How to Fix Headset Mic Not Working on PC, Mac, Xbox, and PS4

Glitching headphone mic
Glitching headphone mic

Is your headset mic not working? Find out how to fix it using one of the solutions outlined in this article.

Communication is key when playing any online multiplayer game. To win, you and your teammates need to work together. Without your mic, you can’t make call-outs unless you type it into in-game chat, which takes time.

Your mic also enables you to chat with friends. The banter with your friends during a match is half the fun. What good is having a gaming headset if you can only listen-in on the conversations happening?

Well, this article will cover the various reasons why your headset mic isn’t working, as well as how you can go about fixing it. Read on to find the solutions to a headset mic that just won’t work.

Why Is Your Headset Mic Not Working

Glitching headphone mic
Glitching headphone mic

Before you can find a solution, you have to know what is causing the problem. If you don’t, you may spend hours troubleshooting something that has nothing to do with the problem in the first place. Therefore, you should go through the below troubleshooting steps to identify where the issue originates.

Test the headphones with another device

You can quickly figure out what is causing the problem by testing the headset mic with another device. If it works in another device, perhaps the problem sits with the device it was initially connected to.

Alternatively, you can also try connecting a different headset to your device to ensure it’s working correctly. Even a pair of earbuds with a microphone will work.

Unmute

Accidentally leaving your mic muted is more common than you think. In fact, it’s so common that some manufacturers include a feature that plays a small beep periodically to remind you that your mic is muted.

Make it a habit to check if your mic is muted, as fixing this is as easy as pushing a button.

Check hardware compatibility

To the untrained eye, the jack point at the end of your headset cable probably looks the same as any other. Therefore, it’s easy to spend your time looking at other reasons why it’s not working. But, the type of jack point you’re using can actually determine whether you can use your mic at all.

A jack with pointers showing the different conductors.
A jack with pointers showing the different conductors.

The jack can be one of three main plug types: TS, TRS, or TRRS. Each type is identified by how many rings appear on the jack.

  • TS plugs – One black ring and cannot support mics,
  • TRS plugs – Two black rings and can only support either audio or microphone input at a time
  • TRRS plugs – Three black rings and can support both audio and microphone input using the same plug.

If you’re using a TRS plug in a TRRS socket, you will lose mic functionality. The same will happen if you’re using a TRRS plug in a TRS socket. Check what type of socket your device is using, then see what type of plug your headset is using.

Connect the headset properly

When connecting your plug to the connector, you should feel a tactile click that indicates it’s securely connected. The plug should also feel secure even when the cable is slightly pulled.

If the plug is being pulled out too easily, or if it’s falling out, it could be the result of a loose headphone jack. In fact, a loose headphone jack could be the cause behind the mic not working, as the jack conductors may not be making contact.

You can often fix this problem yourself using the solutions outlined in this guide to fixing a loose headphone jack.

How to Fix Headset Mic Not Working in Windows PC

There are various reasons why your headset mic may not be working when connecting to a Windows computer. If you’ve isolated the issue to your computer, go through the below solutions to restore mic functionality.

Set your headset mic as the default input

If your headset mic is not set to the default input, your computer may be prioritizing another input device over the one you want to use. This ultimately renders your headset mic unusable. You can fix this by setting your headset mic as the default input device.

Here’s how:

  1. Right-click the Speakers icon at the bottom right, then click Open Sound settings.

    Opening the Sound settings.
    Opening the Sound settings.

  2. Click Sound Control Panel.

    Accessing the Sound Control panel.
    Accessing the Sound Control panel.

  3. Select the Recording tab and right-click your headset mic. Click Set as Default Device.

    Setting the headset mic as the Default Device.
    Setting the headset mic as the Default Device.

Increase your headset mic volume

It could be that your headset mic is connected and working but the volume is so low that nobody can hear you. Windows allows you to control the volume of your mic so that it’s not too loud or too low for those who hear you.

You can fix this by manually adjusting the volume of your headset mic using the below steps.

  1. Right-click the Speakers icon again and click Open Sound settings.

    Opening the Windows Sound settings.
    Opening the Windows Sound settings.

  2. Click Sound Control Panel.

    Accessing the Sound Control Panel.
    Accessing the Sound Control Panel.

  3. Select the Recording tab. Right-click your headset mic and click Properties.

    Accessing the mic Properties.
    Accessing the mic Properties.

