Weird AirPods issue - thought I was going deaf!

Recently I’ve been noticing problems with my AirPods (Gen 2 I think)

  1. Overall volume can’t be adjusted loud enough to overcome passing vehicles while out walking.
  2. Right AirPod volume has dropped below left

I’ve done the following troubleshooting steps and have managed to rule out most any product defect:

  1. I switched left/right and the right AirPod has better volume in my left ear (had to position them upside down to get the main speaker grill facing the right direction (forward).
  2. If I turn the right AirPod (in my right ear) to where the microphone is facing forward and the speaker is facing up, the volume is much louder than the left AirPod!

So has something changed in my ear? Swelling maybe? Unsure. All this has me researching wireless headphones…

I would consider this rather a feature, than a bug!

It’s only a feature if the vehicle noise does not make the podcast completely inaudible. It’s good to know the vehicle is there, but annoying to have to pause the podcast multiple times per minute…

It does sound like it could be a swelling which affects how the AirPods sit in your ear.

It’s probably worth checking out.

At this angle it is loud and clear!

Based on your photo… that is not the way they should be worn, but you know that already. I am very surprised that the sound is better, because the main speaker would be most likely blocked in this position. I assume you cleaned the Air Pods of any debris (ie: earwax) as part of your trouble shooting steps.

Please visit a doctor and find out if there is any swelling in your ear canal!

Don’t worry; your ears are probably fine. I Had the same problem. Even twisting them like that made them seem louder. Ended up replacing them with a new pair. Volume gradually getting lower and lower is a known failure mode.

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I just ordered some bluetooth over-the-ear headphones on Amazon. Might still get some earbuds in the future, but hoping I enjoy the headphones, at least at home. Might get a bit warm to wear outdoors next spring, but we’ll see…

Have you checked the settings under Headphone Safety (in Sounds and Haptics)?

I’ve checked every setting I could find in the first 25 pages of Google Search results. Reduce Loud Sounds is not turned on.

The AirPod position in the photo is the only way I can wear AirPods. The AirPods pop out if they are adjusted any more towards vertical.

No issues with sound quality on either generation of AirPods Pro.

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Have you checked the balance setting?

Yep, played with it L <> R - by moving the center to the left about 2% it sounded mostly balanced, but at a lower volume