What Specs On Earbuds Actually Tell You How Loud They Are

Looking to buy a new set of earbuds? Which specs should you focus on to make sure they’re loud enough? Read on to find out more!

Earbuds on yellow and grey background

So, you’ve decided to get a pair of earbuds but the specs are confusing you. Stores tend to list a lot of specs that are not familiar to new customers. You’re looking for top-notch loud earbuds but you don’t which spec you should be looking for. Let me help you with that. What specs on earbuds tell you how loud they are?

The sensitivity spec tells you how loud the speaker of the earbuds is. Sensitivity is measured in decibels. This is the main spec that determines how loud the earbuds will be. Features like noise-canceling and impedance help in making the loud sounds as clear as possible.

Focusing on sensitivity alone can be a big mistake. Keep reading to find out why.

What Do The Specs On Earbuds Mean?

Since this question is related to buying a pair of earbuds, I think it will be useful to go over important specs on earbuds. A combination of some of the more important specs makes for high-quality earbuds. So, without further ado, here are the specs.


The specification that tells you how loud the earbuds is called sensitivity. It shows up to how many decibels the earbuds can play. The average number of decibels in earbuds models ranges from 85 to 90 decibels. Louder earbuds should exceed this range.

Red earbuds and smartphone


If you’ve looked at some earbuds, you’ve probably come upon impedance measured in ohms. I need to get into technicalities to explain it thoroughly, so I’ll just say what matters. The number of ohms listed tells you how much power the device has to handle to produce a clear sound. A high number of ohms means more power is needed for clear audio. If the device can’t handle the number of ohms, you’ll hear a distorted sound.

Frequency Response Range

All earbuds have a frequency range. This determines which audio signals the earbuds will pick up as sound. In other words, the frequency response range tells you how well the earbuds will handle bass and treble. The earbuds should be able to respond to short waves and long waves(high frequency and low frequency). The ideal FRR is 20 to 20,000 Hz.


The loudness of the speakers can be decreased with background noises. The noise-canceling feature helps with that. It blocks outside noises and it makes the earbuds appear louder. If the earbuds have this feature there will be a spec “noise-canceling”.

Related Article – How Do Noise Canceling Headphones Work

Woman wearing AirPods Pro


Earbuds have drivers that are responsible for most of the functions. Most importantly, the diaphragm is located in them. The diaphragm translates audio signals to sounds you can actually hear. Some drivers are only dedicated to bass, some only to treble. The better the drivers, the better the earbuds.

Now that we covered this, you want to know which of these specs is important for loudness?

Related article – Are Earbuds Good For Gaming?

Specs For Loud Earbuds

We’ve already said that the key feature to look out for is sensitivity. But there’s a lot more that comes into play. Some quality earbuds are louder than average earbuds with higher sensitivity. So, it’s clear that aiming for high sensitivity is a bad idea. Here, I’ll go over the specs earbuds need to be considered loud and good.

  1. Sensitivity and impedance. 
    While looking at the sensitivity you have to check out the impedance too. Why is that? Well, earbuds with higher sensitivity than 98 decibels are harder to find. Those that have higher sensitivity usually have high impedance too. So, you’ll need something better than a smartphone to use with the earbuds. If you’re using earbuds with smartphones or laptops aim for 25 ohms or lower. Higher impedance requires professional equipment. For instance, DJ headphones can have an impedance as high as 70 ohms.
  2. Noise-canceling for loudness.
    We’ve already explained what noise-canceling means. Well, connect that with what we’ve said about sensitivity and impedance. In cases where the earbuds have a high impedance, you can opt for quieter earbuds that have noise-canceling. If you don’t hear outside noises, the sounds don’t have to be that loud.
  3. Drivers for loud music.
    You should pay attention to the drivers of the earbuds you want. Drivers can make the earbuds specifically good for acoustics or some music genre. If you’re looking for loud earbuds, I think you want drivers for bass. Look for earbuds that have multiple drivers, especially bass drivers and drivers for the stereo boost. Although these will not increase decibels, they will make your earbuds sound better or louder.
  4. Wired earbuds.
    This isn’t exactly a spec. Wired earbuds have more models with high sensitivity. I’m sure when you will be looking for loud earbuds, you’ll find wired ones mostly. I don’t know if you have a preference but wired earbuds are louder.

Examples Of Good Loud Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Noise Canceling Earbuds

Bose’s QuietComfort is an example of how noise-canceling can make any earbuds loud. I recommend these earbuds to people who raise the volume because of ambient noises.

Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2

These earbuds you can consider to be loud, noise-canceling, or not. If you really just like loud music, the Bowers & Wilkins C5 will be a great option.

Related Article: How To Make My Bluetooth Earbuds Louder

Healthy Usage Of Loud Earbuds

It goes without saying that listening to loud noises can damage your hearing. Both the earbuds and the device you’re using will warn you of these. It looks like authorities are making an effort to inform you of these. Some people just don’t listen though.

I guess you’re looking for loud earbuds because you want to listen with the volume maxed out. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’ll have to limit your listening time though. Everyone responds differently to high decibel sounds. The general rule is 60 minutes of listening for 80 decibels. The higher you go, the less you can listen.

We’re nearing the end here, let’s close this one.

Related Article – 14 Best Wireless Earbuds

Friends wearing earbuds

Closing Thoughts

When you’re looking for loud earbuds, the sensitivity spec is the one to focus on. However, that’s not all that makes earbuds loud. You’ll want to look at the impedance and see if it’s low enough to use with your phone. Otherwise, you’ll hear distortion.

Multiple drivers can affect how loud the earbuds are. If you find a pair with a bass driver and stereo booster, opt for that and not sensitivity. And, remember, it’s always better to get earbuds with noise-canceling instead of high-sensitivity earbuds.

Interesting read – Do Earbuds Degrade Over Time?