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Troubleshoot Google Hangouts Audio Not Working

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Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path by rating it at the end.

Introduction

If you've begun a call with Google Hangouts and your audio isn't working properly or at all, it can be difficult to figure out where to begin to get things resolved quickly. Some common Google Hangouts audio issues involve not being able to hear others, others not being able to hear you, or hearing things like an echo, static, or just poor overall sound quality on your end. This guide will help you rectify these sorts of issues and get back to regular functionality. We'll show you how to check the audio settings of Google Hangouts, your computer's audio settings, and the audio devices you're using to make sure you're getting the best out of your setup.

Before You Begin:

Google Hangouts is a web app that doesn't need to be installed on your computer. However, to get the best experience with Hangouts, it's recommended to use Google Chrome.

Google Hangouts Banner.

1 I Can't Hear Others

If you can't hear others while in a call, here's what you can do:

Check the Speaker Settings in Hangouts

  1. Click on Settings in the top right.
    Settings icon highlighted in top right of Google Hangouts.
  2. Make sure you have the correct Speakers selected.
    Speakers selector highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.
  3. To test your speakers, click the Test option to the right of the selected speakers.
    Test option highlighted next to the selected speaker in Google Hangouts settings.
  4. Click Done once you've set your speaker settings correctly.
    Done option highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.

Check the Sound Settings in the Browser

  1. Within the browser, click the Padlock icon to the left of the web address, and make sure the Sound permission is set to Automatic or Allow, but not not to Mute.
    Sound option highlighted in permissions list for loaded website in Google Chrome.

Check the Speaker Settings on the Computer

WindowsCheck the Speaker Settings on a Windows PC

Select the speaker near the clock in your System Tray, usually in the bottom-right corner of your screen. You are able to move the slider back and forth to increase and decrease the volume.

Windows System tray with speaker highlighted and volume meter open and slider highlighted.
AppleCheck the Speaker Settings on a Mac

Select the Speaker on the top-right of your Menu bar. You can use the slider to adjust the volume.

Mac Volume adjustment

Check the External Audio Devices

If you're using external devices for your audio, such as a headset, headphones, speakers, make sure they are properly connected to your computer, are powered on and their audio levels are proper.

  1. Make sure the external audio devices are connected correctly to your computer:
    Analog Audio Devices
    Your headphone or speaker should plugged into the Green audio port.Analog audio connection showing pink plug going into pink port and lime green plug going into lime green port.
    Digital Audio Devices
    USB ports may have more or less power, and sometimes some USB ports don't have enough power. Try using a different USB port on your computer.USB port and connector
    Bluetooth Logo

    Bluetooth Devices
    Make sure their battery is charged, they're turned on and connected to the computer:

  2. If you're using a headset with inline controls, make sure the audio levels are where you want them to be.
    Inline controls highlighted on headset cord.

2 Others Can't Hear Me

If others can't hear you while in a call, here's what you can do:

Check the Microphone Status in Hangouts

  1. Look at the middle bottom and make sure your microphone isn't Muted.
    Microphone Not Muted
    Microphone, End Call and Camera buttons in Google Hangouts.If you see a white microphone on a black background, it means others should be able to hear you.
    Microphone Muted
    Mute button highlighted in Google Hangouts.If you see a black microphone with a strikethrough on a white background, it means others should not be able to hear you.

Check the Microphone Settings in Hangouts

  1. Click on Settings in the top right.
    Settings icon highlighted in top right of Google Hangouts.
  2. Make sure you have the correct Microphone selected.
    Microphone selector highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.
  3. To test your microphone, speak into it and you should see the volume bars change over the camera feed.
    Volume bars pointed out for selected microphone in Google Hangouts settings.
  4. Click Done once you've set your microphone settings correctly.
    Done option highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.

Check the Microphone Settings in the Browser

  1. Within the browser, click the Padlock icon to the left of the web address, and make sure the Microphone permission is set to Allow and not to Block.
    Microphone option highlighted in permissions list for loaded website in Google Chrome.

Check the Microphone Settings on the Computer

WindowsCheck the Microphone Settings on a Windows PC
  1. Using your right mouse button, Right click on the speaker in your System Tray, and select Open Sound settings.
    Windows System Tray with speaker icon highlighted with right mouse button near by, with menu open, and Open Sound settings highlighted.
  2. Under Input, select Device properties.
    Sound settings with Input Device Properties highlighted.
  3. Make sure Disable is not checked, and make sure the volume is at a reasonable volume.
    Device properties with disable box unchecked and volume meter highlighted.
    A volume between 50 and 75 is usually appropriate.
AppleCheck the Microphone Settings on a Mac
  1. Open the Apple Menu, then select System Preferences.
    Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Sound.
    System Preferences with Sound highlighted.
  3. Select the Input tab at top, and make sure the Input volume is at a reasonable volume.
    Sound preferences with Input tab and input volume highlighted.
    A volume between 50 and 75 is usually appropriate.

