[Update: YouTube TV affected too] Google yet to address YouTube ads volume issue (ads way too loud than actual content) years down the line
New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…
Original story (published on November 24, 2020) follows:
The YouTube platform essentially functions on an advertising-supported revenue model wherein companies pay YouTube to display their ads, and in turn, YouTube pays the content creators based on their number of views.
It is a simple model with a harmonious relationship of sorts between the three above-mentioned parties.
The harmony part may not hold true for the average users though, as they are forced to watch multiple ads before and in-between most videos.
However, YouTube also offers a relatively cheap Premium membership for those who want to get rid of the annoying ads.
Not everyone wants to pay for the subscription though, and some of such users seem to be having a hard time putting up with the advertisements.
Complaints keep pouring in about how YouTube ads are way too loud, and they have been coming in for quite a long time.
Now, the most obvious fix for this issue would be to turn down the volume (duh!).
But no, that won’t work in this case, as YouTube ads aren’t just loud in general, but are loud when compared to the actual content that users watch. That too by an irritatingly large margin.
I really want Youtube to equalize the volume of advertisements to that of the video it is placed in. The difference can be enormous and sometimes hurts my ears. I know nobody can talk or complain to Youtube itself, but I needed to vent somewhere. My ears are still beeping from the latest sudden blast.
There are several instances of such complaints across YouTube forums and Reddit. Complainants say that they often get jump-scared when a loud ad begins playing suddenly, without any warning.
Several users also complained that such ads have ended up hurting their ears, which is understandable considering how wide the disparity in volume levels can get between actual content and ads.
Moreover, certain content on YouTube, by nature, have their overall volume low. An example can be ASMR videos. ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, is a pleasing sensation that ASMR videos aim to induce.
People often consume such content prior to sleep with their volume turned all the way up. A loud ad between content like this, no matter how short, can ruin the overall experience, let alone completely kill off a sleepy mood.
This is a problem for ASMR videos in particular. I enjoy using ASMR videos to go to sleep, but the ads are so much louder, and for ASMR, you NEED to have the volume up because that’s how you experience it. So when the sound goes from a whisper, to a high-volume, regular speaking voice, it not only shocks me and prevents me from sleeping, but it also hurts my ears.
The worst part is that there is seemingly nothing that can be done about the matter. Users still at least have a right to know about the reason behind the occurrence of this issue. And the good news is that we have an explanation.
So exactly why are YouTube ads this loud?
The first thing you need to know is audio dynamic range. Dynamic range is the average variation or range between the loudest noise and the quietest noise of any content’s audio.
For content like movies, or any type of video for that matter, the dynamic range is kept high. This may be done intentionally or unintentionally depending on the type of content.
However, advertisements are designed with the principle to grab people’s attention and to hold it for as long as possible.
Therefore, their dynamic range is deliberately kept low, that too at the highest possible volume levels to keep the audio loud at all times.
So, it is not by sheer ‘bad luck’ that users always bump into adverts/commercials that are way louder than the actual content. It is just that they are designed to be that way.
What should be done about the matter
What Google should do about the issue is adding an option to normalize YouTube’s audio, the kind that has been mentioned below. This will help even out the volume levels and will definitely ease most of the problems that users are having to face right now.
I found a little walkatound that can help you . Many smart TVs have function which is called “Volume normalisation” which levels out audio volume on all channels you are watching (or ads on channel). I have found this works on youtube as well.
It is sad that Google hasn’t addressed the issue even after a series of complaints that have spanned several years. For now, users can only give feedback to Google, and hope that they fix YouTube ads being too loud soon.
With that being said, be sure to also check out our dedicated YouTube bugs/issues tracker for further coverage on issues like these, and for some nice tips and tricks.
Update 1 (July 27, 2021)
Update 2 (July 13, 2022)
YouTube TV users are still experiencing the issue where ads are very loud, but support confirmed that the issue has been escalated.
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