  4. Go to the Levels tab and ensure the mic volume is high.

    Adjusting the mic volume slider.
    Adjusting the mic volume slider.

Permit microphone access

As a security feature, Windows allows you to prevent apps from using your mic by denying them access. If apps are being denied access to the mic, your mic will not work with any application installed on your computer.

Some applications also require explicit permission to use your microphone. Google Chrome, for instance, often requires users to click a prompt if the website you’re visiting requires mic privileges, even if Windows allows it by default.

Fix this by updating your permission settings to allow your application to use the headset mic.

  1. Right-click Start and click Settings.

    Opening the Windows Settings.
    Opening the Windows Settings.

  2. Click Privacy.

    Going into Privacy settings.
    Going into Privacy settings.

  3. From the left panel, click Microphone.

    Accessing the Microphone settings.
    Accessing the Microphone settings.

  4. Ensure the Allow apps to access your microphone setting is set to On.

    Allowing apps to access the mic.
    Allowing apps to access the mic.

Close other apps

Other apps that are open and attempting to take control of your mic can cause the mic to stop working. This is because some apps request exclusive access to the mic. This can easily be fixed by going through the apps you have open and closing those that you aren’t using.

If you’re trying to close an app and it isn’t working, right-click the taskbar and click Task Manager. Find the app from the list, click it, then click End task to force close it.

Update your audio driver

Drivers are used to establishing communication between your hardware and the operating system you’re using. Without them, none of the devices we connect to our computers will work. If your audio driver is outdated or corrupted, updating or reinstalling it can fix your problem.

The below 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.

    Accessing the Device Manager.
    Accessing the Device Manager.

  2. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers dropdown menu and right-click your headset mic. Click Properties.

    Going into the mic Properties.
    Going into the mic Properties.

  3. Select the Driver tab and click Update Driver.

    Updating the mic driver.
    Updating the mic driver.

  4. Click Search automatically for drivers. It will now scan for any updated drivers.

    Allowing Windows to automatically search for updated drivers.
    Allowing Windows to automatically search for updated drivers.

  5. If there were no driver updates, click Uninstall Device instead. This will remove the existing drivers. Then, unplug/disconnect your headset and connect it again to force the drivers to download again.

    Uninstall the drivers to force them to re-install again.
    Uninstall the drivers to force them to re-install again.

Run the troubleshooter

Windows, by default, includes an array of different troubleshooters designed to target and fix different problems. One such troubleshooter is the Speech troubleshooter. This troubleshooter will scan for any problems that are preventing your mic from working with Windows and fix them.

Follow the below instructions to find and execute the Speech troubleshooter to fix your mic issues.

  1. Right-click Start and click Settings.

    Going into Windows Settings.
    Going into Windows Settings.

  2. Click Update & Security.

    Accessing the Update & Security settings.
    Accessing the Update & Security settings.

  3. Click Troubleshoot.

    Going tot he Troubleshoot section.
    Going tot he Troubleshoot section.

  4. Click Additional troubleshooters.

    Looking at the additional troubleshooters.
    Looking at the additional troubleshooters.

  5. Click Speech then Run the troubleshooter. Follow the on-screen instructions to find and resolve any issues.

    Running the Speech troubleshooter.
    Running the Speech troubleshooter.

How to Fix Headset Mic Not Working in Mac

Just like Windows, computers running the Mac operating system have their own set of problems (and solutions). Here are the settings adjustments you can do when your headset mic won’t work with your Mac:

Select the right microphone

Your Mac could be set to use your system mic instead of your headphones’. Fix this by ensuring the mic you’re wanting to use is selected as the primary input device in your Sound settings as outlined below.

  1. Click the Apple logo at the top left, then select System Preferences.

    Going to Mac System Preferences
    Going to Mac System Preferences

  2. Click Sound.

    Accessing the Mac Sound settings.
    Accessing the Mac Sound settings.

  3. In the Input tab, click on your headset mic to select it for sound input. You can also control the input volume by using the slider beneath the list of devices.

    Clicking the mic to set it as the default device
    Clicking the mic to set it as the default device

You can also check if your mic is working by speaking into it and checking if the Input level bar reacts to your voice.

Check app permissions

Permissions dictate what apps are allowed to use your mic. If the app you’re trying to use hasn’t been granted the correct permissions, your mic will not work with it. You can fix this by allowing permission, like so:

  1. Click on the Apple logo, then System Preferences.

    Opening the System Preferences.
    Opening the System Preferences.

