Why Do My Headphones Sound Like They’re Underwater?

Headphones are a great way to enjoy music. They allow us to block out the world’s noise and just focus on the music. But sometimes, they can produce a strange sound that makes it seem like you’re underwater. You could have had the strange sensation of listening to a fish tank or feeling like your head was in a bucket. Headphones sound like they’re underwater because their work can create this effect. It can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to enjoy your music.

There are several causes for this, most of which may be readily remedied at home. So don’t get rid of them just yet. Here are some of the most common reasons your headphones might sound like they’re underwater and how to solve them all.

What Does An Underwater Headphone Speaker Sound Like?

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Before discussing why headphones might sound like they’re underwater, it’s important to know what this effect sounds like. It can help you identify the problem more readily.

💦Underwater sounds

Underwater noises under the ocean are typically produced due to various sources, including the breaking waves, movement of aquatic animals, and rains. The movement of various water vehicles is another prominent source of underwater noises in the sea.

The sound of these underwater noises is unique. It has a very low frequency and long wavelength. It causes the noise to be highly directional. Listening to headphones that produce this sound can feel like the music is coming from all around you instead of just in front of you.

💦Muffled sounds

The first thing you’ll notice is the muffled quality of the sound. Music will sound distant and unclear, as though you’re hearing it from the bottom of a pool. There may also be a strange echoing quality, as though the sound is bouncing off the walls of a cave. It can be especially apparent with certain types of music, like drums or bass-heavy tracks.

In some cases, the underwater effect can also make it difficult to hear higher frequencies. So if you’re trying to listen to a song with a lot of trebles, it may sound tinny and distorted.

It’s important to note that not all headphones produce this effect equally. Some may be more susceptible to it than others. And in some cases, you may only notice the underwater sound when using certain headphones or earbuds.

💦In-ear headphones

The most common type of headphones that produce this effect is in-ear headphones. It is because they fit snugly inside your ear canal. They’re also the type of headphones that’s most likely to cause problems like this in the first place. They can create a seal that traps sound, which can then bounce around and create an echo effect.

Why Your Headphones Sound Like They’re Underwater?

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There are several reasons your headphones might sound like they’re underwater. It could be due to the type of headphones you’re using, the fit of the headphones, or even the way you’re wearing them. Here are some of the most common causes of this problem.

🎧Inappropriate EQ settings

I’m sure you’re aware that certain low-powered amplifiers include an EQ (equalizer) function that changes the sound of your music. An inappropriately set EQ can result in a muffled, tinny sound, making it seem like you’re listening to your music underwater.

When you set up the EQ wrong, the low-end frequencies can be too high, and the high-end frequencies can be too low. It will have the effect of making your music sound muffled. For instance, the headphone speakers may become unresponsive when you adjust the EQ to a low-pass filter. If this occurs, the best course of action is to adjust the settings and choose “default.”

The same thing can happen if you use a high-pass filter. In this case, the low frequencies are attenuated, making your music sound thin and tinny.

🎧Blown headphone speakers

There are many reasons why you could be having this issue. It might be due to a very tight connection between the device and headphones, a broken headphone connector, or a faulty component, among other things. If your headphones sound like they’re underwater, you may have ruptured speaker diaphragms. It can result in a loss of audio quality and distortion.

Try cleaning your headphones if you’re having problems hearing music or other noises via them. Dust or other material may be preventing sound waves from reaching your ears.

It’s crucial to realize that your headphones include a voice coil component within them. It’s the conductive wire coil that connects the tip of your headphones to the coil. Unfortunately, the voice coil limits how much power it can tolerate.

Listening to music at a greater level may damage the voice coil, resulting in distorted sounds.

🎧Collected dirt and debris

If you’ve ever noticed that your headphones sound a bit off after not using them for a while, it’s likely because they’ve collected dirt and debris. Even if you can’t see any dirt on the surface of your headphones, there could be a build-up of gunk inside them.

It is especially true if you often wear them while working out or sweating. The sweat can mix with the dirt and debris to create a nasty build-up inside your headphones.

Suppose you don’t clean your headphones regularly. In that case, this build-up can cause problems, including muffled sound, static, and even shortened battery life.

🎧TRRS cables aren’t working

A broken cable is another reason why earbuds sound poor. The TRRS cables that connect earbuds can be delicate and easily damaged. The TRRS cables within the rubber casing are the weakest of all. Once the wires become frayed or broken, you’ll likely experience sound issues.

Headphone cables play a significant role in the operation of the devices they link. A damaged or poor-quality cable can result in problems, including sound issues.

It’s also worth noting that you might need to use an adapter if you’re using a TRRS cable with an iPhone. The newer iPhones don’t have a headphone jack, so you need to use an adapter to connect your headphones. One way to determine if your TRRS cables are the problem is to try using different earbuds with the same device. If the sound quality is better, the issue likely lies with the cables.

If you wish to change the cables, you’ll have to replace the headphones as a whole. The fact that the headphones’ cords aren’t designed to be readily replaced doesn’t help matters either.

