Why is One AirPod Louder Than the Other? Causes and Fixes

Affiliate Disclaimer: If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you!
Photo of author


Why Is One Airpod Louder Than The Other

If you’re an AirPods user, you may have encountered a frustrating issue: one AirPod being noticeably louder than the other. This volume imbalance can really detract from your listening experience, making your favorite jams sound “off” or even causing you to miss important audio information.

Even more perplexing, you might find that one AirPod dies faster than the other. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the potential causes behind uneven AirPod volume and provide troubleshooting tips to help you get back to an optimal audio experience.

Potential Causes of Uneven AirPod Volume

There are several factors that can potentially lead to one AirPod being louder than the other:

Physical Blockage from Ear Wax or Debris

One of the most common causes of muffled or uneven sound in AirPods is a physical blockage, typically from ear wax. Just like any in-ear headphones, AirPods can accumulate earwax and other debris over time.

As icky as it sounds, earwax can slowly build up and cover the speaker grille, preventing sound waves from flowing freely and making the affected AirPod sound quieter.

Other small particles like dust, lint, or dirt could also potentially enter the speaker grille and cause a blockage.

Audio Balance Settings

Another potential culprit for lopsided volume is your iPhone or iPad’s audio balance settings. Just like old-school stereos, iOS devices allow you to adjust the left/right balance of the audio output.

If this balance has been accidentally shifted too far to one side, it can make one AirPod significantly louder than the other. This setting is a bit buried in the Accessibility options, so it’s easier than you might think to trigger this unintentionally.

Connectivity Problems

Since AirPods rely on Bluetooth to receive audio signals from your device, any connectivity hiccups could potentially impact the volume.

If your AirPods won’t connect properly or one has a slightly weaker connection, it may play the audio more quietly or even drop in and out. While not as common, a connectivity issue is still a possibility worth ruling out when troubleshooting uneven volume.

Hardware Issues

In rarer cases, uneven volume could indicate an actual hardware problem with one of the AirPods. A defective speaker, loose wiring, or other damage inside the AirPod casing could make one side quieter than the other.

This is more likely if your AirPods have been dropped, exposed to moisture, or are just getting old and have experienced a lot of wear and tear. A hardware issue may require a professional repair or replacement from Apple.

Troubleshooting and Fixes for Uneven AirPod Volume

Before throwing in the towel and declaring your AirPods defunct, try these troubleshooting steps to see if you can fix the uneven volume:

1. Clean Your AirPods

The first and easiest step is to give your AirPods a thorough cleaning. Using a cotton swab, soft-bristled toothbrush, or soft cloth, gently brush any earwax or debris out of the speaker grilles.

Clean Your AirPod

Make sure your AirPods are completely dry before reassembling. If you notice a lot of gunk buildup, you may want to make a routine of cleaning your AirPods regularly!

2. Check the iOS Audio Balance

Open your iOS Settings app and navigate to Accessibility > Audio/Visual > Balance. Make sure the slider is balanced in the middle between the L and R indicators. If it was shifted to one side, centering it should immediately fix any uneven volume issues caused by this setting.

Adjust the Audio Balance on Your iOS Device

3. Re-Pair Your AirPods

Unpairing and re-pairing your AirPods can resolve a variety of odd behaviors, including uneven volume. In your Bluetooth settings, tap the “i” icon next to your AirPods and choose “Forget This Device.”

Reconnect the AirPods

Then, with the AirPods in the charging case, hold the setup button on the back of the case until you see the status light flash white. Hold the case with open lid near your iPhone and follow the pairing instructions.

4. Reset Your AirPods

If re-pairing alone doesn’t do the trick, a full reset should be your next step. With the AirPods in the charging case, locate the small setup button on the back of the case.

Reset Your AirPods

Press and hold this button for at least 15 seconds until the status light flashes amber a few times and then flashes white. You can now re-pair the AirPods and see if the uneven volume has been resolved.

5. Contact Apple Support

If you’ve tried all the at-home solutions and are still struggling with unbalanced audio, it may be time to contact the experts at Apple Support.

An Apple tech can run further diagnostics and determine if the AirPods need professional servicing or even replacement under warranty. You can visit your local Apple Store’s Genius Bar for face-to-face support, or get help over the phone or online chat.

