Amazon’s new 'adaptive volume' cranks up Alexa's voice when it’s noisy

Alexa will speak above the surrounding noise

Alexa
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Amazon has released a new feature for Alexa to help you hear what the popular voice assistant is saying in noisy environments. Alexa owners will probably know only too well the dread of Alexa misfiring after not hearing one of your voice commands. 

It’s a recurrent issue with Alexa-powered devices, like the Amazon Echo, because they're commonly used in environments prone to raucous activities like, say, your living room or a bustling kitchen. Because you can’t simply just dial down the volume of these heavily frequented spaces, Amazon has taken the other route and rolled out a new feature called Adaptive Volume, forcing Alexa to speak louder if it detects a lot of ambient noise in the surrounding area.

In comments to The Verge, Amazon said that its aim is to provide a proper means through which Alexa users can ensure their voice commands are heard by the voice assistant – even in rowdy environments like the office and home. Currently, Amazon has only made adaptive volume available to its US-based customers, but hopefully the feature will roll out to other countries sometime soon. 

Activating the feature is quite simple: just say, “Alexa, turn on adaptive volume,” to enable the smart assistant's new noise-defying capabilities. The jury is still out on how effectively the feature will let Alexa cope with crowded environments, especially those replete with very loud noises and other vociferous utterances (and, yes, that’s me finally getting to use ‘vociferous’ in a sentence). We'll have to wait and see.

A noisy affair 

Interestingly, adaptive volume isn’t the first we’ve seen from tech companies trying to improve the best smart speakers’ effectiveness in clamorous settings. The Google Nest Audio already benefits from Ambient IQ, which enhances the sound of your spoken media by continuously adapting to your environment.

Amazon's Alexa-powered smart speakers are without a doubt a fantastic gadget to have around the house. They form the nucleus of many users' smart home setups, with their ability to connect and control many devices together like the best smart security devices. If you're sold on an Alexa-controlled smart home setup, we've compiled a list of the best Amazon Echo deals to help you pick a device that's ready-made for your smart home.

Luke Wilson
Luke Wilson

Luke covers all things tech at T3. Disc golf enthusiast, keen jogger, and fond of all things outdoors (when not indoors messing around with gadgets)