🎧Moisture damage

Moisture refers to liquid, including water, sweat, and even oil from your skin. If these liquids get inside your headphones, they can cause many problems, including sound issues.

If you often wear your headphones while working out or sweating, they could suffer from moisture damage. Sweat can mix with dirt and debris to create a nasty build-up inside your headphones. It’s also worth noting that moisture damage can occur even if you’re not sweating. If you live in a humid climate or often use your headphones in the shower, they could be susceptible to moisture damage.

If you think that moisture might cause your sound issues, the best course of action is to clean your headphones as soon as possible. Use a soft, dry cloth to remove any build-up of sweat or dirt. If you can’t get rid of the moisture, it’s best to avoid using your headphones until they’re completely dry.

Waterproof headphones may be a lifesaver for folks who spend a lot of time outside. Waterproof headphones are designed to resist damage from sweat and water.

How to Fix Underwater Sounds On Your Headphones?

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If your headphones are starting to sound like they’re underwater, there are a few things you can do to try and fix the problem.

🛠Replace the TRRS wire

If your headphones sound underwater, the TRRS wire is likely damaged. You can try to replace the wire, but it’s generally not worth the hassle. A faulty cable can be easily remedied by simply replacing it with a new one.

You can try to fix this issue with a few things, such as raising your TRRS jack or replacing the damaged wire. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of replacing the TRRS jack, you can try using different earbuds with the same device.

🛠Check the voice coil.

The voice coil is the conductive wire coil that connects the tip of your headphones to the base. If the voice coil is damaged, it can cause sound issues. To check the voice coil, remove the earbud tip and look for any signs of damage. The voice coil is likely the problem if you see any fraying or breaks.

🛠Troubleshoot the hardware

One of the best things you can do if your headphones only produce muffled or distorted sounds is to troubleshoot the equipment.

A built-in sound troubleshooter is available in Windows 10 for users to use when experiencing audio-related issues. As a result, you should try to troubleshoot the device to find out exactly where the problem lies. To accomplish this, simply follow the simple steps outlined below.

  • Press the Windows key +X on your PC.
  • Click on Control Panel from the list of options.
  • Next, go to the “view by” drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the screen and select “large.”
  • After that, click on “troubleshoot audio playback” from the list of options.
  • Now, simply follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting process.

🛠Uninstall the Sound card

If your headphones sound submerged in water, they may have a malfunctioning sound card. Uninstalling and reinstalling the sound card will suffice in this case. To do so, follow the simple steps outlined below on your Windows 10 system.

  • Click Windows + X on your computer.
  • From the list of options, choose Device Manager.
  • Now, go to “Sound, video and game controllers.”
  • Right-click on your sound card and click uninstall.
  • When prompted, click “OK.”
  • After that, restart your computer.
  • Once your system starts up again, your sound card will be automatically installed.

If you’re still having sound issues, the drivers may be outdated. In this case, you’ll need to update your sound drivers.

Other Common Headphones Sound Issues and Possible Fixes

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Aside from the sound of being underwater, there are other common headphones sound issues that you may experience. These include:

🚩Crackling or popping sounds

If your headphones are making crackling or popping sounds, you may need to replace the earbuds. Over time, the plastic housing of the earbuds can degrade and cause sound issues. In this case, replacing the earbuds is the best solution.

If you don’t want to replace the earbuds, you can try cleaning them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Make sure to clean the mesh screen as well.

🚩Very noisy headphones

The devices to which you connect your wired headphones may not always be able to block out background noise. If your headphones are very noisy, try using noise-canceling headphones instead.

An internal component or ground loop that hasn’t been properly shielded is causing a lot of noise. Even though it’s extremely uncommon nowadays, older computers and laptops can occasionally suffer from this problem.

If your computer’s sound card isn’t up to the task, consider using a DAC+amp instead. A DAC (digital-to-analog converter) is a device that turns digital audio signals into analog ones. On the other hand, an amplifier boosts the audio signal’s strength.

As a result, using a DAC+amp will significantly improve your headphones’ sound quality.

🚩Very low volume

The headphones you bought for your smartphone may be too quiet because the power isn’t enough for them. On the other hand, older models may simply require more juice than your smartphone can supply. When this occurs, they may sound mediocre or downright quiet.

The best solution, in this case, is to get an external headphone amplifier. By doing so, you’ll be able to significantly boost the volume and improve your headphones’ sound quality.

If you don’t want to invest in an amplifier, you can first try a few other things. For instance, some music apps have built-in equalizers that you can use to boost the volume. Alternatively, you can try using a different music player app altogether.

🚩Fuzzy or unclear sound

If the sound coming from your headphones is fuzzy or unclear, the earbuds likely need replacement. Over time, the plastic housing of the earbuds can degrade and cause sound issues. In this case, replacing the earbuds is the best solution.