  2. Click Security & Privacy.

    Opening the Security & Privacy settings.
    Opening the Security & Privacy settings.

  3. Select Microphone from the left side. In here, you can allow/disallow what apps have permission to your mic.

    Checking what apps have permission to use the mic.
    Checking what apps have permission to use the mic.

Utilize ‘dictation’

Your Mac’s Dictation feature works by taking control of your mic and allowing you to control your computer using your voice. This can sometimes force the mic to work and will automatically select one that’s available.

Therefore, turning this on can sometimes fix issues with your headset mic not working. Follow these steps to enable the Dictation feature:

  1. Click the Apple button, then click System Preferences.

    Accessing the System Preferences
    Accessing the System Preferences

  2. Click Keyboard.

    Clicking into the Keyboard settings.
    Clicking into the Keyboard settings.

  3. Go to the Dictation tab and select the On radio button.

    Enabling Dictation.
    Enabling Dictation.

  4. Click Enable Dictation.

    Confirming Dictation.
    Confirming Dictation.

Reset Mac’s Parameter RAM

Parameter RAM (PRAM) is responsible for storing temporary settings for your Mac. Some of these settings may include information relating to your mic, like the default input device and input volume levels. Outdated information in the PRAM can prevent settings from updating, so flushing the PRAM will reset it.

To fix this, you can reset your PRAM so that any incorrect settings are cleared, like so.

  1. Click the Apple icon and then click Restart.

    Restarting Mac.
    Restarting Mac.

  2. As your computer is booting back up, hold the Option, Command, P and R keys at the same time as the Mac boots. Continue to hold until you hear a second startup chime or the logo appears and disappears twice.

    Holding the Option, Command, P and R keys while the Mac boots.
    Holding the Option, Command, P and R keys while the Mac boots.

How to Fix Headset Mic Not Working in Xbox One

Having a working headset is essential for many multiplayer games. It encourages communication and cooperation with those on your team. If your mic isn’t working, it can affect your gameplay. So, if your headset mic isn’t working with your Xbox One, here are some solutions.

Not all headsets work with Xbox One. Some only work as headphones and don’t allow you to use the mic. Check if your headset is compatible with Xbox One before beginning to ensure it will work.

Make sure your team didn’t mute you

Most games come with the option to mute other players in the same lobby as you. It’s possible that other players have muted you. This is often the case if your mic is capturing too much background noise and disrupting other players.

There is no way to fix this yourself aside from private messaging a player and asking to be unmuted, as each player has the ability to mute/unmute other online players as they like.

Adjust your privacy settings

The amount of people that you can hear (and can hear you) depends on your Xbox profile settings. Making changes to these settings might be enough to fix your headset not working.

Parental controls can limit the voice chat capabilities of child accounts. If your account is managed by someone, like a parent, it’s possible they have disabled voice chat access. If this is the case, this can only be changed by them.
  1. Tap the Xbox guide button, go down to Settings then tap All settings.

    Accessing the Xbox One settings. (From: YouTube/Malik Plays Games) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7vCgRpNLnA
    Accessing the Xbox One settings. (From: YouTube/Malik Plays Games)

  2. Select Privacy & online safety then Xbox Live privacy.

    Accessing the Xbox Live privacy settings. (From: YouTube/Malik Plays Games)
    Accessing the Xbox Live privacy settings. (From: YouTube/Malik Plays Games)

  3. Access View details & customize.

    Customizing the privacy settings. (From: YouTube/Malik Plays Games)
    Customizing the privacy settings. (From: YouTube/Malik Plays Games)

  4. Ensure Communicate with voice and text is set to Your Friends or Everybody (depending on your preference).

    Changing who can communicate with voice and text. (From: YouTube/Malik Plays Games)
    Changing who can communicate with voice and text. (From: YouTube/Malik Plays Games)

Update the controller

Your Xbox One controller doesn’t update automatically. Instead, you’ll have to do it manually when updates are ready. It’s important to keep your controller up-to-date, as outdated firmware can affect your headset’s performance. The below steps will guide you through updating it.

Controllers with the 3.5mm headphone jack can be updated wirelessly. Controllers without the 3.5mm jack will need to be connected to the console during this process.
  1. Press the Xbox guide button, go to the Settings menu then open Settings.

