Headphone mic not working

Headphones are probably the most widely used electronic accessory ever made. Almost everyone who uses a PC or a smartphone also uses headphones.

The headphones that come with a mic double up as great alternatives for microphones. They are pretty useful when it comes to chatting with friends or attending online meetings.

However, setting them up is not quite as straightforward as it might seem. These devices often don’t get detected by our computers the first time they are plugged in. Even if they do, you won’t hear anything on your device.

No matter whether you have recently purchased a new headphone or have been using one for a long time if you are using a headphone that has a mic and connects to the audio sources via a 3.5 mm jack, USB, or Bluetooth, we might have the right solution for your problem!

Compatibility issues with the 3.5 mm connector

Before you start tinkering with the software settings, it is crucial to ensure that the 3.5 mm connector or cable that you are using to connect your headphones supports the mic.

There are different types of 3.5 mm ports that you can find with your devices. But the most common ones are:

  • 3 pole type
  • 4 pole type

Each division of the connector represents a pole. You can recognize them by visual inspection. Refer to the image below that shows both the connectors side by side and try to recognize which one has 3 poles and which one has 4.

The one on the left has 4 poles and the one on the right has 3 poles. If the port has 3 poles or sections, it means that it supports stereo audio only. Otherwise, if the port has 4 poles or sections, it means that it supports stereo audio along with a mic.

Connecting a headphone with a mic using a 3 pole connector will render the mic completely useless. The only way to make use of the mic is to use a 4 pole connector. Such cables are available online for around $10 and are compatible with headphones coming from almost all brands.

Solution 1: Check if the headphone is in working condition and unmuted

The next most common reason why mic might not be working for you could be because your headphone is not in the working condition. Turn on the headphone and check if its indicator LED is glowing (if it has one). If you are unsure, you can try charging it or replacing the batteries.

If the indicator LED is glowing, see if the mic is muted. There are some headphones that come with a hardware mute feature. 

You can also try connecting your headphones to a different PC and see if its mic works there. If it does, then you can be sure that the issue is specific to your device. In that case, we have to move to software side troubleshooting.

Solution 2: Change the privacy settings to allow mic access

Step 1: Open windows settings.

Step 2: Here, click on the Privacy icon.

Step 3: Scroll down the slider that appears on the left to find the Microphone tab under the App permissions menu.

Step 4: Make sure that the computer and the apps running on it can access the mic. If the mic access is off, turn it on.

Step 5: Scroll down a bit more and find the option which lets you choose if the desktop applications are allowed to use the mic. Turn it on if it isn’t already.

Step 6: Close the settings window and try using the mic now.

Solution 3: Enable the headphone and mic in the Sound settings

If you connect your headphones to your PC via a splitter cable, then there are good chances that it recognizes your headphone as an entirely different device than your mic. If that happens, you will have to enable your mic separately. Let’s see how you can do that.

Step 1: Right-click on the sound icon in the taskbar and open sounds.

Step 2: Switch to the ‘Recording’ tab in the settings window to find a list of all audio input devices.

Step 3: Right-click on the device that you are currently using and click on ‘Enable’. If the device is enabled already, then you can skip this step.

Step 4: While you’re here, also see if you can set the mic as the default communication device. 

You will now see a green tick in front of the mic which means that the device is enabled and ready to use now.

Step 5: Press OK, return, and try testing the mic to see if it works now.

Solution 4: Re-install and Update the mic’s drivers

Step 1: Find ‘This PC’ icon on the desktop.

Step 2: Right-click on it and open Manage.

Step 3: Under the ‘Computer Management (Local)’ tab, click on the ‘Devices Manager’.

Find your mic under the ‘Audio inputs and outputs’ category.

Step 4: Right-click on the name and open its properties.

Step 5: You can choose to uninstall the mic’s driver completely or just update it. Let’s first try updating it. 

Step 6: Press the Update Driver button. 

Step 7: Select the first option that reads ‘Search automatically for drivers’.

Windows will now look for newer drivers on your PC and the internet. 

Step 8: If it fails to find anything, return to the previous step and choose to uninstall drivers by pressing the ‘uninstall device’ button.

Step 9: In the next window, click on the ‘Uninstall’ button again to confirm your action.

Step 10: Now plug out your headphones and plug them back in after a few seconds.

Windows 10 will automatically search for the drivers and install them again. This will most probably fix your issues, and the mic will start working if the issue was due to faulty drivers.

Final words

After trying out the solutions, we are sure you would have managed to get your headphone’s mic back to work. If not, you may have to reset your device, which might consume a lot of time. If you have a friend who might know a few things about electronics and computers, do ask for their opinion before taking this step.

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