Preventing Uneven AirPod Volume

While some uneven volume issues are unavoidable, there are some best practices you can follow to keep your AirPods in top shape and minimize the chances of trouble:

  • Regularly clean your AirPods with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. Don’t let earwax and grime buildup sabotage your sound!
  • Always dry off your AirPods thoroughly before placing them in the charging case, and never allow moisture into the case itself. A little sweat is unavoidable, but try not to expose them to heavy rain or wear them in the pool.
  • Keep your AirPods in their case when not in use. This protects them from damage and keeps dust and debris out of the speakers.
  • Be gentle when handling your AirPods. Don’t drop them, sit on them, step on them, etc. Those tiny electronics inside are fairly delicate!
  • Avoid exposing the AirPods to extreme temperatures. Leaving them in a hot car or in direct sunlight for extended periods can weaken the batteries and damage the components.
  • Make sure your AirPods fit comfortably and securely in your ears. If AirPods hurt your ears, you may need to adjust them or try using different sized ear tips for a better seal.

Key Takeaways

Uneven AirPod volume can be incredibly annoying, but in most cases, it’s also fairly easy to fix! Start by cleaning the speakers, checking your audio balance settings, re-pairing, and resetting the AirPods.

If DIY tricks don’t work, contact Apple Support for professional assistance. With proper care and storage habits, you can avoid many volume-related problems and enjoy a balanced, high-quality listening experience with your AirPods.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can uneven AirPod volume be fixed at home or do I need professional help?

A: In many cases, uneven volume can be resolved through simple at-home troubleshooting like cleaning the speakers, checking iOS audio balance settings, re-pairing, or resetting the AirPods. However, if you suspect a hardware issue or the DIY fixes don’t work, it’s best to contact Apple Support for further assistance.

Q: How often should I clean my AirPods?

A: It’s a good idea to gently clean your AirPods at least once a month to prevent earwax and debris buildup which can impact sound quality. If you have especially waxy ears or wear your AirPods during intense workouts, you may want to clean them more frequently.

Q: Can the iOS audio balance settings affect volume on other Bluetooth headphones?

A: Yes, the iOS balance settings are system-wide and will affect any Bluetooth headphones or speakers connected to that device, not just AirPods. Most Android devices have a similar left/right audio balance setting as well.

Q: My AirPods are still under warranty. Will Apple replace them for uneven volume?

A: If your AirPods are still covered under Apple’s One Year Limited Warranty or AppleCare+, and the uneven volume is determined to be caused by a defect rather than accidental damage, Apple will likely repair or replace the affected AirPod(s) at no cost to you. Contact Apple Support to initiate a warranty claim.

Q: Can damage from sweat or water cause uneven AirPod volume?

A: Yes, while AirPods are water and sweat resistant, they are not fully waterproof. Repeated exposure to moisture, especially if allowed to pool inside the speaker grille, can corrode the delicate internal components over time and lead to audio issues like uneven volume, crackling sounds, or total failure of one or both AirPods. Always dry off wet AirPods before storing them in the charging case.

Q: Why is my AirPod microphone not working?

A: If people are having trouble hearing you on calls, the AirPod microphone may not be working properly. This could be due to debris blocking the mic hole, a connectivity issue, or a hardware problem. Try cleaning the microphone, re-pairing the AirPods, and if needed, contact Apple Support for further troubleshooting.

Q: Can I rename my AirPods to tell the left and right apart?

A: Yes! You can easily rename your AirPods in your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings. Labeling them “Left” and “Right” can help you quickly identify which one is having volume issues. You can even add an emoji to the name for extra pizzazz.


Ten years of experience in information and computer technology. Passionate about electronic devices, smartphones, computers, and modern technology.

More Articles

Scanning And Repairing Drive Stuck
Repair, Windows

Scanning and Repairing Drive Stuck? Let’s Get It Fixed Easily

If you are using Windows 10, scanning and repairing drive stuck would be an annoying issue for you. In fact, ...
How To Fix Odin Mode In A Samsung Phone
Repair, Samsung

How to Fix Odin Mode in a Samsung Phone?

Odin mode is an error shown only on Samsung mobile devices. This is why this issue is also called Samsung ...
iPhone Call Failed
iPhone, Repair

11 Ways To Repair iPhone Call Failed Error

There are times when you are placing a phone call, but the iPhone says the call failed. Many users have ...