Why Are My Earbuds Changing Volume?

Walking along listening to music and minding your own business. All of a sudden your earbuds change the volume to super loud! Sound familiar? Let us help!

Woman dancing and listening to music with her earbuds

Smartphones and earbuds are a great combination at first look but there’s a compatibility problem there. Have you ever had your earbuds change volume even when your smartphone is locked? This is a common problem, and earbuds users are looking for a solution. Let’s find out, why your earbuds are changing volume.

Earbuds changing volume is an issue that only occurs with smartphones. The smartphone may not be compatible with the earbuds, so the electrical signals are mixed up. Or, the phone’s software may be recognizing a sound as too low or high, so it changes the volume. 

It’s not that complicated, even if it sounds like that. Keep reading, you’ll find a solution.

Earbuds & Smartphone Compatibility

We’ll have to look at wired and wireless earbuds separately here. Mainly, earbuds that keep changing volume have a problem with the jack plugin. Wireless earbuds change the volume for different reasons.

Wired Earbuds

You are all familiar with the 3.5mm jack plugin. Nearly all wired earbuds use that plugin. It’s the standard for wired earbuds. What you may not know is that the 3.5mm jack has two variations.

There is a jack plugin with 3 connections, and there is a plugin with 4 connections. The plugin with 3 connections has a tip, ring, and sleeve. The plugin with 4 connections has two rings in addition to the tip, and sleeve.

Now, most new smartphones support the 3.5mm jack plugin with 4 connections. Smartphones like these support the 3 connections plugin too but a problem may occur.

While smartphones recognize and work with both types of plugins, they are not always compatible. It’s recommended that you use a 4 connections plugin if your smartphone supports that plugin.

If the plugin is not compatible with the smartphone’s connection, the electrical signals will get mixed up. The smartphone will still read the earbuds but the volume will keep changing. Because they are not compatible, the smartphone will read signals for volume up or down.

Wired earbuds on yellow background

Wireless Earbuds

Wireless earbuds don’t have a plugin connection, so the problem above is not relevant here. Bluetooth connections can be problematic but not in this way. The earbuds will not change volume because of a bad Bluetooth connection.

If your wireless earbuds keep changing volume I’m guessing they have a built-in mic. And that’s where the problem lies with wireless earbuds that are changing volume. Earbuds that don’t have a mic will not have the same issue.

Smartphones have protection against high volume. That means the volume will be turned down automatically after some time of listening to a high volume. This feature is added to protect the listeners, it can also be disabled.

But what if your volume is low but the earbuds still are changing volume? That’s where the mic comes in. If you’re in a room with high ambient or background noise, the mic will be picking that up. The smartphone reads that signal and interprets it as a time to lower the volume.

Related Article: Why Are My Bluetooth Headphones Not Connecting

Apple AirPods

Damaged Earbuds Are Changing Volume

We all know that damaged earbuds will not work properly. Besides all the usual problems that appear from damaged earbuds, changing volumes is another one.

Earbuds that are changing volume are either damaged at the wire or the plugin jack. Let’s elaborate a bit on these parts.

Earbuds With A Damaged Jack Plugin

Here, the issue is essentially the same as the smartphone compatibility problem. A damaged plugin will send electrical signals which will confuse the smartphone. Usually, it ends up in the volume being changed up or down.

No matter what kind of 3.5mm connection plugin you are using, if it’s damaged, the electrical signals will get mixed up. PCs are better at reading the signals, so the problem will not appear if the earbuds are used with a PC.

Earbuds With A Damaged Wire

I’m not sure how many have dealt with this issue. For sure, you all had a damaged wire. Usually, the sound will be breaking apart or the quality will be decreased. A damaged wire can make the earbuds change volume too.

Those that have this problem may have noticed that the earbuds are changing volume only when you touch the wire. So, the problem appears only when the wires are in a certain position.

Related Article: How To Fix Headphone Wires With Tape

Stuck Volume Button

The most obvious reason why your earbuds are changing volume is a stuck volume button. If you have a stuck volume button, the volume will keep changing on every device. This goes for PCs and laptops too.

I know that you will notice if the volume button on the earbuds is stuck. Either way, I thought it’s worth mentioning.

We are done with the usual suspects, let’s find a solution.

Close up wired headphones

How To Stop Earbuds From Changing Volume

Fortunately, earbuds that keep changing volume do that only on one device. So, it’s not necessary to change the earbuds in most situations. Of course, damaged earbuds need to be replaced. I’ll offer some solutions, try them out.

  1. Check if the earbuds plugin is compatible with the smartphone.
    We’ve already talked about plugin connections. So, if your earbuds use a 3-connection jack but your smartphone uses a 4 connection, you can’t fix the problem. I suggest changing to a jack with 4 connections.
  2. Disable volume protection on the smartphone. 
    This is for those that have earbuds that are changing volume because of the smartphone’s protection. Look for that option in the smartphone’s settings and disable it.
  3. Try disabling the mic or using earbuds without a mic.
    As I said, the mic can pick up ambient and background noises which leads to the smartphone’s protection lowering the volume. If there’s an option, disable the mic. Or, try using earbuds without a mic.
  4. Use the earbuds in a room without too much ambient noise.
    If you can’t disable the mic nor disable the smartphone’s volume protection, you need to change the room. Ambient noises really interfere with the mic, so lowering them can help.
  5. Fix damaged wire and plugin.
    Some damaged earbuds can be repaired. So, to stop the earbuds from changing volumes, you need to fix the wire or plugin. If you don’t want to, buy a new pair of earbuds.
  6. Unstuck the volume button.
    See if the stuck volume button can be fixed. If it’s not beyond repair, you may get away without paying too much.
  7. Buy new earbuds.
    In some cases, no matter what you try, the earbuds will keep changing volume. Make sure you’ve tried everything. Make sure that the earbuds are changing the volume on more than 1 device. If so, buy a new pair.

Well, that’s it. These were the solutions familiar to me. Let everyone know if you think of something else.

Related Questions And Other FAQs

Why Are My Headphones Changing Volume On A Smartphone?

The same problem occurs with headphones too. Either the jack plugin is damaged or not compatible or the smartphone’s high volume protection is interfering.

Can You Repair A Damaged Wire On Earbuds?

Yes, you can. You can either change the whole wire or just the jack plugin.