Why Do Headphones Sound Like Underwater? Here is Why

Why Do Headphones Sound Like Underwater? Here is Why | integraudio.com

You may purchase your headphones a few months ago, and they start performing poorly. They may begin producing sounds as if they were underwater. You should know this problem may be a result of several reasons.

The headphones may produce underwater sounds due to faulty cables, not well-set equalizers, damage by moisture, accumulation of dirt, and over usage. However, these problems are easy to solve even at home.

This article seeks to explain the problems and their effective solutions. Keep reading the article to learn how to handle such issues in case they arise again.

Why Do My Headphones Sound As if They’re Underwater?

There are a majority of reasons that the headphones may sound if they’re underwater. Here we’ve highlighted some of the reasons.

1. Faulty TRRS cables

The Tip-Ring-Ring-Sleeve (TRRS) cable of the headphone is the weakest wire it has. The key factor of the TRRS is the transfer of electrical signals to the speakers. Due to continuous usage and constant stretching, the wire weakens over time, and in some cases, it sounds as if it’s underwater.

These cables are fragile, and they cause many sound issues. The cables are susceptible, so they don’t need a lot of damage to produce weird noises. TRRS cables may damage due to the deep insertion of the plug into the headphone socket. Therefore, you need to be extra careful when placing the jack into the headphone.


There’s no simple fix for a worn-out TRRS cable but to only buy another one. However, this may be a waste of cash. At this point, it’s better to purchase a new headphones.

2. Blown-out Speakers

You may wonder if blown-out speakers cause underwater noises, and they do. The sound production occurs when the voice coil encounters damage.

Every speaker contains a tiny component called a voice coil which vibrates and causes the production of the sound you hear. The voice coils can only manage a low amount of power, and overusing them may cause them to burst.

Playing the speakers at a very high volume for a long time can damage the speaker or lead to destruction. The speakers produce underwater sound when the speaker is partially damaged, but there’s no sound destruction.


Replacing a voice coil in a headphone isn’t such an easy task. The process is tiresome, and you may not be able to do it alone unless you have the technical know-how. You may repair the headphones if they cost much and you can’t easily replace them. For such a case, find a qualified technician to perform this task for you to avoid struggling.

3. Incorrect Equalizer

An equalizer allows you to change the volume of different frequencies within a particular audio. It changes the color of audio signals and allows you to control the audio file. Therefore, the mishandling of the equalizer may lead to terrible audio distortions like underwater sounds.

The equalizer is, by no doubt, the essential part of a musical kit. Your audio may appear more strong by increasing the treble or the bass.

However, the equalizer has many filters, and each filter causes a slight delay in the sound, ”Group delay.” The Group delay is the key cause of the distortion, which is why you hear underwater noises.


The best thing you can do is use the inbuilt amplifier software on your devices. If you think you may have tampered with it, worry less, as you may go back to the "normal" preset and choose your ideal sound.

If your device lacks an equalizer, you may consider installing a third-party equalizer. However, note that the third-party equalizer may not be optimized, and playing around with it may eventually cause underwater noises or damage.

4. Dirty Headphones

Dirty headphones don’t directly cause underwater, but the audio is muffled, which similarly looks like underwater noise.

Continuous headphone usage causes the accumulation of dust, lint, and soft ear wax in the seeker grill. Therefore, if you fail to clean the Headphones once a month, the dirt blocks the pores and prevents sound passage.

Many people listen to audio at high volumes because they can’t hear it due to dirt accumulation. This high-volume audio listening initially damages the voice coil, which consequently causes them to throw away the headphones.


To avoid further damage, you must clean the headphones once a month and maintain a clean ear.

Cleaning the headphones may be done in many ways, but you may choose to follow this:

  • Using a blower to blow off debris.
  • Wrapping some tape around a paper clip with the sticky side being outward. The tape
    removes very fine particles.
  • Place some isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab and roll it slowly on the headphones to
    remove the finest particles.

5. Moisture Damage

Moisture damage causes underwater sounds, only waterproof headphones can handle moisture, but the other types can’t. If these non-waterproof headphones aren’t dried immediately, the damage occurs in a few weeks, depending on internal circuitry damage.

You need waterproof headphones for people who like going outdoors and reside in humid areas. Excess sweating during working out causes internal circuit damage causing underwater noises.


You may fix water-affected parts by replacing the damaged ones, but this is only achievable for high-range headphones. In case you have low-mid-range headphones, you may need to purchase new ones.

However, you may reduce the damage by placing the headphones in direct sunlight for approximately 30 minutes to an hour. This may allow the headphones to give you service for a few more months but with low sound quality.

6. Updates to the PCs Operating System

The headphones sound as if they’re underwater if there’s a new update done on your PC. For such a problem, the best solution may be troubleshooting the hardware to discern the problem.


As stated above, when you hear underwater sounds that may be due to an update, the best course of action is troubleshooting.

Windows 10 contains an integrated troubleshooter for checking sound-related problems. You need to troubleshoot to know where the problem is from. The following is the route you may take for the troubleshooting process:

  • Press the PC’s windows key +X and choose the control panel
  • Proceed to the top right side of the screen and change the "view by" option to large
  • Here you need to locate and choose to troubleshoot. On the left screen, tap the "view
    all" option
  • You’ll then find the “play audio option” and select it to begin troubleshooting

Final thoughts

Headphones may produce underwater noises due to several issues, which you can manage to handle by the end of this article. However, if the above methods don’t solve some problems, you may need an experienced technician to handle the issue.

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