If you notice that your AirPods are getting quieter, they might not be dying a slow death – no, it may be your own natural earwax clogging up the works. Lovely! Quartz has a tip for cleaning them, but it’s not for the squeamish.
The tip comes from a 2014 post from Apple’s Communities forum, where a user noticed that their left earpod was quieter than the right, wondering, “am I deaf in my left ear, or is my earpod generally broken?” User Frankie 1413 suggested:
To fix your sound issue, take a softly bristled clean toothbrush. You can then carefully brush the larger opening of the Earpod. Then, (bear with me) suck on the larger opening until you can feel that you are causing air to come through. Then, brush again. This should solve your issue. The main reason why this has happened is ears with an exesesive [sic] amount of wax that melts into the earbud.
I’m trying to bear with you, Frankie. I’m trying. Luckily, I don’t have any clogged up AirPods requiring a game of suck-and-blow. Quartz’s Kira Bindrim did, though, and tried Frankie’s approach. Her response? “Perfect sound restored. The bass is bass-y anew. (Did I essentially make out with my AirPods? Sure. But I will not apologise for it.)”