Check the External Audio Devices

If you're using external devices for your audio, such as a headset or microphone, make sure they are properly connected to your computer, are powered on and their audio levels are proper.

  1. Make sure the external audio devices are connected correctly to your computer:
    Analog Audio Devices
    Your microphone should plugged into the Pink audio port.Analog audio connection showing pink plug going into pink port and lime green plug going into lime green port.
    Digital Audio Devices
    USB ports may have more or less power, and sometimes some USB ports don't have enough power. Try using a different USB port on your computer.USB port and connector
    Bluetooth Logo

    Bluetooth Devices
    Make sure their battery is charged, they're turned on and connected to the computer:

  2. If you're using a headset with inline controls, make sure the audio levels are where you want them to be. If there's a solid or flashing red light, it may mean the microphone is muted.
    Red light highlighted on inline controls of headset.

3 I Hear an Echo, Static or Audio Sounds Bad

If your colleagues mention your audio quality is poor, or the audio you hear sounds bad, there are a few things you can check.

  • Use a Headset
    If possible, use a headset. Because your mic will pick up whatever is playing from your speakers, including your colleagues and your voice, it can cause a feedback loop. If possible, switch to using a headset and mic, so your mic won't pick up the sounds playing.
  • Turn Off Other Sources of Audio on Your Computer
    Some audio devices don't 'mix' audio well, and can degrade the quality of everything. Turn off any videos, music, or other audio you may be listening to while on the conference.
  • Replug Devices
    Analog Devices
    MinijackAnalog audio devices connect using a minijack. Both the jack and the port on the computer can end up with little bits of dust which can cause audio to crackle, have static, or drop out. The simple fix is to unplug and replug the device, this removes the dust and tends to fix the problem.
    USB Devices
    USB DeviceUSB Devices aren't as susceptible to dust, but because of how modern computers work, there could be not enough power on certain USB ports to power the device. Switch to a different USB port on your computer and try again.
  • Close Other Programs
    If the audio quality is poor, it's possible your computer doesn't have enough power to encode the audio quickly enough because other programs are running in the background. Close the other programs you're not using on your computer.
  • Reboot Your Computer
    If you're unable to find any programs to close, or if there's updates waiting to apply on your computer, it's possible this, too, could cause audio problems. Rebooting your computer can solve these problems.
Dedicated Audio Troubleshooting Guide
We offer a separate, dedicated guide that will help you check a number of other options with the audio on your computer that may help further.

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If you've begun a call with Google Hangouts and your audio isn't working properly or at all, it can be difficult to figure out where to begin to get things resolved quickly. Some common Google Hangouts audio issues involve not being able to hear others, others not being able to hear you, or hearing things like an echo, static, or just poor overall sound quality on your end. This guide will help you rectify these sorts of issues and get back to regular functionality. We'll show you how to check the audio settings of Google Hangouts, your computer's audio settings, and the audio devices you're using to make sure you're getting the best out of your setup.

Before You Begin:

Google Hangouts is a web app that doesn't need to be installed on your computer. However, to get the best experience with Hangouts, it's recommended to use Google Chrome.

Google Hangouts Banner.

If you can't hear others while in a call, here's what you can do:

Check the Speaker Settings in Hangouts

  1. Click on Settings in the top right.
    Settings icon highlighted in top right of Google Hangouts.
  2. Make sure you have the correct Speakers selected.
    Speakers selector highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.
  3. To test your speakers, click the Test option to the right of the selected speakers.
    Test option highlighted next to the selected speaker in Google Hangouts settings.
  4. Click Done once you've set your speaker settings correctly.
    Done option highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.

Check the Sound Settings in the Browser

  1. Within the browser, click the Padlock icon to the left of the web address, and make sure the Sound permission is set to Automatic or Allow, but not not to Mute.
    Sound option highlighted in permissions list for loaded website in Google Chrome.

Check the Speaker Settings on the Computer

WindowsCheck the Speaker Settings on a Windows PC

Select the speaker near the clock in your System Tray, usually in the bottom-right corner of your screen. You are able to move the slider back and forth to increase and decrease the volume.

Windows System tray with speaker highlighted and volume meter open and slider highlighted.
AppleCheck the Speaker Settings on a Mac

Select the Speaker on the top-right of your Menu bar. You can use the slider to adjust the volume.

Mac Volume adjustment

Check the External Audio Devices

If you're using external devices for your audio, such as a headset, headphones, speakers, make sure they are properly connected to your computer, are powered on and their audio levels are proper.

