The reason why the microphone on the headphones stopped working

Updated: May 29, 2023
6 min read
The reason why the microphone on the headphones stopped working
by Jahed Torres
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

Many people face a situation when the microphone on headphones does not work, or instead of a clear voice stream, transmits a loud, growing noise. To understand the cause of the problem and cure it, it is necessary first to diagnose the system and hardware.

Before we start

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Checking the microphone and headphones

Driver failure is a common issue with Windows 7. If you own this operating system, pay extra attention to checking the functionality of the maintenance programs.

Go through the following verification process:

  1. Go to
  2. Open the "Microphone test" tab.
  3. Start talking into your headset when the indicator light turns green.

If you see sound vibrations on the screen, reflected in the corresponding window, the device is in good condition, and the malfunction is related to the computer's system settings.

Causes of malfunction

microphone on the headphones stopped working

Some of the most common reasons why the microphone can stop working are as follows:

  • the cable is broken;
  • the contact is dirty;
  • lack of drivers for the system;
  • improper connection of the microphone and PC;
  • confused settings.

The conductor is broken

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The majority of headphone issues pertaining to audio or voice transmission are typically due to a faulty wire. The sections of the wire most susceptible to damage are:

  • The transition of the 3.5 or 6.5 plugs into the cable.
  • Branching lines – can be in the form of a split wire or a block with volume control and a microphone activation button.

The problem can be detected by bending the cable in the risk areas – the signal will appear and disappear, or you will find a position where it becomes stable. You can check the signal if you have a multimeter and experience with using it.

Certain devices, particularly older headphones, might possess distinct circuit designs. If you locate the broken segment, it's possible to re-solder the cable. However, if you lack prior experience with a soldering iron, it's advised to seek professional help from a service center.

Take note: It's only cost-effective to repair if the headphones are of high quality. Repairing low-cost headsets isn't typically practical as it's more economical to simply purchase a new pair.

Dirty contacts

The lack of signal can be caused by dirt on the plug or headphone jack. In addition, contacts can become oxidized, and connectors are often clogged with debris, especially for smartphones. Thus, carrying your device in a bag or pocket can cause dust and small threads to accumulate in the input. This disrupts the signal path.

You can remove debris from the plug with a thin wire, but this is risky, so it is recommended to buy a can of compressed air. It is relatively cheap and is available at any digital store. To clean the plug, you should use absorbent cotton soaked in alcohol. It is not a good idea to scratch or scrape off the dirt with a knife, as damage to the surface can cause oxidation.

No drivers

One potential issue causing your headphones' microphone to malfunction could be the absence of the necessary audio card software. This audio card could be either integrated within the motherboard or an individual component. No matter the setup, it's crucial to obtain the appropriate driver from the laptop maker's website or the respective hardware (motherboard/audio card).

You can determine if the driver is causing the issue by accessing the Hardware Manager. Here, you can select "Audio, video, and gaming devices" to display the list of connected devices. A red or yellow indicator next to a device would signal an issue.

It's also possible that the software could be outdated. You can identify the hardware name and attempt to auto-update the driver via the function menu. Nevertheless, a more reliable approach would be to manually download and install the updated driver.

System failure

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Sometimes an incorrect operation is caused by a system failure – the microphone may be forcibly disabled.

  1. In this case, find the "Speaker" icon in the tray and click "Open sound settings."
  2. Then select "Sound," find the "Input" item and click "Manage sound devices."
  3. The microphone can be turned off. Click it to open the "On/off" button.
  4. In Windows 7 operating system, the submenu is different. In the tray on the sound icon, you have to select "Recording devices" – "Recording" – "Microphone" – "Properties" – "Enable". Here you can also enable the microphone's sensitivity, perhaps it is set to a minimum, and the node just does not catch the voice.

If the connection is made to a device with a built-in microphone, it may work by default – and the headset microphone is not active. In this situation, two microphones are indicated in the equipment list. You only need to select the desired one and activate the "default" button, if necessary, so you do not have to switch manually every time.

Switching error

In the Windows 7 operating system, the problem with the headset can also occur if it is connected to the front instead of the back. You may have mixed up the headset connectors, which results in the complete inoperability of the headset.

Recommendations for choosing headphones

Microphone-equipped headphones are a type of device that frequently experience issues. If you're seeking longevity from your headset, it's wise to opt for reputable brands like Bludi, Sony, Phillips, among others.

Howly expert is ready to help you with your Headphone problem


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You saved my day! My mic problem was driving me crazy. Thanks! 😊
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You can try fixing minor hardware issues yourself, like checking the connection or cleaning the mic. But for serious issues, it's best to get professional help.
Midnight Stormrider
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I'm having a similar issue but with my laptop's built-in mic. Any tips?
Abigail Parker
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Finally, my mic is working again! Thanks a ton! 🙏
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Nothing worked. My mic is still silent 😡
Rhett Charleston
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My gaming headset's mic is not working either. Need help!
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What if the microphone works on one device but not on another?

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