How To Fix Headphones That Sound Like They Are Underwater? Explained

I have been using my Steelseries Arctis 3 Console edition headphones for some time. But now, they started producing distorted sounds. However, for videos, the music works great, but the audio is like coming from underwater. And same goes for gaming, where half of the sound is muted. In this regard, my mind makes me busy thinking, How To Fix Headphones That Sound Like They Are Underwater?

The reasons for the underwater sound production by headphones are many. But the prominent ones result due to the output of faulty cables, damaged drivers, corrupted sound cards, and falsely equalizer settings. The problem can be fixed by hardware troubleshooting, keeping the headphones from moisture, and avoiding using them at high volumes, for it causes the speakers to blow.

In this section, I will mention how to fix the headphone’s underwater sounds from Bluetooth headphones and PCs. Further, you will know in detail the main factors that are as vital to consider as to correct them.

Why Do My Headphones Sound Like They’re Underwater? 4 Factors To Consider

Imagine you sit at the computer table and find out that your headphones do not let you enjoy your leisure time, rather than transferring only distorted sound into your ears. You will feel annoyed. For that, I will mention the significant factors that will help you discover why headphones deliver dampened sounds.

Faulty Cables

The cables transfer electrical signals from the source to your ears or within the headphones are TRRS cables. Unfortunately, these cables are so delicate that they can break from weak handlings, like sudden stretching or jerking. Extreme usage can also cause them to produce sounds underwater.

Damaged Drivers

Do you know? Headphone drivers play an essential role in delivering accurate sounds. Damaged drivers not only make the sound worse but also reduce the transferring capacity of signals from the source to the receiver. 

The primary function the drivers are responsible for performing is to convert the analog signal into an electrical signal that your ears can then hear. If there is a mistake in signal conversion, the sound becomes distorted.

Corrupted Sound Card

The sound card is an essential component in situations when you connect your wired headphones to a computer or PC. Attaching a corrupted sound card to the device to process and deliver sound could generate dampened sounds and affect the sound quality.

Incorrect Equalizer Settings

What does an equalizer do? It lets you control the volumes and adjust the audio file frequencies to enjoy rich bass and increased trebles. Mishandling with the device equalizer settings produces muffled sounds.

How Do I Fix The Muffled Sound On Windows 10?

If you are a Windows 10 user like me, who recently updated it, it may prove another cause for distorted sounds. When all the methods go in vain, or you only want an authentic method for this problem, go ahead with hardware troubleshooting. The following steps are: 

  • Press the PC’s windows key+X, and click the Control Panel.
  • Look for the large icons to change the view on the top right of the screen
  • Click on troubleshooting, and select the option view all on the left panel of the screen
  • Select the Audio playing option to start troubleshooting.

Windows 10 has a built-in troubleshooter, explicitly used to fix sound issues. It provides an efficient way to locate where the issue arises. If it is the outcome of an updated window, undo it to retrieve the old one.

How To Fix Audio That Sounds Underwater?

Another main factor of the underwater sound of headphones is the faulty sound card; you need to uninstall the old one and opt for replacement with a new and updated sound card. You can also do it on windows 10 by following specific steps:

  • Press the PC’s windows key+X
  • Click on the Device Manager from the list
  • Look for the sound driver and right-click it, and select uninstall.
  • Restart the PC, and search for the updated sound card from its manufacturer’s website
  • Install the new driver

During the uninstallation process, you might encounter the option of deleting drivers. I suggest eliminating the corrupted sound cards from the device.

Why Do My Bluetooth Headphones Sound Like They Are Underwater?

You must fix their underwater sound to make the best use of the headphones. Not only will the problem affect the sound transmission and reception, but it will also make it frustrating for you to use them for gaming or listening to music. In this section, I will mention some essential tips to fix weird sounds from headphones.

  • Replace the voice coil of the speakers
  • Download third-party software 
  • Replace the TRRS cable
  • Keep the equalizer setting at optimum levels
  • Find a good-quality audio source

Every headphone, whether wired, Bluetooth, or wireless, reacts differently to the factors I have already mentioned above and thus produces different types of irritating sounds, or say they are underwater. Some easy methods to apply on all these headphones to resolve the issue.

Moisture Protection

Most headphones are not incorporated with an IP rating to resist water splashes or climatic conditions like raindrops or humidity. For this, moisture does affect the audio production of these headphones as the internal circuit collapses.

However, there were several times in which I also forgot to remove headphones from the pocket of my jeans before washing them. The easy steps you can follow to protect them from mixture damage.

  • Damp the cloth with 91% isopropyl alcohol and glide on the surface of the headphones.
  • Insert the headphones in the rice bowl for 12 hours
  • If you notice sogginess, keep them in direct sunlight for 1-2 days.

Debris / Dirty Headphones

In general, dirty headphones do not cause muffled sounds but are so piled up with debris that they sound almost underwater. Furthermore, you have to raise the volume due to the underlying wax.

It can trigger the mechanism to many folds and thus destroy the speakers’ voice coil. For that, it is critical to clean the headphones to protect the audio quality of sounds.

Following are the steps that I followed in cleaning my headphones.

  • Wipe away the accumulated dirt with a cotton swab absorbed in isopropyl alcohol
  • Blow off solid pieces of dirt by compressed air can
  • Stick the tape around the paperclip with its adhesive parts facing outside and clean the leftover debris particles.


Why do my headphones sound like I’m underwater?

The primary reason for the headphones’ muffled sounds is how you plug the cables into the headphone socket. Be aware of inserting them too deep or loosely. In both cases, you cannot get your desired sound. In the case of Bluetooth headphones, you will feel distorted sounds due to incompatible codecs.

How Do I Fix Bluetooth Distorted Sound?

When Bluetooth headphones are connected to a PC, they may experience a loose connection between two devices and may become the victim of producing sounds like they are underwater.

In that case, you have to check for the drivers’ update available on the website and reset the connection between devices, toggle the module on the PC or tablet, turn the Bluetooth off for 15 seconds, and again connect it by turning on the Bluetooth.

Why Does My iPhone Audio Sound Like It’s Underwater?

Smartphones, when met with a loose connection from the other end, may sound like they are underwater. It is due to the slow internet speed or the attachment between the two devices formed by faulty equipment.

Conclusion | How To Fix Headphones That Sound Like They Are Underwater?

The usage of headphones is directly dependent on the audio quality of sounds. Sometimes there are minor faults due to your carelessness that causes underwater sound, or technical faults like faulty wiring or burnt voice coils trigger this problem. In this section, I have mentioned some methods to fix the headphones that sound like they are underwater. Please read the article and make the best use of it.

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