Keep hearing a wind noise sound in your left/right ear with your Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones?
One of the issues faced ever since I’ve bought my pair of Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones is the often rustling or scratching noise that you hear inside one of the ear cups.
The noise is only heard when you enable Active Noise Cancellation for the headphones and is not there when you allow Ambient Sound mode.
Although, for the price that the headphones entail, it’s frustrating that you can use the headphones for noise cancellation without hearing the frustrating and painful sound, especially when you’re trying to focus on your work.
After much trial and error, in this guide, we will share with you a few solutions which have both minimized the wind noise heard with your Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones as well as provide you with steps on what you can do about should this issue get worse.
Let’s jump right in.
- Update Your Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones
- Clean the Ear Cups on Headphones
- Soft Reset the Headphones
- Factory Reset the Headphones
- Downgrade Your Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones Firmware
- Have the Headphones Replaced
1. Update Your Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones.
Just like all your other devices, your Sony headphones also come with frequent updates that need to manually installed via the Headphones app (which can be found on both iOS and Android).
It’s essential that you complete the updates because Sony often releases a lot of patches that fix issues such as the wind noise you’re experiencing with your headphones now as well as various other issues.
Here’s how you can update your Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones, step-by-step:
- Before you proceed to download and install the latest updates, please make sure that you have the following:
- Your Android device (V5.0 or later) or an iOS device (iOS 11.0 or later). If your device is lower than the stated versions, then you will not be able to proceed with the update.
- An active internet connection. You can check your internet connection stability by heading over to Speedtest.net.
- The latest version of the Sony | Headphones Connect app installed on your Android or iOS device.
- The headphones are connected to your Android or iOS device from which you are going to proceed with the update.
- Lastly, do NOT “Charge the battery” or “Power off” while downloading/transferring data or updating. Otherwise, the headphones may become unusable.
- Great! Once you have those, simply open the Sony | Headphones Connect app on your device.
- If you have never connected your device before to the Sony | Headphones Connect app, then simply follow the on-screen instructions to set it up.
- Once you’ve connected, you should see the screen showing that your headphones are connected with your device.
- Now, do you see a Headphone update available notice? (as shown below) This means that a headphone update is available and you will want to complete it. Tap on More Info.
- You will be shown the Headphone update available screen along with the latest update available. Tap on OK to begin the update.
- The download will start, and you should be able to see it on the screen too.
For iOS devices, if you see a [Bluetooth Pairing Request] message, make sure to tap on Pair. This is just a precautionary extra step before the update resumes.
- At this point, the updating process is ongoing and can take up to 60 minutes for it to complete. Sometimes this is lesser depending on how big of an update it is. Again, it is crucial that you do NOT turn off your device or the headphones, unpair the Bluetooth headphones or do anything. This can cause the update to fail and may even cause the headphones to be unusable.
Additionally, make sure to leave both your device and the headphones close together in a safe place since the update is wirelessly being downloaded and installed from your device onto the headphones. The further you keep both of those devices apart, the slower the updating process can be and result in a failure. Keep them close.
- Once the update is complete, you will be shown a message that says “Software update complete”, which you can simply tap on OK.
That’s pretty much all there is to updating the headphones. It’s a good idea to always check the headphones app from time-to-time for any available updates to be installed.
You can test your headphones now to see if the wind noise (rustling sound) in your headphones is gone. If it is gone, then great! The update worked to fix the issue. However, it is not gone and still present then proceed onto the next few methods on what you can do about it.
2. Clean the Ear Cups on Headphones.
It’s also possible that if you had any liquid droplets or dust getting into your ear cups, it’s not uncommon to encounter such sound issues with the headphones.
Something that a lot of users would do is wear the headphone right after taking a shower where the ears are still wet. In which case, the water can get into the ear cups and muddle up the sound.
The best option to resolve this is to clean the earcups of the headphones. What you can do is take a small dry microfiber cloth and then gently wipe down the ear cups.
Then you can take a Q-tip (or cotton bud, some may call it) and then use it to clean the nooks and crevices of the ear cups.
