Connecting an external sound device to a PC isn’t rocket science.
You just plug the device into the correct port, wait until the system recognizes it, and start using it.
However, sometimes your PC can’t detect the sound device, such as your headset mic, no matter how hard you try.
Even restarting the computer doesn’t seem to work!
Fortunately, if your headset mic isn’t broken, you can easily solve this issue.
PC Not Detecting Headset Mic (Causes, Fixes)
1. Check Physical Issues
If your computer doesn’t recognize your headset mic, the root cause may not be within the computer.
You should consider a faulty headset the first possibility.
Even if it’s new, it may be faulty right out of the box.
If it’s used, it may have seen better days.
Try the following solutions to ensure the headset isn’t the main cause.
A. Connect The Mic To Another Device
Your headset should be compatible with a wide range of devices.
Therefore, you can connect it to another device, like your laptop, and see if it works.
You can also ensure the headset isn’t faulty by connecting another sound output device, like an earphone with the same connectivity option, to the computer.
If the PC can’t detect the second device, your headset is okay.
If you’re connecting your mic to a desktop PC, plug the headset into the front ports and then the back port to see which one works.
However, if you ascertain that the headset or mic is faulty, you may have no choice but to repair or replace it.
B. Check For Faulty Cables
If the mic doesn’t work on another device, you still can’t be sure it’s faulty.
It may have damaged wires and cables, preventing a complete connection between the devices.
Check for physical damage on the cable and the connection points at either end.
Look for signs of wear on the metal jacks, such as bending or burning.
You may be able to replace a damaged wire if the design allows you to.
C. Check The Ports
Your headset may be fine, but the computer ports could be faulty.
You can check this by connecting another device and see if the computer detects it.
Since computer ports are exposed and subject to dust and debris, they may get clogged over time.
Remove the dust using a toothpick to ensure the ports and connection pins can make full contact.
Turn off the computer, unplug the power cable, and drain the static charge by pressing and holding the power button to avoid electric shocks and hardware damage.
Also, be careful not to damage the pins inside the port by poking the sharp object inside.
D. Unplug Other Connections
If you have several audio devices connected to your computer, you may experience interference, preventing Windows from detecting your headset mic.
Try disconnecting all these devices and see if it helps.
You can reconnect them if the issue persists.
E. Turn On The Mic
Some headsets allow you to turn the mic on and off using a tiny switch.
If the mic is off, the system assumes it’s disabled and can’t detect it.
If your headset has this on/off switch, make sure it’s set to On.
2. Adjust The Mic Volume
It may seem obvious, but your mic may be fine, properly connected to the PC, but others can’t hear you.
If an app uses your mic, you can see a small microphone icon on the right side of the taskbar.
That’s a surefire sign that you don’t have mic issues.
The only problem is that your mic volume is set to zero.
To adjust the volume, go to Control Panel and select Sound.
Click the Recording tab and select your headset.
Click Properties and go to the Levels tab.
Move the slider under Microphone and set it to 100.
3. Make Sure You’re Using The Right Port
If your headset connects to the computer via a USB port, you have little chance of getting it wrong.
However, if it has a 3.5mm jack, you may confuse the ports on your PC.
Desktop PCs generally have two 3.5 audio jacks, one for input and the other for output.
On the other hand, laptops only have one integrated port for input and output.
A headset with a mic will need two jacks, one for the mic and one for the headset.
Some of these headsets come with one integrated jack, while others feature two separate ones.
Here are different types of plugs compatible with different playback devices:
You may not see this type of plug in a headset because it’s mostly used to connect guitars to amps or other audio interfaces.
TS stands for tip (T) and sleeve (S) and transfers unbalanced audio signals.
These letters suggest the plug has one tip, one sleeve, and one ring (R).
It has two black rings around the plug and three contacts.
These plugs are compatible with headphones and come in different sizes.
The most common size is the 3.5mm found on laptops.
These plugs are one-way, used for either input or output.
As a result, you need two of them to connect your headset to the laptop.
These have a tip, two rings, and one sleeve and feature three black bands.
Since they have four contacts, they can serve as two-way input/output devices.
However, you can’t use them with laptops as they’re only compatible with smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices.
Depending on your computer ports, you may need an adaptor that converts two input and output jacks into one integrated jack that goes into your laptop port.
There are also splitters that convert one integrated jack into two separate output and input jacks that go into your desktop PC’s ports.
Choosing the wrong jack for your computer port can cause incompatibility issues, preventing the system from detecting the mic.
Before purchasing the headset, make sure it matches your computer ports, and get an adapter/splitter if it doesn’t.
4. Enable The Device
When you connect an external device to your computer, the system automatically detects and enables it.
However, if the process doesn’t complete properly, the system can’t enable the device, and you should do it manually.
In other cases, you may have disabled it before, so Windows doesn’t enable it when you plug it in for a second time.
To enable your headset, go to Settings > System > Sound > Manage Sound Devices.
Here, you can see all the connected input and output devices.
Select your headset and click on the Enable button.
5. Set The Default Audio Device
Although the headset is properly connected to the computer, the system may still not detect it if you haven’t adjusted the right settings.
One of these settings is the default input device.
You can set your headset as the default input device through the Control Panel > Sound.
Go to the Recording tab and right-click your device.
Select Set as Default Device.
If the headset isn’t connected, the option for setting it as a default device is greyed out.
You can take this as a sign that you have connection issues.
In other cases, it’s connected but not enabled.
You can simply select the Enable option in the same menu after right-clicking the device.
You should also check if your headset is the default recording device in the Settings app.
