What is headphone sensitivity? Understanding Specifications

There are so many questions that were asked to us, Among them we will discuss today- What is headphone sensitivity? What does mean by the sensitivity of an earphone or headphone? And how can I select a proper headphone from it’s specifications?

Sensitivity is the measure of effectiveness of an earphone/ headphone that converts an electrical signal into an acoustical signal. Sensitivity indicates how loud a headphone will sound when a specific voltage is applied.

It is measured in decibels per millivolt of sound pressure levels (abbr. dB/mW), Sensitivity is also used to describe the sound pressure level produced when a standard voltage level is supplied to reproduce sound. The more sensitivity , the louder and accurate sound can produce.

In general, sensitivity is a measure of how much pressure a person can tolerate in a certain situation. right? The same may be said with headphones. Your headphones are tuned to a specific range of Sound Pressure Level (SPL). The decibel scale is used to quantify sound in sensitivity (dB).

The headphone driver only takes in a limited amount of power while converting the electric signal to sound. When it comes to sensitivity, this power in mW (milliWatts) is employed to establish the SPL/mW.

What is Sensitivity in Headphones in short?

If you have a headphone with a higher Sensitivity, it requires less power (from the amp) to reach optimal listening levels. Hence, it’s more efficient.

If you have a headphone with a lower Sensitivity, it requires more power (from the amp) to reach optimal listening levels. Hence, it’s less efficient.

SummaryLow Sensitivity = Lots of power required.  More efficient
High Sensitivity = Less power required.  Less efficient

What is a good sensitivity for earphones?

The safe range for sensitivity of a headphone is 75 dB to 110 dB. The human ear can tolerate a maximum 100 decibels for 20 minutes or 110 decibels for 8 minutes.The higher the sensitivity is, the louder the sound you’ll get.

Thus, our recommendation, you should buy a headphone or an earphone with the sensitivity 95 dB to 100 dB for the best sound loudness.

Is higher or lower headphone sensitivity better?

The sensitivity of your headphones determines how loudly they will play audio at a given power level. If both headphones play audio from the same device, headphones with a higher sensitivity will be louder than headphones with a lower sensitivity.

In a room or home or noise free area, lower sensitivity is enough. But in a noisy environment like a party, busy road, traveling, club, for DJ etc., you need higher sensitivity headphones. Otherwise, you may not hear the sound properly.

Ultimately, Higher sensitivity is better than lower. Because it gives a wider area to use headphone.

What Is Microphone Sensitivity?

The output signal strength of a microphone per unit of sound pressure is indicated by its sensitivity rating.

The output ratings are usually expressed in millivolts AC (mV) or decibels per volt (dBV).

The sound pressure level is usually expressed in Pascals (Pa) or decibels of sound pressure level (dB SPL), though some older microphones use dyne/cm2.

The sensitivity of microphones is standardized and measured at a specific SPL and tone. The output signal is always measured with a 1,000 Hz tone at 1 Pascal (94 dB SPL) at the microphone capsule.1 Pascal (94 dB SPL) 1,000 Hz tone at the microphone capsule.

When subjected to the tone mentioned above, all microphone sensitivity ratings are given as the microphone’s output signal strength (in mV or dBV).

Knowing the mic’s sensitivity at 1 kHz doesn’t always mean you know how sensitive it is across the frequency spectrum. It does, however, give us a good idea of what the output signal strength will be.

How to Adjust Your Microphone’s Sensitivity?

Adjusting your headphone or earphone sensitivity is not fully on your hand. You can only change from your recording side, cann’t change microphone defalt capacity. For this the more sensitivity of microphone is the better for use.

Steps to Adjusting Microphone Sensitivity in Windows

  1. Click on the Start Menu from the left bottom of the computer screen.
  2. Type Sound and click on Sound Settings on the result list. Depending on your start menu settings or theme, you might just see Sound with a volume icon behind it.
  3. The Microphone Properties window will open. Navigate to the Recording tab.
  4. Double-click on your microphone. A window with four tabs will open. Navigate to Levels to higher.Alternativeyou can right click on the sound icon at the bottom right corner (notification area) and click on Open Sound settings.
  5. Select Input in the window that opens.
  6. Choose headphone mic, otherwise, Microphone (High Definition Audio Device) will be selected by default.
  7. Microphone properties will open. Slide to the Levels bar from left to right.
  8. Test the new settings by calling someone. You can go back to the Levels tab and adjust Microphone Boost if it goes better, but is still not what you need. It can improve the sensitivity of the microphone up to +30 dB.

Adjust Mic sensitivity on Android

Android phones have default feature to increase or decrease sensitivity. When the android default recorder is being used, this setting automatically will be applied. Nothing to do you. It will suppress volume or sensitivity when it detects any noise.


The sensitivity of a headphone concerns the loudness of your headphones at the power level. If your headphones are more sensitive, they are more loud than low sensitivity headphones, if both headphones are playing audio from the same device. It can be a smartphone, laptop, etc.

This is the basic element of any headphone and earphone specification. For the better result you should take a headphone with more than 90 dB of sensitivity. The higher sensitivity, the higher efficiency and low power will be consumed.

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