If you are also someone who uses their headphones throughout the entire day, then try leaving it to dry on some paper towels before reusing them.
It’s also good practice to always wipe your ears first to prevent sweat and water from getting into the earcups when you wear the headphones.
3. Soft Reset the Headphones.
There are two ways to reset the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones: 1) soft resetting 2) factory resetting.
The latter of which we will get into the next section, but for now, let’s talk about how you can go about soft resetting your headphones. By soft resetting your headphones, you can remove any temporary malfunction with the headset.
Hence, if you have not restarted the headphones already, then here’s how you do it:
- Press down on both the Power button and the NC/AMBIENT button on your headphones simultaneously while charging.
- The headset will be reset. Unlike factory resetting, the device registration (pairing) information will NOT be deleted.
- You should be able to hear “Power On” once the headphones have restarted.
Finally, test your headphones to see if the issue persists. If the issue is still there, then move onto the next method to factory reset the headphones.
4. Factory Reset the Headphones.
Several users over on the Sony community forums have reported that after factory resetting their XM3s, that the wind/rustling noise stopped occurring.
A factory reset can be an effective solution as it helps reset all of your volume settings, EQ, device pairing information, etc. back to how you first got it. By starting from scratch, you will be handling the headphones just like they’re new, and you can set up everything again, which may fix the noise issues in the process.
Here’s how you factory reset your Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones:
- Firstly, turn off the headset by pressing on the Power button on the headphones until you hear “Power Off”. Also, make sure that you’re not charging or connected using the USB Type-C cable.
- Now, press and hold down on both the Power button and the NC/AMBIENT button simultaneously for 7 seconds or more. You will see the blue indicator flash four times (🔵🔵🔵🔵).
- Finally, reconnect with your headset once again and set it up so that it works.
Once again, test your headphones to see if the issue is still present after using the headphone with Active Noise Cancellation turned on.
5. Downgrade Your Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones Firmware.
Some users on Reddit have also reported that by downgrading the firmware of their headphones that it managed to fix the issue.
We don’t recommend that you do it because it can put your headphones into risk, which can result in it being bricked and even void your warranty. However, if you don’t mind the risk, then the below information should assist you in doing so.
If you do not wish to do this method, then skip to Method 6 to understand how you can claim your warranty on your headphones and hopefully get it replaced with new ones.
The steps on how to downgrade your headphones are pretty lengthy (16 steps) but credit to Redditor u/FormalDetail5, who shared the steps on how to downgrade the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones.
The steps are pretty lengthy (16 steps), and we will link the textfiles (.txt) below for you to refer. The textfiles also contain the scripts to downgrade the firm along with the steps.
- https://paste.ubuntu.com/p/2zjKxxhsKv/ (try this one if the above doesn’t work)
Here’s the official source Reddit thread:
6. Have Your Headphones Replaced
Perhaps the best course of action you can take if you still find that you hear the rustling wind noise with your Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones despite trying all of the methods above is to reach out to Sony and have them either fixed or replaced.
Sony offers door-to-door pick up where you can just submit a service appointment, and they can pick up the item from your doorstep and then send it into their repairs center for inspection.
If they deem that there is an issue with the headphones, they will have it replaced.
Several users who have had the similar problem have claimed that they have spoken to Sony and had their units sent in. Some had their units fixed, whereas others even had them exchanged for new ones for free.
You can also use their online live chat to obtain further advice on what can be done to fix the issue. It’s most likely that the noise issue is a result of some hardware malfunction with the headphones whenever the ‘Active Noise Cancellation’ mode is enabled.
For now, the above methods should help provide some sort of direction on how to go about the issue.
That’s all for now. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them below, and we will try our best to help you out.
P.S. If you do find another solution that has worked for your Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones, then feel free to share it below in the comments, and we will credit you in this guide when we update it. 😀
If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂
I had a constant static noise mainly in the right ear of my WH-1000XM3. The only resolution I found was to untick the focus on voice option in the Ambient sound control settings.