How to Fix It When Your Xbox One Headset Is Not Working

Friends can't hear you on Xbox Live? Let's fix that

A boy plays a racing game with his Xbox One headset not working.

Andre Popov / iStock / Getty Images

When your Xbox One headset is not working, it usually manifests in the following ways:

  • People can hear you, but you can't hear them.
  • Nobody can hear you, and you can't hear anyone.
  • Everyone is very quiet.

These problems can occur at any time, and you may even experience a situation where your headset stops working, then starts working again, while you're still using it.

Causes of an Xbox One Headset Not Working

When an Xbox One headset stops working, it can be due to a problem with the headset, a problem with the controller, or even a problem with the Xbox One settings. Common issues include frayed cords and broken wires, bent headphone plugs, and loose headphone jacks.

How to Fix an Xbox One Headset That Doesn't Work

In most cases, you can fix an Xbox One headset that doesn't work yourself. To figure out what your problem is, and fix it, go through the following troubleshooting steps in order. Attempt each fix, and then check to see if your headset works.

In the event that the headset itself is defective, the difficulty associated with repairing a headset, and the low cost of replacing one, means you're usually better off just buying a new one.

Before you proceed, make sure your controller is actually on and connected to your Xbox One. If it isn't, check out our tips to fixing an Xbox One controller that won't connect to see if that helps with your problem.

  1. Disconnect the headset, and plug it back in firmly. An improperly seated headset plug is the single most common cause of this type of problem. If your headset works after plugging it back in, but it stops working again later, there may be a problem with the headphone jack.

    Plug and unplug your headset by firmly gripping the connector. Pulling on the cord may damage the headset or the port in your controller.

  2. With the headset plugged in, carefully try to move the plug back and forth. If the plug can wiggle back and forth when inserted securely into your controller, then you're probably dealing with a bad Xbox One controller headphone jack.

  3. Verify the headset isn't muted. Check the mute button on your headset adapter or on the inline volume control. If it's muted, flip it and try again.

  4. Try your headset with a different controller or a different device. This will rule your headset out as the problem. If it works when plugged into a different controller or device, then you know the headset itself isn't bad.

  5. Try a different headset with your controller. This will rule your controller out as the problem. If your headset still doesn't work when plugged into a different controller, there is probably an issue with the headset itself.

  6. Check the headset cord and plug for signs of damage or debris. If the cord is damaged, or the plug is bent, you'll have to repair or replace your headset.

    If you find debris like dirt or food on the connector, try cleaning it with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Make sure the connector is dry before you plug it back in.

  7. Increase the headset audio. You can't hear anyone if your headset volume is turned down or muted, but people can hear you. Try increasing the audio using the buttons on the connector that's plugged into your controller's expansion port, or the in-line volume wheel if you have a 3.5mm chat headset.

    You can also adjust volume settings on your Xbox One. Navigate to Settings > Device & accessories, select your controller, then adjust the audio settings.

  8. Check your Xbox One privacy settings. These settings allow you to choose who you can hear when playing games on Xbox Live, so incorrect settings can prevent you from hearing anyone.

    To check these settings, navigate to Settings > Account > Privacy & online safety View details & customize > Communicate with voice and text > everybody.

    Child profiles are unable to change this setting. To change this setting for a child, you need to log in using the associated parent profile.

  9. Check the Chat Mixer. This setting is designed to alter the sounds you hear based on whether other people are talking, so it can cause your headset to behave abnormally.

    To rule this out, navigate to Settings > Display & Sound > Volume > Chat mixer, then select Do nothing.

  10. Change your party chat output. This setting allows you to choose whether party chat comes through your headset, your TV speakers, or both. If you change it to come through your speakers, and you can hear your party, then you know your chat settings are correct.

    To rule this out, navigate to Settings > Display & Sound > Volume > Party chat output, then select Speakers.

    If you find this setting was already on speakers, try changing it to headset.

  11. Adjust the game chat sound balance. If you're using the Xbox One headset adapter, it has a built-in mixer. If this mixer is set to provide 100 percent game sound and zero percent chat, it will seem like your headset isn't working. Everyone will be able to hear you, but you won't be able to hear anyone else.

    Press the person icon, and see if the headset starts working.

    Pressing the button with the person icon increases the chat volume, and pressing the controller icon increases game volume.

  12. Replace the batteries in your controller. If the batteries are low, the headset may not function correctly. Try brand new batteries, or freshly charged batteries, and check to see if the headset starts working.

  13. Update your controller firmware. Xbox One controllers use firmware that Microsoft updates from time to time. In some cases, a firmware update can break headset functionality.

  14. Power cycle your Xbox One. In rare cases, an issue with your Xbox One itself can cause the headset to not work properly. To rule this out, try power cycling your console.

    To power cycle your console, press and hold the Xbox One's power button until the LED goes off, and leave it off for several minutes. While you wait, turn your controller off or remove the batteries to shut it off right away.

    After a few minutes have passed, press the Xbox One power button again. It will startup, and you should see the boot-up animation on your TV that indicates it has power cycled.

  15. If your headset still doesn't work, your headset or controller may be broken.

Make sure to try a different headset with your controller, and try your headset with a different controller, even if you have to borrow extras to do the test. You probably have a bad controller or headset, and this test will help you figure out which one is bad. You may also want to check out these tips to fixing Xbox One mic problems for additional information.