Zoom microphone not working? Here’s how to fix it!

Is your microphone not working on Zoom? There can be multiple reasons for audio problems to arise on Zoom. This article will provide you with solutions to your microphone not working problem, and get you back up and video conferencing as soon as possible!

How do audio problems present on Zoom?

Zoom is a highly popular video conferencing platform that saw a major surge in users following the March 2020 lockdowns. When businesses and schools made the decision to go remote, alternative methods for collaboration were desperately needed. Zoom had the best product on the market, providing stable, high-definition cloud-based video conferencing for free. Zoom is able to host up to 100 participants with the free service and can host up to 1000 when using an add-on with a Zoom a subscription.

With an influx of users, often comes an influx of user errors. Many Zoom users report having trouble with setting up their microphone properly. If you fail to set up your microphone properly, you may end up in a situation where:

  • Your microphone is working but you can’t hear others
  • Your microphone is not working, but you can hear others
  • Your microphone is not working, and you can’t hear others
  • You can hear each other, but audio is distorted due to feedback

What is causing your microphone to not work on Zoom?

To solve the Zoom microphone issues listed above, it’s helpful to first identify and understand the possible causes. These issues can appear in response to improperly set audio settings, hardware issues, or software glitches, among others. If your mic is not detecting audio on Zoom, it could be due to one of the reasons outlined below:

  • Muted microphone
  • Microphone’s volume is too low on either Zoom or Windows 10.
  • Your microphone is disabled in your device’s settings.
  • Wrong microphone selected on Zoom.
  • Everyone has been muted by meeting host.
  • Zoom is outdated
  • Zoom’s Background Noise Suppression is interfering with your microphone.
  • Interference from other programs.
  • Problems with your microphone’s hardware.

How to solve the problem of your microphone not working on Zoom

Before you begin troubleshooting this problem, it’s best to quickly check a few things that can easily be overlooked. Check that your microphone is plugged in properly to a USB port and the cable is in good condition and intact. If available, you can test your microphone on another computer. If your microphone still doesn’t work, your microphone’s hardware might have failed. But if the microphone does work on another computer, then you’ve isolated that your computer or Zoom program is the origin of the issue.

Below are 9 solutions, with the simplest solutions listed first, for you to follow to solve the problem of your microphone not working on Zoom. These solutions are specific to Windows 10, but many of the solutions based on changes within Zoom, and as such can be applied across different operating systems, including Mac.

1. Unmute Microphone

You may unknowingly have a muted microphone, which may be why other Zoom participants can’t hear you. To unmute your microphone:

  1. Click the Unmute button (microphone icon with slash through it) that is found in the bottom-left corner of your Zoom meeting.
unmute button
  1. You can also use Alt+A to quickly mute and unmute yourself.

Your microphone may have automatically muted upon entering the meeting. This is an audio setting you can change:

  1. When you open Zoom, click on the cog-wheel (Settings) in the right-top corner under your profile icon.
  2. From within the Settings menu, find Audio in the left-hand menu.
  3. Uncheck, Always mute microphone when joining meeting. But remember to manually mute yourself as needed upon entering each meeting.
always mute microphone when joining meeting

2. Increase microphone volume in Windows 10

Your microphone may not be muted, but instead the volume may be turned all the way down. To fix this:

  1. Right-click on your Windows icon on your Taskbar and select Settings.
  2. From the settings window, click on System.
windows settings
  1. Now select Sound from the left-hand menu and scroll down. Under the Input heading, check that the microphone selected is correct.
choose input device
  1. Click Device properties and in the newly opened window, adjust the volume slider, especially if the volume is all the way turned down.
device properties

3. Select Correct Microphone on Zoom

Zoom will automatically select whichever audio input device is active, but if you have multiple, this can sometimes cause issues. To double-check that the correct microphone has been selected:

  1. Open Zoom and within a meeting window, find the mute/unmute button again, along the bottom menu. Click the up arrow icon (^) and find the heading, Select a Microphone.
select a microphone
  1. Select your preferred microphone and then check to see if your microphone is now working correctly.

