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How to use Alexa's adaptive volume on your Amazon Echo

Alexa can now use her outside voice. Here's how to enable adaptive volume for your Amazon Echo speakers and Alexa app.

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Chris Monroe/CNET

If you find yourself screaming at Alexa over the barking dog, the squealing children or the ridiculous volume at which your father insists on listening to the TV, Alexa is up to the challenge. Adaptive Volume, a new feature for Amazon's voice assistant, is now available in the US.

The feature gives Alexa the ability to respond to questions at a higher volume when loud background noise is detected. It's a handy option that is surprisingly late to the game, given that Alexa has known how to whisper for some time now. 

Adaptive Volume ensures you'll be able to hear the answer to the question your family is arguing about or hear your to-do list rattled off loudly enough that you won't miss anything while the dog is barking. 

The feature is optional, of course. It's off by default, but you can enable it by saying, "Alexa, turn on Adaptive Volume" or by setting it up in the app. Here's how to enable it from your Alexa app: 

  • From the Alexa app, tap More.
  • Next, tap Settings.
  • Under Alexa Preferences, tap Voice Responses.
  • There, you'll see three toggles: Brief Mode, Whisper Mode and the new Adaptive Volume. Toggle Adaptive Volume to enable it. 
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Brief Mode adjusts Alexa to speak less and offer shorter responses or sounds instead of voice responses. With Whisper Mode enabled, Alexa will respond to your whispered question or request with a whisper-level voice.

If you don't whisper and don't have Adaptive Volume enabled, Alexa will default to the volume level of your speaker. 

Adaptive Mode rounds out the options for adjusting Alexa to make your voice assistant as chatty and loud as your environment requires.