume settings that function for different aspects of your device. Make the necessary adjustments in the “media” settings.

You can also try to change the EQ settings that you can do on your phone itself. You will see that sometimes the manufacturer optimizes the settings, and they are mostly set at ‘default.’ If these settings do not suit your personal preference, you can mess around with them until you find something that is perfect for you.

5. Try out Volume Boosting Apps

If your headphones still sound super soft, try some volume-boosting apps. Regardless of whether you are working on Windows, Android, or iPhone,  there are always volume-boosting apps that you can try out. You can give your volume output a significant boost by using these apps. They are easy to use and can be super effective as well.

Check the App Store or Play Store, depending on your device. Scroll through the available apps and pick the one that has the best reviews. Since the reviews keep changing and new apps are coming into the market, I am not going to suggest anything in specific. Research your best options in your respective store.

6. Reduce background noises

If you are still facing a problem with the volume output of your headphones, it could be related to external factors such as background noises. Your headphones may not offer the best isolation letting external noises interfere with its volume output.

Places like public transport, restaurants, and gyms are where you are bound to face most disturbance. You have probably seen people with their headphone volume so loud that you can listen to their audio.

Many over-ear headphones have excellent sound isolation. But the in-ear models are what have a problem with offering decent isolation. You will have to increase the volume to uncomfortable levels just to hear your audio. You are prone to causing severe damage to your ears with these too.

If you generally listen to your tracks in loud environments, you must invest in good sound-isolating headphones. Poor sound isolation will force you to increase the volume to a maximum level and, again, inevitably be harmful to your ears.

You can face low-quality sound isolation due to poor design,  improper fit, and the type of headphones itself. As mentioned above, in-ear headphones can isolate sound, but it is not as good as the over-ear headphones. They are most likely to leak noise and make your audio sound faint.

The best way to tackle this problem is to have active-noise cancellation in your headphones. Even though it is kind of a pricey option, it is undoubtedly worth the investment.

Read also – IEMS vs Earbuds vs Headphones

Your last resort

If your headphones are still not showing any improvement after trying out all the steps I have given you above, you may just want to invest in new ones. I know how stressful the process of buying new headphones is, but if the situation calls for it, it is probably time.

We have listed some of the best headphones in these articles. Check it out:

  1. Best Headphones for video editing
  2. Best headphones for mowing
  3. Best open back headphones for gaming
  4. Best earbuds under $200
  5. Best Headphones under $200

Along with an excellent volume output, you can also consider other features such as Bluetooth connectivity, noise isolation, microphone, and so many different features today’s market has to offer.

Make sure to check out our round-up articles where we list the best headphone available in the market!


Facing the problem of your headphones, not being loud enough is a pretty prevalent problem. Many people are trying to find ways to boost their headphone volume. I hope that this post helped you out and has given you ways to add some juice to make your headphones louder.

To summarise

Feel free to share some of your ideas down below for the rest of our readers to experiment with!