Wireless headsets seem much more complex than their wired counterparts, but are they really?

It seems like there are so many things that can go wrong with a wireless headset, from connectivity issues to the dongle unpairing. How can we condense all the possible issues down to the 4 most common? Starting here will save you valuable time, and might keep you from needing to start an IT ticket. Here are our quick tips for wireless headsets.

Power Problems

Savi 8210/20 Power switch

It might sound silly, but make sure your headset is powered on. With single or dual-eared wearing styles with USB dongles, there is often a power switch beneath one of the ears, or on the battery of the earbud-style headset. This switch should be in the middle of the housing, often with a green color showing behind it. This will let you know that the headset is powered on. You should also hear voice prompts like “Power On, battery high” or the tones from your PC to let you know that the volume is going up and down. If the power to the headset isn’t on, it’s not going to work no matter what you change in your PC.

USB Dongle Pairing

Plantronics BT600 & BT700 dongles

Observe what color your USB dongle is. Most wireless headsets are used with USB adapters (called dongles) that plug directly into your PC, and the LED lights on the adapter indicate its connectivity. When you first plug the dongle into your PC, you should hear a notification indicating that it has been seen by the computer. This is usually a ding or beeping tone. The dongle should light up, and be a solid blue or purple. See below for the standard states of Plantronics USB adapters.

Plantronics USB dongle LED light breakdown

If the LED is not lit up at all, and you hear no connection tone when plugging it into your PC, it may be that your USB dongle has unpaired from the headset. Depending on the type of headset you have, there is likely a control application that can help you re-pair the headset with the USB dongle. Poly headsets have Plantronics Hub, and Jabra headset have Jabra Direct, both of which are headset control applications that can help you re-pair the headset with the dongle.

Default Audio Device Selection

Your wireless headset might have a few different ways to connect: via USB dongle, via Bluetooth connection to the PC, even via USB cable to the PC in some instances. If your headset is a DECT headset, then your USB dongle is key. How do you make sure that your headset is the device selected by your PC, so you can make sure that you’re getting and sending audio?

Clicking on the Speaker icon in your PC’s task bar will take you to your currently selected audio device. Mine is listed as the USB dongle for the Jabra Evolve2 75: the Link380. To change audio devices, click on the Up arrow next to the audio device name. If you’re using a Mac, you’d need to select the USB dongle in the sound settings.
Even though the headset itself is listed in the available playback devices, I want to make sure that the USB adapter is chosen instead. This ensures that the connection is as stable as it can be, and offers the best audio quality and range for the headset.

Setting the audio device in this menu to the output you’d like to use doesn’t mean it will fix the audio device that a certain softphone or calling application will use, as some applications require that you choose within the app. However, it will change your input quickly to where you need it to go. Make sure that you double check within your softphone application that the USB dongle is set to the default audio device, as well as the microphone. We’ll take a look at those settings below either way.

Microsoft Teams (Or Softphone) Settings

As mentioned above, softphones and calling applications often can have their own settings that need to be squared away to be able to utilize a headset for speaking and listening. The most popular of these would be Microsoft Teams, Slack, WebEx, and Zoom. All of these calling applications have their own settings, but let’s take a look at Teams testing specifically.

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 the USB dongle that you’re using. We’ll select the Link 380 again, and we want to see it under all the settings.
Once your audio device is chosen, you should see the same device 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. With this is mind, try these steps out, and chances are you can avoid putting in that IT ticket altogether!