Wired headsets should be the most simple type of headset, right?

So why is there suddenly no sound? Why can’t you use your microphone in that Teams call? Even though it’s the the most straightforward of headset connection types, there are still things that can go wrong. Let’s take a look at the top 3 culprits of wired headset malfunction, and quick tips for how to solve them.

USB Connectivity Problems

Voyager 5220 UC

PROBLEM: You plugged your headset into a USB port on your PC, but you can’t hear anything out of it. It’s like it’s not even plugged in! No music, no voice, no microphone. What gives??

CONTEXT: Wired headsets are a plug-and-play type of device. You plug the USB end into any USB port of the same size, and it should just work, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Wired headsets like the Blackwire C5220 used in these examples are dependent on the power from a USB port in your PC or laptop.

Not all USB ports are powered, especially on towers, some laptops, or USB hubs.

FIX: Start by unplugging and re-plugging the headset into the same USB port. You should hear a tone from the PC when the headset is plugged back in and recognized. If this doesn’t work, try to use another USB port. Test the volume up and down on the in-line controller or using the volume slider in your sound settings. You should hear the volume going up and down on the PC and see the volume indicator move on the PC screen. Always plug these headsets directly into the PC instead of a USB hub.

Default Audio Device Selection

PROBLEM: You PC recognizes the headset when you plug it in, but you can’t hear through the earphones.

CONTEXT: Just because a sound device is plugged into your computer doesn’t mean that it’s automatically the default sound device that the computer will use.

You’ll need to make sure that the correct device is being utilized by the computer for sound.

FIX: Follow the steps below to see if your headset is the audio device currently being used by the computer:

In your Task bar, near the date and time, should be the Speaker icon. Click on it.
This shows that another headset is being used as the current sound device. Since this isn’t the headset we want to use, to change it we’ll click on the up-arrow in the corner of the pop-up box.
This will pop up with a longer list of all available sound devices available to my computer. The one we want is the Blackwire 5220. We’re going to click on that one.
Once we’ve selected the correct device, we can test whether it’s working by turning the volume up and down, or sliding the toggle back and forth on the sound bar. We should hear the volume up and down tones through the headset.

Microsoft Teams (Or Softphone) Settings

PROBLEM: When you go to make a call or join a meeting in Microsoft Teams, you can’t hear anything! Or you’re unable to use your microphone, and nobody can hear you!

CONTEXT: This can happen for the same reason that the headset doesn’t automatically become the default sound device. Each type of softphone or calling application uses different settings for sound, so make sure you’re looking for audio settings within your chosen softphone and updating your preferences as you get new audio devices.

We have to check to make sure that Teams is using the input and output of the headset for making calls and joining meetings.

FIX: See if your settings are correct so you can make a Teams call:

In the Teams application, next to the profile bubble with your initials or picture in it, go to the three dots beside the bubble to access the Settings menu.
In the Devices tab, we’ll want to make sure that the Audio device is set to Blackwire.
Once your audio device is chosen, you should see the same device (Plantronics Blackwire) as both the speaker and the microphone. Once these are set, click on the Make a Test Call button. This will take you to an Echo call window, which will give you a voice prompt for how to test your headset’s microphone. It will ask you to record a short voice message to be played back. Say a brief sentence after the tone, and wait to hear it played back to you. If you can hear the voice prompts, and hear your recording played back to you, then your headset is set up for Teams use!

Of course, there are always more complicated problems that can occur with any headset, but these are a good jumping off point for empowering yourself to do some light troubleshooting before IT gets involved. Try these steps out, and chances are you can avoid putting in that IT ticket altogether!