Headset Mic Not Working? Here Are 6 Foolproof Solutions

Headset mic error on Windows PC
Headset mic error on Windows PC

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Discover six nifty ways to fix your headset not working on Windows.

Headsets offer the convenience of having headphones and a mic in one, making them an excellent choice for gamers and professionals alike.

However, confusing hardware and audio settings in Windows can cause problems like undetected microphones or no sound.

In this article, we’ll cover six hacks to fix your headset mic not working on Windows, plus how to change your input levels to make your mic volume louder or softer. Let’s dive in.

1. Check Your Headset

Even if you have the correct permissions and audio settings, your mic won’t work correctly if the issue stems from your headset. Before doing any troubleshooting steps, try checking if your headset is working properly using the following checklist:

  • Make sure your microphone isn’t muted: Some headsets have a dedicated mute button that can override your Windows settings. If this is active, your microphone won’t work even if your audio settings show your mic is unmuted.
  • Make sure your headset is properly plugged in: You may encounter input issues if your headset isn’t plugged in properly. To prevent this, ensure you feel a tactile click when plugging your connector into the headphone jack, indicating it’s securely connected. You can also try directly plugging the headset into your PC rather than using a hub.
  • Check your headset’s compatibility with your PC: Make sure your headset plug matches your PC’s audio jack; otherwise, you won’t be able to connect your headset to your PC. Additionally, check if your PC uses separate plugs for input and output, as this setup requires additional steps before you can connect your headset.
  • Make sure your headset mic isn’t faulty: Your mic may not be working because it’s already broken. Try plugging your headset into a different device and testing the mic to confirm it works.

2. Set Your Headset Mic as the Default Input Device

Sometimes, Windows doesn’t automatically switch input devices even after you plug in an audio device. If your input device is set to a different source, it will fail to pick up your voice, making it seem like your headset mic isn’t working.

Setting your headset mic as the default input device solves this issue. Here’s how:

  1. Right-click the Speakers icon at the bottom right, then select Sound settings.
  2. Scroll down to Input. Look for your headset under Choose a device for speaking or recording, and click the radio button beside its name.
    If you can’t find your headset under the list of Input devices, scroll down to Advanced > More sound settings > Recording, right-click anywhere, and select Show Disabled Devices.

    Setting the headphones' mic as the default recording device.
    Setting the headphones’ mic as the default recording device.

If you’re using Windows 1o, after opening Sound settings and scrolling down to input, you’ll find a drop-down box under Choose your input device instead. Select your headset to make it your default input device.

3. Allow Apps to Access Your Headset Mic

As a security feature, Windows allows users to prevent all apps from accessing the mic. If this setting is enabled, your headset mic won’t work with any application until you change your permission settings.

Follow these steps to update your permission settings to allow apps to use your headset mic:

  1. Right-click Start and click Settings.
  2. Go to Privacy and Security and scroll down to App permissions > Microphone.
    In Windows 10, this option is only called Privacy.
  3. Slide the toggle for Let apps access your microphone to On. You may also look at the apps under Let apps access your microphone and provide access to specific apps where you have trouble using your headset mic.

    Letting apps access your microphone..
    Letting apps access your microphone..

Browsers, like Google Chrome, allow you to deny specific websites from using your mic.

To allow mic access to websites you’ve blocked previously, click the three dots on the browser’s upper right side > Settings > Privacy and Security > Site settings > Microphone. Under Not allowed to use your microphone, select a website to change its permissions.

4. Close Other Apps

Your mic may stop working when multiple apps simultaneously request exclusive access. You can quickly fix this by going through your open apps and closing the ones you aren’t using.

If you cannot close an app, right-click the taskbar and select Task Manager. Find the app from the list, click it, then click End task to force close it.

5. Update Your Audio Driver

An outdated or corrupted audio driver may cause problems with audio devices connected to your PC, such as your headset and mic. Fortunately, updating or reinstalling your audio driver can quickly fix this problem.

These steps will guide you through searching for updated drivers, as well as re-installing your existing drivers if they’ve become corrupted:

  1. Right-click Start and select Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers dropdown menu and right-click your headset mic. Select Properties.
  3. Go to the Driver tab and click on Update Driver.
  4. Select Search automatically for drivers.

    Updating your Windows Audio Driver.
    Updating your Windows Audio Driver.
  5. If no driver updates are available, click Uninstall Device to remove the existing drivers. Then, unplug/disconnect your headset and reconnect it to your PC to force the drivers to download again.

6. Run the Troubleshooter

Windows automatically comes with different troubleshooters that scan for problems and recommend fixes. You can use the Audio troubleshooter to find potential errors preventing your mic from working with Windows, and the steps to fix them.

Here’s how to troubleshoot your audio on Windows:

  1. Right-click the speaker icon on the right side of the taskbar.
  2. Click on Troubleshoot sound problems.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to find and resolve any issues.

    Running the audio troubleshooter on Windows PC
    Running the audio troubleshooter on Windows PC
Windows will retire its troubleshooters and the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) starting the next Windows 11 update. The MSDT will be replaced by the Get Help app, which can be used to troubleshoot your issues moving forward.

What to Do if Your Headset Mic Volume Is Too Low on Windows PC

Your mic volume is affected by your input level. When your input levels are decreased, your mic volume may sound much lower than the volume of your voice when you speak.

Follow these steps to adjust your mic input levels:

  1. Right-click the speaker icon at the lower right side of your screen. Click Sound settings.
  2. Scroll down to Advanced and select More Sound Settings.
  3. Go to recording and right-click on your headset name. Select Properties.
  4. Head to the Levels tab and move the slider to your desired input level. The default input level is usually at 100%.
  5. Click OK to finalize the change.

    Adjusting the microphone level.
    Adjusting the microphone level.
If you’re using Windows 10, right-click the speaker icon > Open sound settings. Under Input, you’ll see a link to Device properties. You can move the Volume slider to change the input levels for your mic.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I test my headset microphone?

To test your headset microphone, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the speaker icon on the lower right side of your screen, and click Sound settings.
  2. Scroll down to Input and select your headset.
    On Windows 10, select Device properties instead, then click Test under the Volume slider.
  3. Look for Test your microphone and click on Start test.
You can also enable mic monitoring to check your input in real time and monitor your volume and audio quality.

Why is my PC not detecting my headset mic?

When your PC fails to detect your headset mic, this is often due to a loose connection between your headset and device. This happens when the headset isn’t plugged in correctly, or there are hardware issues or debris in the jack, preventing you from fully plugging your headset in.

What should I do if there’s static in the headset mic?

Hearing static in your headset mic is usually caused by loose connections or wire damage for wired headsets or Bluetooth interference for wireless headsets. To prevent this problem, always ensure a stable connection between your headset and PC. This means plugging your headset properly, checking for damage to headphone wires, and removing sources of interference.

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