It’s also possible that the problem lies with your music files. If the sound is fuzzy when you play certain songs, the files are likely poor quality. In this case, you’ll need to find higher-quality versions of the songs.

If you’re using MP3 files, try converting them to a lossless format such as FLAC or WAV. By doing so, you’ll be able to hear the music the way it was meant to be heard.

If you’re using streaming services such as Spotify, set the audio quality to “high” in the settings. It will ensure that you’re getting the best sound quality possible.

🚩Static sound

Interference occasionally occurs with the majority of Bluetooth headphones. Try unplugging your headphones for 20-30 seconds, then plugging them back in and repairing them if frequent static interruptions plague you.

Regardless of the range of the headphones, reducing the distance between your device and your headphones for a short period can also address static problems. Try putting your phone on a table or desk instead of your pocket.

You should also avoid using your headphones near objects that can cause interference, such as microwaves, cordless phones, and wireless routers.

If you’re still experiencing static problems, the issue may lie with your device. In this case, try using a different device to see if the issue persists.

Simple Tips To Maintain Your Headphones Sound Quality

black and red corded headphones on white table

If you have a new pair of headphones, you may want to take precautions to keep them sounding their best.

Avoid carrying headphones in your pocket.

Earbuds should not be kept in your pocket. If you do this, you run the risk of creating tough tangles that are difficult to untangle and are vulnerable to damage from lint, dust, and other particles in your pocket. As a result, the audio quality suffers.

To prevent this, invest in a carrying case for your headphones. It will protect them from tangles and damage when you’re not using them.

Don’t expose your headphones to extreme temperatures.

Like all electronic devices, headphones are sensitive to extreme temperatures. When exposed to high temperatures, the plastic and metal components of the headphones can warp and break.

Conversely, low temperatures can cause the battery to lose its charge faster and make the headphone cords more brittle. As a result, they’re more likely to break when you try to untangle them.

Avoid turning up the volume to its maximum

Extreme volume levels can damage your hearing over time. In addition, it can also damage the delicate components inside your headphones. As a result, the sound quality will suffer.

To prevent this, try to keep the volume at a moderate level. If you’re using headphones with noise-canceling features, you may not need to turn up the volume as high as you would with other headphones.

Clean your headphones regularly.

Sweat, skin oils, and makeup can build up on the earpads of your headphones over time. It can cause the earpads to deteriorate and become less comfortable to wear. In addition, the build-up can also affect the sound quality of your headphones.

To prevent this, clean the earpads of your headphones with a soft, dry cloth after each use. If the earpads are removable, you may want to wash them with mild soap and water.

Be careful with wired headphones.

Wired headphones are more susceptible to damage from tangles and knots than their wireless counterparts. Don’t pull the cable from the device. Instead, pull it from the plug.

In addition, avoid wrapping the cord too tightly around the device. It can cause the wires to fray and break over time.

Unplug your headphones after using them.

Leaving your headphones plugged into your device can cause static and other audio problems. To prevent this, unplug your headphones after each use.

It’s dangerous to leave earbuds attached to your phone or laptop. It can happen if you pull on the cord suddenly or if it gets caught in something and the copper wire inside snaps.

If you’re not using your headphones, store them properly.

When you’re not using your headphones, it’s important to store them safely. If you have a carrying case, use it. Otherwise, wrap the cord around the body of the headphones and put them in a drawer or box. It will prevent the cord from tangling and the headphones from being damaged.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do my Bluetooth headphones sound underwater?

A: One possibility is that the waterproof coating on the headphones is affecting the sound quality. Another possibility is that the Bluetooth connection is weak, which can cause audio problems. If you’re experiencing static problems, the problem may lie with your device’s Bluetooth settings. Try resetting the connection or moving closer to the device.

Q: How can I prevent my headphones from sounding underwater?

A: First, make sure that the waterproof coating on the headphones is in good condition. Second, keep the Bluetooth connection strong by moving closer to the device. Finally, reset the connection or check the Bluetooth settings on your device.

Q: Why does music sound better underwater?

A: One possibility is that the water pressure creates a “cocoon” around your head, which amplifies sound waves. Another possibility is that you’re more relaxed underwater, which allows you to focus on the music. Finally, the lack of distractions underwater can also make it easier to appreciate the music.

Q: How can I make cheap headphones sound better?

A: There are a few things you can try. First, make sure the headphones are clean and the earpads are good. Second, try adjusting the EQ settings on your device. Finally, look for a sound-enhancing app that can improve the sound quality of your music.

Final Thoughts

Enjoying music is a personal experience. What sounds good to one person may not sound good to another. If you’re not happy with the sound quality of your headphones, don’t be afraid to experiment with different settings and techniques until you find what works for you.

Several different factors can cause headphones that sound underwater. To prevent this, clean the earpads of your headphones after each use and unplug them when you’re not using them. You may also want to try adjusting the EQ settings on your device or using a sound-enhancing app.

Have you ever had problems with your headphones sounding like they’re underwater? What did you do to fix it? Let us know in the comments below!

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