Amazon has launched a new Alexa feature called Adaptive Volume which causes the voice assistant to respond more loudly when it detects a noisy environment, as spotted by The Verge. When enabled, the option, essentially, allows Alexa to override the current volume setting of the device by temporarily increasing the output volume for that one interaction if background noise is detected.
The new feature is off by default and you can turn it on by saying “Alexa, turn on adaptive volume.” The setting is account-specific, so, turning it on through one Alexa device will result in the feature being turned on across all of your Alexa devices. That said, the feature seems to only be for Alexa smart speakers, like Echos and Echo Dots, and smart displays, like Echo Shows. It does not work on all Alexa devices, like Fire TVs.
You can also enable or disable the feature through the Alexa app under Settings > Voice Responses. It does not seem as though the new Adaptive Volume feature will cause Alexa to respond at a lower volume if, for example, the device’s volume is cranked up high but the environment is extra quiet. For that scenario, you can instead use Whisper Mode, which causes Alexa to whisper its response if you whisper to Alexa. Whisper Mode can be enabled in the same Voice Responses section of the Alexa app’s settings, as well as Follow Up Mode.