Can I use Bluetooth headphones as a microphone?

Bluetooth headphones have become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to their wireless connectivity and ability to pair with smartphones, tablets, and computers. While most people use Bluetooth headphones for listening to music or taking calls, did you know that many models also have built-in microphones? This allows your Bluetooth headphones to pull double duty as a headset for making calls or doing voice recordings.

In this article, we’ll explore how to use your Bluetooth headphones as a microphone, the microphone quality you can expect, recommended models with good headset features, and alternative microphone options if your Bluetooth headphones don’t suit your needs.

How Bluetooth Headphones Work

Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard that allows devices to communicate over short distances using radio waves in the 2.4 GHz band. For headphones to connect wirelessly via Bluetooth, they must support the Bluetooth headset profile (HSP) or the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP).

The headset profile allows basic mono audio connections for calls and voice commands. A2DP provides high quality stereo audio streaming for music playback. Most Bluetooth headphones support both HSP and A2DP to deliver clear audio for music, videos, games, and phone calls.(1)

Bluetooth headphones contain a small Bluetooth receiver chip and antenna for connecting to smartphones, computers, TVs, and other devices also equipped with Bluetooth connectivity. The headphones broadcast availability when in pairing mode for other devices to discover and connect.

Once paired, the audio signal is compressed and transmitted between the devices. Bluetooth codecs like SBC and AAC encode and decode the audio for efficient wireless transmission. The range is usually up to 30 feet depending on interference. Some headphones also have NFC for quick tap-to-pair functionality.

Microphone Capabilities

Many popular Bluetooth headphone models like AirPods and Beats headphones contain built-in microphones that allow you to use them for phone calls or voice chats. According to Amazon, top selling Bluetooth headphones from brands like Taotronics, Mpow, and Anker also boast microphone capabilities ( Best Buy also offers a wide selection of Bluetooth headphones with microphone support built in (

The built-in microphones in Bluetooth headphones are serviceable but have some limitations compared to a dedicated external microphone. The mics are optimized for picking up the user’s voice during calls and tend to have omnidirectional polar patterns. This makes them prone to picking up background noise. The microphone quality is also lower than standalone mics designed specifically for recording or broadcasting. So while Bluetooth headphone mics can work in a pinch, they may lack the directionality, noise cancellation, and overall audio quality needed for professional use cases.

Using Your Headphones as a Microphone

Most Bluetooth headphones have a built-in microphone to enable hands-free calling. This allows you to use your Bluetooth headphones as a microphone for voice chats, video conferencing, voice recordings, and more.

To use your Bluetooth headphones as a microphone, first you need to pair them to your computer, phone, or tablet via Bluetooth. The pairing process will vary depending on your device, but generally involves putting the headphones in pairing mode, enabling Bluetooth on your device, selecting the headphones from the list of available devices, and connecting. Consult your headphone and device manuals for detailed pairing instructions.

On over-ear and on-ear Bluetooth headphones, the microphone is typically located on the left earcup. For in-ear headphones, the mic is usually built into the left earbud. The mic may be marked with a small icon or the letter ‘L’ or ‘R’.

The audio quality captured by your Bluetooth headphone’s microphone varies between models. Higher-end headphones generally have better noise canceling and audio pickup capabilities. The mic quality may not match that of a dedicated external mic, but is sufficient for casual usage in chats, calls, and recordings.

To get the best performance, position the mic near your mouth when using it and speak directly into it. Also try to use your headphones in a quiet environment to minimize background noise.

Microphone Quality and Issues

When using Bluetooth headphones as a microphone, the sound quality can vary greatly depending on the headphones and usage scenario. Many Bluetooth headphones do not have very high quality built-in microphones intended for making calls or recording audio. These headphones are optimized for listening, not speaking.

Compared to a dedicated external microphone, the microphone quality of most Bluetooth headphones will be noticeably inferior in tests. The microphones tend to pick up higher background noise, have more echo issues, and struggle to isolate the speaker’s voice. Positioning the headphones properly can help mitigate these issues.

Headphone microphones perform best when positioned close to the mouth, generally 1-2 inches away. This allows the microphone to focus directly on the speaker’s voice. But being overly close can lead to air turbulence and popping sounds. The ideal distance depends on the headphones.

Some headphones also have multiple integrated microphones to better isolate the speaker’s voice. Models optimized for calls tend to have improved microphone capabilities. But in noisy environments, Bluetooth headset microphones still struggle compared to dedicated external mics or wired options.

Overall, while usable in a pinch, counting on Bluetooth headphones to perform well as a microphone replacement is risky. For best results, use a dedicated external microphone designed specifically for recording, streaming, calls, etc. There are affordable lavalier microphone options that connect via Bluetooth for mobile use. For professional usage, choose a wired microphone which does not rely on a compressed Bluetooth audio connection.

