Can Headphones Lose Volume Over Time?

by Alex.   Last Updated On June 17th, 2022.
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We have all experienced the same issue; we get a new pair of headphones that work amazingly well for a while, but then you notice the sound quality starts to degrade over time as you are playing music. This is not just in sound quality itself, but also in the overall volume.

Unfortunately, headphones of all types can start to lose volume or sound quality over time. There are a wide range of reasons this can happen, and some may have simple solutions. In general, however, noticing a decrease in the sound quality or volume of your headphones can be a frustrating issue to deal with.

Let’s take a closer look the possible causes of headphones losing volume over time in this comprehensive and informative guide, and if there are ways you can fix it. Troubleshooting the headphones issue will be your first step in determining whether or not you can fix it on your own, or if you may need to find a headphones repair professional.

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Common Reasons Headphones Lose Volume

Headphones have internal components that work together to create sound. Over time, these components can become damaged or worn down simply due to normal use and the sound settings you prefer to use. While most modern headphones can last for years, some may start to show signs of wearing down before others.

Over the ear corded headphones will normally last longer and offer better sound than in-ear headphones. However, there are several issues that can lead to a decrease in volume. Let’s take a look at those below.

Wax Build Up

This is a very common issue with quality earbuds like Tozo earbuds that are pushed slightly into the ear canal, and less of a problem with over-the-ear style headphones. Over time, as the earbuds are used, wax from your ears can build up on the speaker of the earbud reducing your listening experience.

This is a very common issue with headphones that can reduce the volume of your media. Luckily, it can be a relatively easy fix. You can use a cotton bud, Q-Tip, or toothpick to gently remove the wax and dirt buildup on the earbud and improve your listening without having to crank it up to a high volume.

If you notice dirt and dust built up in the cups of over the ear headphones, you can use a small paintbrush or makeup brush to gently dust away the debris. Additionally, canned air or other electronics dusters are a great option to consider to restore your listening.

Blown Drivers

This is an issue you can encounter if you love to hear your music at loud volumes, or if your favorite music has deep vibrating bass. Headphones have small electronic drivers in each ear which help produce sound.

High volumes and deeper bass sounds will create more vibrations and movement in these small electronic drivers. This can lead to the headphone drivers breaking down or becoming damaged over time. Unfortunately, if you have a blown driver, the best solution is to replace the headphones.

One of the best ways to avoid a blown headphone driver is to keep using your headphones at a reasonable volume. This will ensure the electronics are not overworked, such as they would be if you kept it at max volume, and will instead prevent too many vibrations in the headphones.

Connectivity Issues

One of the simplest issues you may run into with your headphones is poor connectivity. This is normally due to a loose connection on a wired headphone plug. In most cases, newer model wired headphones will have detachable cords which allow you to switch cables as needed.

If you have a loose connection with your headphone jack or cable joints, you may not only notice low volume but a static sound or “pink noise” as well. If you are able to replace your headphone cord, this may prove to be a quick and simple solution to the low volume and static issue.

Bluetooth Issues

For wireless headphones, Bluetooth issues can be a common cause of reduced volume. For example, if you are using a small dongle, the receiver that connects with your laptop or PC computer can become loose over time.

This is especially true if you remove and replace the headphone dongle often. In most cases, you can wiggle the dongle around in the audio socket to get a solid connection and improve the musical experience from your headphones. But in other cases, the dongle may need to be replaced.

Luckily, there are many universal Bluetooth dongles that can work with wireless headphones and most Bluetooth enabled media devices. Simply plug the universal dongle into your audio player and follow the on-screen prompts to pair it with your headset. You may need to download drivers from the internet, but in most cases the dongle is a “plug and play” type device.

Incorrect Audio File

If you are running your headphones through a splicer or other in-line media player device, you may encounter volume issues. In some cases, the media device you are using may not have the right codex needed to play certain audio files through your headphones.

This is especially common with laptops or older media devices such as vinyl record players and some MP3 devices. If you only notice volume issues in your headphones when playing a certain music file while others work perfectly fine, it is almost definitely related to a codex issue.

Luckily, this is not an issue with the headphones themselves, and they are most likely working fine otherwise. The easiest fix for this is to download and install the right audio codex or enable javascript. These can easily be found online either through a search engine, or through the homepage of your specific audio device band.

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Manufacturer’s Warranty Policy

If your headphones are new, they may still be under warranty from the manufacturer. If the cause of your headphones losing volume is not due to a simple issue such as dirt and ear wax covering up the speaker, or an easily replaced detachable cable, you may be able to contact the manufacturer and get a replacement under warranty.

Most warranties on headphones will last one year, but depending on the brand of headphones you may be under warranty for up to 5 years. When purchasing a new pair of headphones, always keep any information related to the warranty. You will usually find a small warranty card with the headphones paperwork, or a warranty section in the user manual.

Issues that may fall under warranty can include:

  • Loose or faulty connections that happened even with proper care
  • Faulty or damaged cable that may be a factory defect
  • Damaged internal components from the manufacturing process
  • Damages during shipping or damages sustained before the headphones were opened
  • Damaged drivers, poor sound, or white noise coming from the speakers

If your quality headset is covered under warranty, the claim process is normally very simple and straightforward. You will contact the manufacturer and explain the issue, informing them that the headset is still under warranty.

They will then either send you a postage paid label for you to send the headset back, or you will be expected to mail it in at your cost. Once the manufacturer receives your quality headphones back, they will inspect the issue and decide on a solution.

One of the solutions they may consider is to send an entirely new replacement headset. It will be the same model and style as the one you originally purchased so you don’t have to worry about losing a headset you loved.

Another solution is to refurbish your quality headset. In this case, you will eventually get your very own headset back after repairs have been done. This option normally takes longer but is often the only option for rare or exclusive models that are still under warranty but may no longer be actively manufactured.