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Troubleshoot Zoom Audio Not Working

Authored by:
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 ever joined a Zoom meeting and have been overwhelmed with panic because you can't hear anyone else in the room, or are talking and nobody can hear you - we know where you're coming from.

Chances are, you're using Zoom for professional reasons and don't want to be that person who arrives late or cannot participate properly due to certain unforseen technical issues.

This guide will walk you through what to do when dealing with common Zoom audio issues.
Zoom banner

1 I Can Hear Others, but They Can't Hear Me

If the microphone that's built-in or attached to your computer isn't picking up your voice, it may not be connected or configured properly. Check the following to be sure that others are able to hear you properly during your Zoom meetings.

Make sure your microphone is properly connected

When using external devices for your audio input, such as a headset, or USB microphone, make sure they are properly connected to your computer, are powered on and their audio levels are high enough to hear.

  1. Let's make sure the external audio devices are connected correctly to your computer first:
    If you're using an analog microphone
    Your microphone should plugged into the Pink audio port and your headphone or speaker into the Green one.Analog audio connection showing pink plug going into pink port and lime green plug going into lime green port.
    If you're using a digital microphone
    In most cases, USB ports output power to drive the devices we've plugged in. Sometimes certain USB ports don't have enough power to properly drive the device we've connected. Make sure the USB cable has been fully connected/seated. If this doesn't have an effect, try using a different USB port on your computer.
    USB port and connector

    If you're using wireless devices, such as Bluetooth, make sure they're battery is charged, turned on and connected to the computer.

  2. Depending on the microphone or headset you're using, it may have its own mute button or switch. These types of buttons and/or switches do not report their status to your computer, but may have an indicator light to let you know that your microphone has been 'locally' muted in this way. Always make sure your microphone has not been locally muted by a physical button or switch.
    Red light highlighted on inline controls of headset.

Check the microphone's volume on your computer

There's a possibility that while your microphone might not be muted, the volume level of your microphone may be set too low, causing others to not be able to hear you. The following will help you check the volume level of your microphone (sometimes referred to on your computer as the recording or input device) to be sure it is at a high enough level so that others can hear you.

WindowsTo Check the Microphone Volume Level on Windows
  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.
AppleTo Check the Microphone Volume Level on Apple macOS
  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.

Make sure you're not muted within Zoom

Zoom has a built-in mute feature you can use to stop your microphone from broadcasting while the presenter and/or other attendees are speaking. Muting while you have no intention of speaking is typical and proper video conferencing etiquette. However, if you've accidentally left yourself muted, this is a common and easy fix.

Unmuted Microphone
Zoom mute button
A green circle with a microphone in it is shown when you can be heard by others.The zoom meeting audio showing unmuted
Muted Microphone
A muted microphone
A microphone with a red line is shown when you can't be heard by others.Zoom meeting window showing the unmute button

Make sure the right microphone is selected in Zoom

  1. While in a meeting, select the arrow next to the microphone icon. This will open a menu.
    Icon for zoom
    The arrow next to the mute button
  2. From here you can make sure you have the right microphone selected.
    The available devices

2 I Can't Hear Anybody, but They Can Hear Me

If you've joined a meeting and others can hear you, but you can't hear any of the other participants, your audio might be muted, turned down too low, or Zoom might be trying to output sound to the wrong speakers. To resolve this symptom, check the following:

Make sure the right speaker is selected in Zoom

  1. While in a meeting, select the arrow next to the microphone icon. This will open a menu.
    Icon for zoom
    The arrow next to the mute button
  2. From here you can make sure you have the right speaker selected.
    The available devices

Check for adequate volume levels and muting

While many sets of speakers and some headsets have their own volume knobs or wheels, many users tend to forget that your computer also has its own volume adjustments, including the ability to mute sound output entirely. This is important to check.

WindowsCheck Volume Levels and Muting on Windows
  1. Right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar and select Open Volume Mixer.
    Mouse with Right Mouse Button highlighted.
    Windows 10 open volume mixer
  2. You can set each application's audio level from here. If the icons at the bottom are blue then nothing has been muted.
    Windows 10 volume mixer
AppleCheck Volume Levels and Muting on Apple macOSFor an Apple Mac you can just check the volume slider and make sure it's set to your liking.
Macbook Pro's volume slider
Or you can select the speaker icon on the task bar and adjust the volume.
Mac Volume adjustment

Make sure your computer is using the right speakers or headphones

As was previously mentioned for microphones, your computer also has numerous 'Output' devices that it can send its audio to. Making sure your computer is sending audio to the correct device can make the difference between hearing nothing and hearing everything you expect to be hearing.

WindowsSelect the Correct Audio Output Device on Windows
  1. Left-click the speaker icon.
    Windows 10 speaker icon
  2. Click the arrow.
    Windows 10 speakers volume settings showing arrow
  3. Select your preferred playback device.
    Windows 10 sound settings info with selected speakers
  4. Make sure your correct playback device is selected.
AppleSelect the Correct Audio Output Device on Apple macOS
  1. If you are not using headphones or speakers, make sure none are plugged in.
  2. Click the Apple Menu, and choose System Preferences.
    Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  3.  Click Sound.
    Sound Preferences
  4. Choose Output at the top. Make sure your device is selected, the “Output volume” slider is not all the way to the left, and the Mute checkbox is not selected.
    sound preferences with mute option highlighted

If nothing else has worked, reboot your computer

If none of the suggestions have restored audio to your speakers or headphones, reboot your computer and try again. This may seem like a useless step, but sometimes the audio services on a computer can fail. Rebooting can restart those services and potentially resolve the issue you're experiencing.

If you're still experiencing problems after a reboot, the speakers or headphones you're using may be malfunctioning. Try a different device, or reach out to the manufacturer for further assistance.

WindowsTo Reboot a Windows Computer
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
AppleTo Reboot a Mac
  1. Select the Apple menu, then Shut Down...
    Apple menu with shut down highlighted
  2. Wait for your computer to shut down, and turn off.
  3. Wait 10 seconds.
  4. Turn your Mac back on by pushing the Power button on the keyboard.
    Mac Keyboard with Power button highlighted

3 I Hear an Echo, Static or Audio Sounds Bad

If you hear audio echo or audio feedback during your meeting, there are 3 possible causes:

  • One of the meeting participants has both computer and telephone audio active at the same time.
  • One of the meeting participants is using external speakers that their microphone is picking up, or is too close to.
  • There may be multiple meeting participants in the same room using their own personal computers/devices. 

Make sure participants are not using telephone and computer audio at the same time

If a meeting participant initially connected to the meeting using their computer, but had to dial-in using their telephone or vice-versa - make sure the device no longer being used is disconnected.

  1. To prevent this from happening again enter your participant ID when calling in.
  2. Or enter your #participant ID# when already in the call.
  3. Additionally you can click Leave Computer Audio on your computer.
    Leave computer audio

Keep microphones away from external speakers that are in-use

If any participants are using external speakers to listen to their meeting, their microphone may be picking up what's being played back, causing other attendees to hear an echo. If a microphone is too close to external speakers, this can cause loud audio feedback. Always recommend that users attend meetings using headphones or a headset with a built-in microphone to minimize the chances of this being an issue.

If multiple meeting participants are in close proximity to each other

Similar to the suggestion above, always suggest that participants use their own headphones or headsets to avoid situations where one person's microphone picks up another.

If you're having problems with an echo

If your meeting attendees are hearing an echo, it means that someone's microphone is picking up the audio that's being played back. In most cases, this can be avoided if participants who aren't speaking simply use the Mute feature to keep themselves muted if they aren't speaking. If you are the host/presenter you can:
  • Mute attendees one at a time to determine which one is causing the echo issue.
  • Mute all attendees and only unmute someone when they're asked to speak.
  • Have attendees mute themselves if they do not plan on speaking, or are just there to listen.
Additional sources that can potentially cause echo issues:
  • Speakers (such as TV or soundbar) that are too loud.
  • Microphone echo cancellation features that have failed (this is likely a device or performance issue).
  • A malfunctioning microphone.

4 I Can't Fix My Sound, How Do I Connect by Phone?

For most of us, attending a Zoom meeting is a very time-sensitive task. If you're unable to quickly resolve your issue and simply need a way to attend your meeting as soon as possible, Zoom provides the ability to dial-into any meeting using your telephone for audio. This will allow you to get connected immediately without missing a beat - affording you time to correct your computer's Zoom issues before your next meeting.

Disconnect your computer from meeting audio

If you've already joined your meeting with computer audio, but something's wrong and you need to call-in instead, you can have your computer disconnect from meeting audio easily.
  1. While in a meeting, select the arrow next to the microphone icon. This will open a menu.
    Icon for zoom
    The arrow next to the mute button
  2. Select Leave Computer Audio.
    Leave computer audio menu

Join meeting audio by telephone

Now that your computer has been disconnected from the meeting, you can dial into the meeting instead.

  1. Click the Join Audio button within the meeting's control bar.
    Icon for zoom
    Join computer audio button
  2. The available options will provide instructions on how to dial-in from your phone, join the meeting's audio with your computer, or have Zoom call you. In this example, the Phone Call tab has been selected.
    The zoom phone call tab
  3. Using the Phone Call tab, follow the instructions for dialing into your Zoom meeting:
    • Make sure the country you're calling from is correct within the flag drop-down menu.
    • Call one of the numbers provided.
    • Enter your meeting ID followed by #.
    • Enter your participant ID followed by #.

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If you've ever joined a Zoom meeting and have been overwhelmed with panic because you can't hear anyone else in the room, or are talking and nobody can hear you - we know where you're coming from.

Chances are, you're using Zoom for professional reasons and don't want to be that person who arrives late or cannot participate properly due to certain unforseen technical issues.

This guide will walk you through what to do when dealing with common Zoom audio issues.
Zoom banner

If the microphone that's built-in or attached to your computer isn't picking up your voice, it may not be connected or configured properly. Check the following to be sure that others are able to hear you properly during your Zoom meetings.

Make sure your microphone is properly connected

When using external devices for your audio input, such as a headset, or USB microphone, make sure they are properly connected to your computer, are powered on and their audio levels are high enough to hear.

  1. Let's make sure the external audio devices are connected correctly to your computer first:
    If you're using an analog microphone
    Your microphone should plugged into the Pink audio port and your headphone or speaker into the Green one.Analog audio connection showing pink plug going into pink port and lime green plug going into lime green port.
    If you're using a digital microphone
    In most cases, USB ports output power to drive the devices we've plugged in. Sometimes certain USB ports don't have enough power to properly drive the device we've connected. Make sure the USB cable has been fully connected/seated. If this doesn't have an effect, try using a different USB port on your computer.
    USB port and connector

    If you're using wireless devices, such as Bluetooth, make sure they're battery is charged, turned on and connected to the computer.

  2. Depending on the microphone or headset you're using, it may have its own mute button or switch. These types of buttons and/or switches do not report their status to your computer, but may have an indicator light to let you know that your microphone has been 'locally' muted in this way. Always make sure your microphone has not been locally muted by a physical button or switch.
    Red light highlighted on inline controls of headset.

Check the microphone's volume on your computer

There's a possibility that while your microphone might not be muted, the volume level of your microphone may be set too low, causing others to not be able to hear you. The following will help you check the volume level of your microphone (sometimes referred to on your computer as the recording or input device) to be sure it is at a high enough level so that others can hear you.

WindowsTo Check the Microphone Volume Level on Windows
  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.
AppleTo Check the Microphone Volume Level on Apple macOS
  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.

Make sure you're not muted within Zoom

Zoom has a built-in mute feature you can use to stop your microphone from broadcasting while the presenter and/or other attendees are speaking. Muting while you have no intention of speaking is typical and proper video conferencing etiquette. However, if you've accidentally left yourself muted, this is a common and easy fix.

Unmuted Microphone
Zoom mute button
A green circle with a microphone in it is shown when you can be heard by others.The zoom meeting audio showing unmuted
Muted Microphone
A muted microphone
A microphone with a red line is shown when you can't be heard by others.Zoom meeting window showing the unmute button

Make sure the right microphone is selected in Zoom

  1. While in a meeting, select the arrow next to the microphone icon. This will open a menu.
    Icon for zoom
    The arrow next to the mute button
  2. From here you can make sure you have the right microphone selected.
    The available devices

If you've joined a meeting and others can hear you, but you can't hear any of the other participants, your audio might be muted, turned down too low, or Zoom might be trying to output sound to the wrong speakers. To resolve this symptom, check the following:

Make sure the right speaker is selected in Zoom

  1. While in a meeting, select the arrow next to the microphone icon. This will open a menu.
    Icon for zoom
    The arrow next to the mute button
  2. From here you can make sure you have the right speaker selected.
    The available devices

Check for adequate volume levels and muting

While many sets of speakers and some headsets have their own volume knobs or wheels, many users tend to forget that your computer also has its own volume adjustments, including the ability to mute sound output entirely. This is important to check.

WindowsCheck Volume Levels and Muting on Windows
  1. Right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar and select Open Volume Mixer.
    Mouse with Right Mouse Button highlighted.
    Windows 10 open volume mixer
  2. You can set each application's audio level from here. If the icons at the bottom are blue then nothing has been muted.
    Windows 10 volume mixer
AppleCheck Volume Levels and Muting on Apple macOSFor an Apple Mac you can just check the volume slider and make sure it's set to your liking.
Macbook Pro's volume slider
Or you can select the speaker icon on the task bar and adjust the volume.
Mac Volume adjustment

Make sure your computer is using the right speakers or headphones

As was previously mentioned for microphones, your computer also has numerous 'Output' devices that it can send its audio to. Making sure your computer is sending audio to the correct device can make the difference between hearing nothing and hearing everything you expect to be hearing.

WindowsSelect the Correct Audio Output Device on Windows
  1. Left-click the speaker icon.
    Windows 10 speaker icon
  2. Click the arrow.
    Windows 10 speakers volume settings showing arrow
  3. Select your preferred playback device.
    Windows 10 sound settings info with selected speakers
  4. Make sure your correct playback device is selected.
AppleSelect the Correct Audio Output Device on Apple macOS
  1. If you are not using headphones or speakers, make sure none are plugged in.
  2. Click the Apple Menu, and choose System Preferences.
    Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  3.  Click Sound.
    Sound Preferences
  4. Choose Output at the top. Make sure your device is selected, the “Output volume” slider is not all the way to the left, and the Mute checkbox is not selected.
    sound preferences with mute option highlighted

If nothing else has worked, reboot your computer

If none of the suggestions have restored audio to your speakers or headphones, reboot your computer and try again. This may seem like a useless step, but sometimes the audio services on a computer can fail. Rebooting can restart those services and potentially resolve the issue you're experiencing.

If you're still experiencing problems after a reboot, the speakers or headphones you're using may be malfunctioning. Try a different device, or reach out to the manufacturer for further assistance.

WindowsTo Reboot a Windows Computer
Before you restart or shut down your PC, make sure to save all necessary work to prevent data loss.
  1. Select the Start menu, then select Power.
    Windows 10 Start Menu
    Windows 10 Power Button
  2. Select Restart.
    Windows 10 Power menu with Restart highlighted.
AppleTo Reboot a Mac
  1. Select the Apple menu, then Shut Down...
    Apple menu with shut down highlighted
  2. Wait for your computer to shut down, and turn off.
  3. Wait 10 seconds.
  4. Turn your Mac back on by pushing the Power button on the keyboard.
    Mac Keyboard with Power button highlighted

If you hear audio echo or audio feedback during your meeting, there are 3 possible causes:

  • One of the meeting participants has both computer and telephone audio active at the same time.
  • One of the meeting participants is using external speakers that their microphone is picking up, or is too close to.
  • There may be multiple meeting participants in the same room using their own personal computers/devices. 

Make sure participants are not using telephone and computer audio at the same time

If a meeting participant initially connected to the meeting using their computer, but had to dial-in using their telephone or vice-versa - make sure the device no longer being used is disconnected.

  1. To prevent this from happening again enter your participant ID when calling in.
  2. Or enter your #participant ID# when already in the call.
  3. Additionally you can click Leave Computer Audio on your computer.
    Leave computer audio

Keep microphones away from external speakers that are in-use

If any participants are using external speakers to listen to their meeting, their microphone may be picking up what's being played back, causing other attendees to hear an echo. If a microphone is too close to external speakers, this can cause loud audio feedback. Always recommend that users attend meetings using headphones or a headset with a built-in microphone to minimize the chances of this being an issue.

If multiple meeting participants are in close proximity to each other

Similar to the suggestion above, always suggest that participants use their own headphones or headsets to avoid situations where one person's microphone picks up another.

If you're having problems with an echo

If your meeting attendees are hearing an echo, it means that someone's microphone is picking up the audio that's being played back. In most cases, this can be avoided if participants who aren't speaking simply use the Mute feature to keep themselves muted if they aren't speaking. If you are the host/presenter you can:
  • Mute attendees one at a time to determine which one is causing the echo issue.
  • Mute all attendees and only unmute someone when they're asked to speak.
  • Have attendees mute themselves if they do not plan on speaking, or are just there to listen.
Additional sources that can potentially cause echo issues:
  • Speakers (such as TV or soundbar) that are too loud.
  • Microphone echo cancellation features that have failed (this is likely a device or performance issue).
  • A malfunctioning microphone.

For most of us, attending a Zoom meeting is a very time-sensitive task. If you're unable to quickly resolve your issue and simply need a way to attend your meeting as soon as possible, Zoom provides the ability to dial-into any meeting using your telephone for audio. This will allow you to get connected immediately without missing a beat - affording you time to correct your computer's Zoom issues before your next meeting.

Disconnect your computer from meeting audio

If you've already joined your meeting with computer audio, but something's wrong and you need to call-in instead, you can have your computer disconnect from meeting audio easily.
  1. While in a meeting, select the arrow next to the microphone icon. This will open a menu.
    Icon for zoom
    The arrow next to the mute button
  2. Select Leave Computer Audio.
    Leave computer audio menu

Join meeting audio by telephone

Now that your computer has been disconnected from the meeting, you can dial into the meeting instead.

  1. Click the Join Audio button within the meeting's control bar.
    Icon for zoom
    Join computer audio button
  2. The available options will provide instructions on how to dial-in from your phone, join the meeting's audio with your computer, or have Zoom call you. In this example, the Phone Call tab has been selected.
    The zoom phone call tab
  3. Using the Phone Call tab, follow the instructions for dialing into your Zoom meeting:
    • Make sure the country you're calling from is correct within the flag drop-down menu.
    • Call one of the numbers provided.
    • Enter your meeting ID followed by #.
    • Enter your participant ID followed by #.