Headphone Mic Features

When considering using your Bluetooth headphones as a microphone, it’s important to understand some of the key headphone mic features that impact performance and call quality. Three key features that affect headphone mic quality are:

  • Noise cancellation – Many headphones now come with advanced noise cancelling microphones to eliminate background sounds for clearer voice quality. For example, Caymuller headphones feature noise-cancelling boom mics for reliable voice pickup according to Amazon’s product description.
  • Volume/mute controls – Convenient inline or on earcup controls allow you to easily adjust headphone mic volume levels or mute yourself with the touch of a button.
  • Voice assistants – Some models feature voice assistant activation allowing you to access Siri or Google Assistant hands-free using your headphone’s built-in microphone.

Paying attention to these mic features when shopping for Bluetooth headphones to use as a microphone can ensure you pick a model capable of providing clear voice quality on calls or video chats.

Recommended Models

If you’re looking for Bluetooth headphones with high-quality microphone capabilities for phone calls or videos, here are some of the top options:

The Sony WH-1000XM5 offers excellent noise cancellation to block out ambient sound during calls and has a precise voice pickup that focuses on your voice. Reviewers praise the WH-1000XM5’s microphone quality.

Another good recommendation from is the Bose 700 Headphones Wireless. It picks up accurate voice audio with its 4 microphone system for high call quality. The Bose mics effectively parse your voice from background noise.

Apple’s AirPods Max also delivers great microphone performance for calls with beamforming mics and noise reduction capabilities that adapt to your environment for clear call communication.

Use Cases

Bluetooth headphones with microphones can be handy for a variety of use cases where you need the freedom of wireless audio and still want a microphone for calls or other functions. Here are some of the primary use cases for using Bluetooth headphones as a microphone:

Taking Calls

Most Bluetooth headphones these days allow you to take calls and use the headphones’ integrated microphone. Users can pair their headphones to their smartphone and seamlessly transition from listening to music to taking a phone call with clear call quality. Many Bluetooth headphones even have built-in controls for answering calls and adjusting volume.


When gaming on a PC or console, Bluetooth headphones eliminate wires and allow the freedom to move while playing. Using the built-in mic also means you can engage in game chat for coordinating with teammates or chatting with other players. The YouTube video demonstrates gaming with Bluetooth headphones and integrated mic capabilities.


Livestreamers who want to avoid wires and be able to move around while broadcasting can use Bluetooth headphones with a built-in mic for their audio. The headphones provide sound while the headphone microphone transmits voice audio and commentary to the stream.

Voice Overs

Voice over artists can also use Bluetooth headphones with a built-in microphone for recording voice overs for videos, podcasts, or audio. The headphone mic can directly capture and transmit the voice audio while providing audio in the headphones at the same time.

Alternatives to Headphone Mics

While Bluetooth headphones can be used as a microphone in a pinch, there are better options available for dedicated microphone use. Some alternatives to consider include:

Dedicated USB/Wireless Mics

Dedicated USB or wireless microphones designed specifically for voice input often provide higher quality audio compared to most headphone microphones. According to a Reddit thread, wireless gaming headsets that use a proprietary 2.4GHz USB dongle can make a good alternative with no latency or interference. These gaming-focused microphones are optimized for clear voice chat.

Lavalier Microphones

Lavalier or “lapel” microphones are small clip-on mics designed to attach to clothing near the speaker’s mouth. As explained in a New York Times article, lavalier mics provide professional-grade audio quality in a tiny, convenient package. Though they require wires, lav mics capture clear voice audio and isolate speech from background noises.


In summary, most Bluetooth headphones have a built-in microphone that allows them to double as a headset. The mic quality varies across models, but can work reasonably well for phone calls, video conferences, live streams, voice assistants, dictation, and other casual voice input needs. However, serious vocalists, podcasters, or streamers may want a dedicated USB microphone for optimal audio clarity. When using your headphones as a mic, be mindful of background noise and interference, position the mic near your mouth, and adjust settings if needed. With a little tweaking, Bluetooth headphones can pull double duty for many voice applications. Just don’t expect studio-level performance.

We’ve covered the basics of how you can use many Bluetooth headphones as makeshift mics in a pinch. While limitations exist, the convenience can’t be beat for mobile users. Just be sure to test mic quality ahead of important calls or recordings. If vocal clarity is crucial, invest in a specialty mic, use wired headphones with an integrated mic, or try a mobile recording app. But for everyday voice input needs, your wireless headphones may get the job done. Convenience comes at an audio cost, but the flexibility is hard to pass up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *