How to Fix It When Your Xbox Series X or S Headset Is Not Working

Trouble communicating with your team or friends in party chat? Let’s fix it

When an Xbox Series X or S headset is not working, you may experience a handful of different effects. Typically, your friends in party chat can’t hear you over Xbox Live, and you can’t hear them either. If just one part of the headset malfunctions, you may be able to hear your friends while they can’t hear you, or the other way around. There’s a chance that your headset is just broken, but there are also a number of fixes you can try before you write it off.

What Causes an Xbox Series X or S Headset to Stop Working?

This type of problem can be caused by issues with the headset itself, the controller, the adapter if you’re using a wireless headset, and even incorrectly configured privacy settings on your Xbox Series X or S. Problems like frayed cords and broken wires, damaged or dirty connections, and unplugged wireless adapters are all commonly associated with Xbox Series X or S headsets that stop working.

Are you trying to use your wireless Xbox One headset with your Xbox Series X or S? If it stopped working when you switched consoles, it may not be compatible. Check with the manufacturer to see if your headset is fully compatible with the Xbox Series X or S.

How to Fix an Xbox Series X or S Headset That Doesn’t Work

While headsets can and do break, fixing most of the problems that cause an Xbox Series X or S headset to stop working is easy enough to do at home without too much assistance.

To fix your Xbox Series X or S headset and start chatting with your friends again, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your controller is connected. If you’re using a wired headset, make sure your controller is actually connected to your Xbox before you do anything else. Since the headset connects to the controller, it won’t work if your controller isn’t connected. If you find that it isn’t connected, try syncing the controller again.

  2. Make sure the wireless adapter is connected. If you are using a wireless headset that uses a USB dongle, unplug it from your Xbox and reinsert it. Make sure it’s inserted correctly and pushed in all the way. If it was on the back, try inserting it into the front USB port for a stronger wireless connection.

  3. Check to see that your headset is charged. If you’re using a wireless headset, verify that it’s charged and powered on. If the battery is dead or won’t take a charge, that will prevent it from working correctly with your Xbox Series X or S.

  4. Verify that your headset isn’t muted. Most headsets that work with the Xbox Series X|S have a mute button on the headset or in the cord. Try muting and unmuting to see if your friends can hear you. The switch may be malfunctioning, in which case switching back and forth may allow you to unmute it.

  5. Inspect the headset cord. If you see any signs of fraying or broken wires, that will prevent the headset from working correctly. You can repair the broken wires if you have the right equipment, enlist professional help, or just replace the headset.

  6. Check the connection to the controller. If you’re using a wired headset, unplug it from the controller and examine both the plug and the socket. If the plug is dirty, clean it off. If you notice any debris in the socket, attempt to shake it out, remove it with a toothpick or other thin implement, or blow it out with compressed air.

    Grip the connector firmly when plugging and unplugging the headset. Pulling the cord instead may damage the connections or the port itself.

  7. Try a different controller or device. If you’re using a wired headset, try plugging it into a different controller. If you don’t have another controller, try plugging it into a computer, laptop, or any other device that has a headset port. If it works there, your controller is bad, or you may have problems with the privacy settings on your Xbox.

    Xbox One controllers work with Series X or S consoles. If you have an Xbox One controller that works, you can sync it to your Series X or S and use it to test your headset during this step.

  8. Plug the wireless dongle into a different device. If you’re using a headset with a wireless dongle, try plugging it into a computer or any other device it’s designed to work with. If it works with the other device, then it probably isn’t designed for Xbox Series X|S.

    If your wireless headset works with Xbox Series X|S natively, you won’t be able to perform this step as other devices don't use the Xbox wireless protocol.

  9. Try a different headset. If you have a different wireless or wired headset, try it instead and see if it works. If it does, your original headset may have broken. Check with the manufacturer if it’s still under warranty.

  10. Increase your headset audio. If you can’t hear anything, your audio may just be too low. Adjust the audio volume with a control on your headset, or with the settings on your Xbox Series X or S.

  11. Fix your privacy settings. The Xbox Series X or S has privacy settings that can prevent voice chat from working. If you aren’t a child, and aren’t using a child account, you can fix this yourself.

    1. Navigate to Profile & system > Settings > Account Privacy & online safety.
    2. Select Xbox Live Safety.
    3. Select View details and customize.
    4. Select Communications & multiplayer.
    5. Choose who you want to be able to communicate with.
  12. Replace the batteries in your controller. If you’re using a wired headset, weak batteries can cause the headset to work poorly or not at all. Try a set of fresh batteries and see if that helps.

  13. Update your controller firmware. If you have outdated or corrupt firmware, that can also prevent a wired headset from working correctly.

    To update your controller firmware:

    1. Press the Xbox button to open the Guide.
    2. Navigate to Profile & system > Settings.
    3. Navigate to Devices & connections > Accessories.
    4. Select the controller that doesn't work.
    5. Select the three dot menu and check for a firmware update.
  14. Power cycle your Xbox Series X or S. In some cases, a glitch with the console itself can keep a headset from connecting and working correctly. This can usually be fixed by a simple power cycle:

    1. Shut down your Xbox Series X or S.
    2. Unplug the console from power.
    3. Wait five minutes, and plug it back in.
    4. Turn the console on, and check if your headset works.
  15. If your headset still doesn’t work after trying everything, then you may just have a bad headset. Try contacting the manufacturer for further assistance, or to see if repairs are available.

    Due to the typical cost of repairs compared to replacement cost, it often makes more sense to just buy a new Xbox headset rather than pay for repairs