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What is Sound Leakage? (and how to test and reduce it)

What is Sound Leakage? (and how to test and reduce it)

Sound leakage is one of the most common issues that we face with our headphones. There are times when our headphones start leaking the sound, and it annoys most of the people.

And in case if you are facing some weird issues with your headphone sound.

Then there is a high chance that you are facing sound leakage. However, the question is, what is sound leakage, and how can you reduce it.

So let’s just head into the topic without wasting much of the time:

What is Headphone Sound Leakage?

Sound leakage is the effect when your music escapes from your headphones. And the outside world gets to hear it.

As a result, other people will get to listen to what kind of music you are listening to. It annoys most of the people. As they do not really want others to know what you are listening to.

Neither people sitting next to you wants to hear your kind of music.

Although, at lower volumes, sound leakage issue is hardly noticeable. But if you are listening to music at a higher level, then sound leakage is a common thing.

Also, you must know that on ear headphones usually makes more noise than the over ear headphones.

However, there is no headphone that offers you perfect noise isolation.

But the in-ear headphones usually quite good at this thing. Plus, you should know that fact that almost all the headphones face sound leakage issue or bleed.

Why headphones leak sound?

Headphones leak sound because some of the air vibrations leak through the ear cups and ear pads which are meant to stop it.

The higher the volume is, the more vibrations will happen, and it will leak through your headphones.

And it is almost impossible to stop sound leakage in headphones with limited material used in creating the headphone.

However, on the other hand, there are quite a lot of modern headphones that comes with sound absorbing materials to improve sound isolation. But still, there is a room for sound leakage.

Also, you should know that sound is basically air pressure that moves the air particles which our ears can sense.

So when you listen to loud music, it creates higher pressure and leads to hearing loss.

Why should you care about sound leakage in headphones?

Headphone sound leakage is a serious issue when you do not want to let others hear the music or videos that you are watching.

As it can be harassing. Also, if you travel a lot via public transport, then you obviously do not want to disturb others.

Plus, if the sound can leak out of your headphones. Then the outside noise can also break in.

As a result, you will be experiencing an awful listening experience.

Having a sense of privacy is extremely important. There are quite a lot of people who work at the office and loves to listen to music while working.

And if you are one of the office workers too, then you obviously do not want to let other employees get disturbed by your music.

Hence, you need to take the sound leakage issue seriously and try your best to fix it.

How to Test for Sound Leakage in Headphones?

So how to figure out if your headphone is facing sound leakage is or not? Well here are a few things that you can do to find this out:

First of all, you can borrow a headphone from your friend and check if you are getting sound leakage issue or not.

Or you can ask your friend to wear a headphone and play a song. Then simply next to him and see if you are getting any sound or not.

The best way to check this would be doing it in a quiet room. This way, you will be able to figure out easily.

However, the good part is that you will not need any special equipment to measure the sound leakage. You have to rely on your senses only.

Also, while testing makes sure to play different genres of music. As there is a high chance that some of the music genres might make more vibration than the others.

Plus, do increase the volume and see if you are getting any sound or not.

Even if you find any sound leakage, make sure to alternate your position with your friend. This way, you will be able to get a complete idea of whether your headphone is leaking sound or not.

How can you tell if your headphones are leaking sound?

Apart from the test with your friend, you can also record the sound leakage with a microphone. To do so, you will have to follow these steps:

  • First of all, set up a microphone for recording. You can use your phone to do so.
  • Put on your headphones then play your music.
  • After that increase the volume slowly.
  • And later listen to the recording and see how everything is working for you.

This way, you will easily be able to figure out whether your headphone is leaking sound or not.

Even you can keep your hands over the earcups and check if you feel any vibration or not. This is another way to look for the leakage. But the results will not be as accurate is getting the feedback from your friend or sound recording.

Sound Leak Test

What type of headphones leaks the most?

Now the question is what kind of headphones leaks the most? Well here are some of the top headphones types:

  • The open back headphones considered to have the worst sound leakage issue because of the design of it. It comes with open to air design which does not block the air vibration.
  • Then there are the semi open headphones which are a close second and a bit better than the fully open headphones. But they still leak a lot of sounds.
  • In the end, the closed back headphones leak the least amount of sound.

Also, the good part is that in today’s time, most of the headphones are closed back. As this is what most of the users prefer.

But there are still people who go for open-back headphones who loves to listen to music at their point where sound leaking is not an issue.

How Does Sound Leakage Affect Headphone Performance?

Now the question is, how does sound leakage affect headphone performance? Headphones with high sound leakage give you a better sense of specious sound.

And you can only experience this thing using the open-back and semi-open headphones. Even this is what preferred by most of the audiophiles.

But on the other hand, there are people who prefer closed back headphones. As it offers, low sound leakage. So you can keep your music to yourself and maintain your privacy.

Sound leakage is directly connected with noise isolation. As a result, you will not get the best listening experience.

Passive noise isolation blocks sound in and out. Also, you must know that isolation is not the same thing as noise canceling.

Music escaping out is also known as sound leakage.

Heavy bleed is not preferred by most of the people. But on the other hand, it brings up better audio quality, and that is why most of the people accept it.

Open headphones do not block the music inside the ear cups. Instead, the sound is more natural and gives you a better impression.

Like if you are listening to the orchestra, you would get to hear where the music instrument is placed. Hence, you would get a whole new listening experience.

On the other hand, the closed headphones keep the air vibration inside the ear cups only.

Why is Reducing Headphone Sound Leakage Important?

Reducing sound leakage is extremely important if you care about your privacy. And you do not wish to bother people sitting next to you with your music.

You can simply pick a headphone with low leakage for your office. This way, you will not have to disturb your coworkers.

What can you do to reduce sound leakage in your headphones?

What can you do to reduce sound leakage in your headphones

There are different things that you can do to reduce sound leakage in your headphones. First of all, you can change the earpads of the headphone. There are quite a lot of replaceable pads available that comes with more isolation. Simply purchase them and replace with the existing ones.

Also, for in-ear headphones/earbuds you can put on memory-foam ear tips which are substantially better at keeping the music in.

And in case if your headphone goes through some damages. Then check if you can repair it or not. Else, getting a new headphone would be the best option.

Overall, apart from these things, there are not too many things that you can do. As the sound leakage depends on a lot of things. So go ahead and try different things and see if you can stop the sound leakage or not.