To do so, press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app and click on System.
Select Sound on the left panel and check the Input device.
You should see your headset as the default device.
If it’s not, expand the dropdown menu and select it.
On a Mac device, you can set your headset mic as the primary input via System Preferences > Sound > Input.
Find and select your headset mic to set it as the default input device.
Under the Input section, you can find a slider to adjust the input volume.
Set it to 100 and speak into your mic to see how the input level bar changes.
If the bar doesn’t move, the mic has connection issues.
6. Update The Drivers
Outdated drivers can cause various issues within your system, preventing the devices from effectively communicating with each other or Windows from detecting new devices.
In addition, if your device has incompatibility issues with other devices or applications, the new driver updates can address them.
Keeping your drivers updated is essential to ensure all the devices run smoothly.
To update your headset driver, go to Device Manager and expand the menu under Audio inputs and outputs.
Find your headset and right-click it.
Select Update Driver > Search automatically for drivers.
Follow the on-screen prompts to finish updating the drivers and restart your computer.
You may also want to update the drivers under Sound, video, and game controllers.
7. Run The Troubleshooter
Windows has different built-in tools to automatically detect unknown issues with various hardware and suggest solutions to fix them.
You can rely on these tools if you’ve tried all troubleshooting solutions to no avail.
One of these tools is the Speech troubleshooter that you can find in Settings > Time & language > Speech > Microphone > Get started.
In the new window, you’ll see a list of possible issues, from which you should click Cortana can’t hear me.
Select your headset to troubleshoot and click Next.
Now, the troubleshooter starts looking for issues and suggests solutions.
Follow the on-screen instructions to fix the problem.
If this option doesn’t work, you can rely on another troubleshooter.
Press Win + I to open the Settings app and click Updates & Security.
Select Troubleshoot from the left side of the window and click on the Additional troubleshooters link.
In the new window, you can see a list of all devices that Windows can troubleshoot.
Scroll down to Recording audio, click on it and select Run the troubleshooter.
Hopefully, Windows will detect your problems and solves them automatically.
Another tool to troubleshoot sound issues is accessible by clicking the Speaker icon in the left corner of the taskbar.
Right-click the icon and select Troubleshoot sound problems.
You must sign in to your Microsoft account and consent to use the audio troubleshooter.
After the tool finishes the diagnosis, you can hope to find and fix your issue.
8. Check The Mic Permission
A mic is an external device that needs permission to work in certain apps.
It’s a security measure by Windows to prevent unauthorized access to your device.
If it doesn’t have this permission, you can’t use it, and Windows may not detect it.
To ensure it has permission, go to Settings > Privacy > Microphone.
In this window, you can see different options for granting access to the microphone.
Ensure the toggle under Allow apps to access your microphone is set to On.
Now, scroll down to check the Microsoft store and desktop apps that have permission to use the mic.
You can grant all of these apps permission to rule out this factor as the main cause of your mic issue.
9. Disable The Exclusive Mode
Giving apps access to the mic may not be enough to get sound from the device.
Some audio applications block other apps from accessing the mic by taking exclusive control of the device.
As a result, your mic only works with one app but not others.
To avoid this issue, you should disable the Exclusive mode.
To access this option, go to the Settings app and click System.
Select Sound on the left panel and click on the Sound Control Panel link on the right side of the window.
Go to the Recording tab and click your headset.
Click Properties and go to the Advanced tab in the new window.
Disable Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device by unchecking it.
In some cases, even if you’ve disabled exclusive access to the mic, you may still experience software conflicts, denying you access to the mic.
The best solution is to close other background apps you don’t use.
You can check them in the Task manager > Processes.
Click the app and select End task.
Another group of programs that can take exclusive control of your mic is VoIP apps, including video and audio chat programs like Skype and Zoom.
These programs can cause software conflicts that you can resolve by uninstalling them.
If it doesn’t help, you can reinstall the apps.
10. Change In-App Sound Settings
Sometimes, your system can’t detect the headset mic, not because of hardware or OS issues.
Rather, certain app settings don’t allow your headset mic to work properly.
You can ensure this by opening different apps and checking the mic status.
If you are certain that the app settings are the real cause, search for possible causes online.
Ensure the app has access to your mic, the mic volumes are set to high levels, or the mic isn’t muted inside the app.
Most of these apps allow you to test your mic through their sound settings.
Make sure they have access to your headset mic, and it’s their default mic.
That said, below are some popular apps that cause mic issues.
A. Xbox Game Bar
Windows 10 has integrated the Xbox Game bar to allow gamers to record their gameplay and check system specs.
However, users have reported that some Game Bar settings make their headset microphones undetectable.
To disable these problematic settings, go to the Settings app > Gaming > Xbox Game Bar.
The first option is Enable Xbox Game Bar for things like recording game clips, chatting with friends, and receiving game invites.
Move the toggle under this option to disable it.
Other problematic options are under the Captures tab.
Disable the following settings:
- Record audio when I record a game
- Record in the background while I’m playing a game
These features are exciting options that every gamer appreciates.
However, if they cause mic issues for other apps, you may want to use alternative game recording apps.
If these settings don’t cause your mic issues, you can safely go back to using them.
Zoom has useful audio settings that adjust your mic volume according to the situation.
However, they can make your mic undetectable if they don’t work properly.
So, you can try disabling them and see how things go.
One of these settings is Suppress background noise.
To change this option, click your Zoom profile picture and go to Settings > Audio > Suppress background noise.
You can find different levels of accuracy for suppression, namely Auto, Low, Medium, and High.
Set it on Low and see if it helps.