    Accessing the Xbox One settings. (From: YouTube/YourSixStudios) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHu33gII_8s
    Accessing the Xbox One settings. (From: YouTube/YourSixStudios)

  2. Go to Devices and streaming then select Accessories.

    Accessing the Accessory settings. (From: YouTube/YourSixStudios)
    Accessing the Accessory settings. (From: YouTube/YourSixStudios)

  3. Select the three dots.

    Accessing the controller settings. (From: YouTube/YourSixStudios)
    Accessing the controller settings. (From: YouTube/YourSixStudios)

  4. Select the Firmware version then click Update.

    Updating the controller's firmware. (From: YouTube/YourSixStudios)
    Updating the controller’s firmware. (From: YouTube/YourSixStudios)

Restart your Xbox console

What sort of troubleshooting list would this be without the classic ‘turn it off, then on again’ solution?

Performing a basic restart fixes a lot of problems and it can be done in less than a minute. This trick simply allows your device to start over and remove any unwarranted bugs that may have caused the issue.

To do this, try shutting your Xbox One console down, leaving it for a minute or two, then powering it back up again.

How to Fix Headset Mic Not Working in PS4/PS5

Having a working headset is just as important on your PS4 or PS5 as it is on any other system. We’re going to cover a few methods you can use to establish mic functionality on your Playstation console once again.

Like Xbox, not all wireless headsets will work with your PS4 or PS5. In fact, only wireless headsets made or accredited by Sony can use the mic feature. Worry not, though! If you use incompatible headsets, feel free to check out our guide on how to use ANY headphones with PS4 for some hacks.

If you’re using PlayStation-compatible headsets or any wired headset, and still find trouble making the mic work, here are some things you can do:

Make sure your mic is set up properly

As with most devices on this list, you first need to ensure your headset is the primary input device on your PS4/PS5. Once connected to your controller, follow the below steps.

  1. Go to your PS4 Settings, then Devices.

    Accessing the PS4/5 settings.
    Accessing the PS4/5 settings.

  2. Select Audio Devices.

    Accessing Audio Devices.
    Accessing Audio Devices.

  3. Make sure Input device and Output Device (if needed) are set to Headset Connected to Controller.

    Selecting the input and output device options.
    Selecting the input and output device options.

  4. Select Adjust Microphone Level and configure your desired microphone level.

    Adjusting the microphone level.
    Adjusting the microphone level.

Check your NAT type

Your Network Address Translation (NAT) type can sometimes affect your network settings and prevent you from communicating with others online.

NAT is used by your router to keep your IP address private. It’s also used to route data to the correct hosts in a single network that might be using one public IP address. Aside from PlayStation, Xbox users face the same problem and it’s a problem that has plagued gamers for years.

Your NAT type depends how easy it is for data to reach your console based on the type of network you’re connected to. There are three NAT types:

  • Open NAT – You can connect to any lobby and communicate freely.
  • Moderate NAT – Connection to other players is limited. You can still connect to most lobbies, though some functions will be restricted.
  • Strict NAT – Connection to other players is limited further and you cannot connect or communicate with players who have a Strict or Moderate NAT type.

The good news is that you can actually change your NAT through your router settings. The bad news is that it can be quite intimidating if you’re not familiar with changing technical settings on your router, especially port forwarding.

Check your NAT type on PS4 and PS5 by going to Settings > Network > View Connection Status.

See if there are available updates

Keeping your PS4/PS5 updated means it will have all of the necessary compatibility patches and bug fixes. Your headset mic may not be working with your PS4/PS5 because it’s using an outdated firmware.

  1. Go to Settings.

    Accessing the PS4 Settings
    Accessing the PS4 Settings

  2. Select System Software Update.

    System Software Update settings.
    System Software Update settings.

  3. Tap Next.

    Proceeding to install the update.
    Proceeding to install the update.

  4. Tap Update.

    Installing the update.
    Installing the update.

How to Test Your Headset Mic

You can test your headset mic to confirm it’s working by using mic monitoring. Mic monitoring works by feeding your mic input into your headphones so you can hear yourself as you’re talking. It’s a great way of calibrating how your voice is heard by others..

If you try mic monitoring and find that it’s working, that’s great news! If you found that it’s working but the sound quality is quite poor, perhaps the next thing you should focus on is making your mic sound better.

Conclusion

Now that your mic is up and running again, you can get back to playing your favorite game with your friends. No longer will you be left out of the conversation.

How easy were the solutions in this article to implement? Did any of them work for you? Let us know in the comments!

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