4. Increase microphone volume on Zoom

Just as you checked your microphone volume in Windows 10, you should also check this on Zoom:

  1. Open Zoom and click on the cog-wheel (Settings) in the right-top corner under your profile icon.
  2. From within the Settings menu, find Audio in the left-hand menu.
  3. To the right, find the microphone section and adjust the volume slider as necessary.
adjust volume sliders

5. Check Noise Suppression settings on Zoom

Not everyone has high-quality, crystal clear microphones, so Zoom attempts to improve the quality of your microphone with their Background Noise Suppression technology. This feature is turned on by default, and it can sometimes cause some unintended microphone problems. You can reduce how sensitive the suppression technology is, to see if this is preventing you from being heard:

  1. Open Zoom and click on the cog-wheel (Settings) in the right-top corner under your profile icon.
  2. From within the Settings menu, find Audio in the left-hand menu.
  3. Scroll down to find the Suppress background noise option. This is typically set to Auto. Select Low (faint background sound) and check if your problem is solved.
suppress background noise

6. Allow Zoom to use your microphone

Not all applications in Windows 10 are given full access to all of your hardware. To check if your microphone is restricted on Zoom and remove the restriction, follow the steps below:

  1. Right-click on your Windows icon on your Taskbar and select Settings.
  2. Scroll down and click on Privacy.
  3. In the menu on the left-hand side, select Microphone. Under the Microphone heading, click Change.
  4. Toggle Microphone access for this device on, if it is off.
  5. Under Allow apps to access your microphone, make sure the toggle is set to On.
microphone settings
  1. Now scroll down and find Allow desktop apps to access your microphone, and toggle this On as well. 
allow desktop apps to access your microphone
  1. Check to see if your microphone problem is resolved on Zoom.

7. Update Zoom & Restart

Zoom is a program and service with a rapidly growing user base. As such, Zoom is continually seeking feedback from their users and rolling out new updates often. These updates often target bugs, which might mean you’re missing a vital update that would solve your microphone problem. Zoom can be updated easily:

  1. Open Zoom and click your profile icon in the top-right corner and from the drop-down menu select Check for Updates.
  2. Click the Update button to install an available updated version of the application.
  3. Exit Zoom, restart your computer, and then re-open Zoom to see if the problem has been solved.

8. Run Windows 10 microphone troubleshooter

If you’ve exhausted the above solutions, now you will turn to the Windows 10 troubleshooter. This built-in tool can be excellent at finding and fixing problems on your computer. To use the troubleshooter:

  1. Right-click on your Windows icon on your Taskbar and select Settings.
  2. From the settings window, scroll down and click Update & Security.
windows settings
  1. Select Troubleshoot from the left-hand menu.
  2. From the Troubleshooting page, scroll down to Recording Audio, and click Run the troubleshooter.
troubleshoot settings
  1. From the Troubleshooting page, select the microphone you are trying to use and click Next. The troubleshooter will automatically run diagnostics on your microphone and if it identifies a problem, you will be given a few basic solutions to resolve the issue.

9. Update microphone driver

This is not an extremely common issue, but your microphone or headset may not have an updated driver installed on your computer. To check this, you will need to go into Device Manager:

  1. Right-click on your Windows icon on your Taskbar and select Device Manager.
  2. Scroll down to Sound, video, and game controllers and double-click to expand.
device manager
  1. Find your problematic microphone and right-click on it. From there you can select to Update driver and Windows 10 will search your computer and the internet for the most updated driver for that microphone or headset.

Microphone is now working on Zoom

Many of the 9 solutions above are very simple. If you’ve followed this article, you’ve unmuted your microphone. Adjusted your microphone volume in both Windows 10 and Zoom, checked your microphone selection on Zoom, minimized Zoom’s Background Noise Suppression technology, permitted Zoom access to your microphone, updated Zoom and restarted your system, ran Windows 10 troubleshooting utility, and updated your microphone driver.

Zoom is a diverse video-conferencing program that is extremely popular in the commercial sector for connecting remote teams and in the educational sector for providing an online educational space. For whatever reason you are using Zoom, being heard by others is pivotal. Enjoy your Zoom meetings with a working microphone!

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