  1. Make sure the external audio devices are connected correctly to your computer:
    Analog Audio Devices
    Your headphone or speaker should plugged into the Green audio port.Analog audio connection showing pink plug going into pink port and lime green plug going into lime green port.
    Digital Audio Devices
    USB ports may have more or less power, and sometimes some USB ports don't have enough power. Try using a different USB port on your computer.USB port and connector
    Bluetooth Logo

    Bluetooth Devices
    Make sure their battery is charged, they're turned on and connected to the computer:

  2. If you're using a headset with inline controls, make sure the audio levels are where you want them to be.
    Inline controls highlighted on headset cord.

If others can't hear you while in a call, here's what you can do:

Check the Microphone Status in Hangouts

  1. Look at the middle bottom and make sure your microphone isn't Muted.
    Microphone Not Muted
    Microphone, End Call and Camera buttons in Google Hangouts.If you see a white microphone on a black background, it means others should be able to hear you.
    Microphone Muted
    Mute button highlighted in Google Hangouts.If you see a black microphone with a strikethrough on a white background, it means others should not be able to hear you.

Check the Microphone Settings in Hangouts

  1. Click on Settings in the top right.
    Settings icon highlighted in top right of Google Hangouts.
  2. Make sure you have the correct Microphone selected.
    Microphone selector highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.
  3. To test your microphone, speak into it and you should see the volume bars change over the camera feed.
    Volume bars pointed out for selected microphone in Google Hangouts settings.
  4. Click Done once you've set your microphone settings correctly.
    Done option highlighted in Google Hangouts settings.

Check the Microphone Settings in the Browser

  1. Within the browser, click the Padlock icon to the left of the web address, and make sure the Microphone permission is set to Allow and not to Block.
    Microphone option highlighted in permissions list for loaded website in Google Chrome.

Check the Microphone Settings on the Computer

WindowsCheck the Microphone Settings on a Windows PC
  1. Using your right mouse button, Right click on the speaker in your System Tray, and select Open Sound settings.
    Windows System Tray with speaker icon highlighted with right mouse button near by, with menu open, and Open Sound settings highlighted.
  2. Under Input, select Device properties.
    Sound settings with Input Device Properties highlighted.
  3. Make sure Disable is not checked, and make sure the volume is at a reasonable volume.
    Device properties with disable box unchecked and volume meter highlighted.
    A volume between 50 and 75 is usually appropriate.
AppleCheck the Microphone Settings on a Mac
  1. Open the Apple Menu, then select System Preferences.
    Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  2. Select Sound.
    System Preferences with Sound highlighted.
  3. Select the Input tab at top, and make sure the Input volume is at a reasonable volume.
    Sound preferences with Input tab and input volume highlighted.
    A volume between 50 and 75 is usually appropriate.

Check the External Audio Devices

If you're using external devices for your audio, such as a headset or microphone, make sure they are properly connected to your computer, are powered on and their audio levels are proper.

  1. Make sure the external audio devices are connected correctly to your computer:
    Analog Audio Devices
    Your microphone should plugged into the Pink audio port.Analog audio connection showing pink plug going into pink port and lime green plug going into lime green port.
    Digital Audio Devices
    USB ports may have more or less power, and sometimes some USB ports don't have enough power. Try using a different USB port on your computer.USB port and connector
    Bluetooth Logo

    Bluetooth Devices
    Make sure their battery is charged, they're turned on and connected to the computer:

  2. If you're using a headset with inline controls, make sure the audio levels are where you want them to be. If there's a solid or flashing red light, it may mean the microphone is muted.
    Red light highlighted on inline controls of headset.

If your colleagues mention your audio quality is poor, or the audio you hear sounds bad, there are a few things you can check.

  • Use a Headset
    If possible, use a headset. Because your mic will pick up whatever is playing from your speakers, including your colleagues and your voice, it can cause a feedback loop. If possible, switch to using a headset and mic, so your mic won't pick up the sounds playing.
  • Turn Off Other Sources of Audio on Your Computer
    Some audio devices don't 'mix' audio well, and can degrade the quality of everything. Turn off any videos, music, or other audio you may be listening to while on the conference.
  • Replug Devices
    Analog Devices
    MinijackAnalog audio devices connect using a minijack. Both the jack and the port on the computer can end up with little bits of dust which can cause audio to crackle, have static, or drop out. The simple fix is to unplug and replug the device, this removes the dust and tends to fix the problem.
    USB Devices
    USB DeviceUSB Devices aren't as susceptible to dust, but because of how modern computers work, there could be not enough power on certain USB ports to power the device. Switch to a different USB port on your computer and try again.
  • Close Other Programs
    If the audio quality is poor, it's possible your computer doesn't have enough power to encode the audio quickly enough because other programs are running in the background. Close the other programs you're not using on your computer.
  • Reboot Your Computer
    If you're unable to find any programs to close, or if there's updates waiting to apply on your computer, it's possible this, too, could cause audio problems. Rebooting your computer can solve these problems.
Dedicated Audio Troubleshooting Guide
We offer a separate, dedicated guide that will help you check a number of other options with the audio on your computer that may help further.