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

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

When your Xbox One headset is not working, it usually manifests in the following three ways: people can hear you, but you can't hear them; nobody can hear you, and you can't hear anyone; or everyone is quiet.

These problems can occur at any time, and you may experience a situation where your headset stops working, then starts working again, while you're 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 a problem with the Xbox One settings. Common issues include frayed cords and broken wires, bent headphone plugs, and loose headphone jacks.

A child frustrated that an Xbox One controller won't recognize the headset.
AHPhotoswpg / iStock / Getty

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 the 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.

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

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

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

    Plug and unplug the 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 move the plug back and forth. If the plug can wiggle back and forth when inserted securely into the controller, then you're probably dealing with a bad Xbox One controller headphone jack.

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

  4. Try the 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 isn't bad.

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

  6. Check the headset cord and plug for signs of damage or debris. If the cord is damaged, or the plug is bent, repair or replace the headset.

    If you find debris like dirt or food on the connector, clean 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 the headset volume is turned down or muted, but people can hear you. Increase the audio using the buttons on the connector that's plugged into the controller's expansion port, or the inline volume wheel if you have a 3.5mm chat headset.

    You can also adjust volume settings on your Xbox One. Go 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, go to Settings > Account > Privacy & online safety View details & customize > Communicate with voice and text > everybody.

    Child profiles cannot change this setting. To change this setting for a child, log in using the associated parent profile.

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

    To rule this out, go 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 your chat settings are correct.

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

    If this setting was on Speakers, change it to Headset.

  11. Adjust the game chat sound balance. If you use the Xbox One headset adapter, it has a built-in mixer. If this mixer is set to provide 100% 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 the 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 the 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 the Xbox One. In rare cases, an issue with your Xbox One can cause the headset to not work properly. To rule this out, power cycle the console.

    To power cycle a 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 the 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, the headset or controller may be broken.

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