How do I get sound on Google Hangouts?

Google Hangouts is Google’s video conferencing and messaging platform, allowing users to have video calls, send messages, and collaborate in real-time. Hangouts comes built into Gmail, Google Calendar, and the Google Chat app. It also has standalone apps for mobile and desktop. A key feature of Hangouts is its ability to make voice and video calls with multiple people.

However, users sometimes find that Hangouts has no audio even when their microphone settings seem fine. There are a few common reasons Hangouts may not be picking up any audio or sound during calls:

  • Microphone access disabled for Hangouts in system settings
  • Incorrect or faulty audio input device selected
  • Other applications using the microphone
  • Outdated audio drivers need updating
  • Connectivity issues on poor internet connections

This guide will go through the main troubleshooting steps to get audio working again in Google Hangouts across desktop and mobile.

Check Your Microphone Settings

Ensure your microphone is not muted in Hangouts. When you join a Hangouts call, check for a microphone icon or mute button in the lower left corner of the call screen. Click it to unmute if it shows your microphone is muted. Hangouts may also prompt you to allow access to your microphone when first joining a call – make sure to click Allow so Hangouts can detect your microphone input.

Some users have reported issues with Hangouts not detecting the microphone in Linux even when access is allowed (source). If Hangouts is not detecting your microphone, you may need to adjust your microphone settings.

Check Your Speaker/Headset

The first step is to ensure your speakers or headset are properly connected and powered on. Verify that all cables are securely plugged in, both to your computer and to the speakers/headset. If using a wireless headset or speakers, check that they have a strong battery charge and are paired correctly to your device. You may need to go into your computer’s Bluetooth settings to troubleshoot the pairing.

Next, bring up the volume control panel in your computer’s system tray and confirm the volume for the speakers/headset is turned up. Try adjusting the volume levels higher if they were set low. Test that audio is coming through the speakers/headset by playing a song or video clip. The volume levels may need to be adjusted within the app you are using for the Hangout call as well. If you still do not hear any audio, the problem could be due to your microphone settings rather than the speakers/headset.

According to this Google Meet support thread, sometimes the speakers work for other services but not for Hangouts. In that case, you may need to switch the audio input device or change permissions in your firewall settings, as covered in later sections.

Troubleshoot Default Microphone

One of the most common issues with getting microphone audio in Google Hangouts is having the wrong microphone set as default in your computer’s sound settings. To resolve this:

1. Open your computer’s sound settings (e.g. Control Panel > Sound on Windows).

2. Under recording devices, check that the microphone you want to use with Hangouts is set as default.

3. If needed, right click your preferred device and select Set as Default.

You can test that the correct mic is now default by using apps like Voice Recorder to record audio.

Setting the proper default input device ensures your computer and apps route microphone audio to it automatically. With the right default set, Hangouts should be able to access and transmit microphone sound.

Update Your Audio Drivers

Outdated, corrupted, or incompatible audio drivers can sometimes cause issues with no sound in Hangouts. To update your audio drivers:

1. Open Device Manager on your computer (right-click the Start menu and select Device Manager).

2. Expand the “Sound, video and game controllers” section.

3. Right-click on your audio device and select “Update driver.” This will search for and install the latest driver from Windows Update.

If updating the driver does not work, you may need to uninstall the device, reboot your computer, and reinstall the latest audio driver from your hardware manufacturer’s website [1]. Reinstalling the driver often resolves audio problems.

Keeping your audio drivers up-to-date is important for eliminating potential Hangouts sound issues. If you continue experiencing no audio, there may be another cause at play.

Disable Other Microphones

One of the most common issues that can prevent Hangouts from picking up your microphone input is conflicts with other microphones on your system. Having multiple microphones enabled at the same time confuses Hangouts and can cause it to default to the wrong input.

To avoid this, you should disable any other microphones you are not using for Hangouts in your sound settings. This prevents Hangouts from detecting them and sticking with your intended microphone input.

On Windows, go to Sound settings and disable any other microphone devices listed besides the one you want to use. On Mac, open System Preferences > Sound and do the same in the Input section. This will remove any conflicts and allow Hangouts to focus on the sole enabled microphone.

You can also try disconnecting any secondary microphones physically if disabling in software does not work. Eliminating duplicate inputs often resolves microphone detection issues in Hangouts and other voice chat programs.

Allow Hangouts Through Firewall

If you can’t hear any audio in Google Hangouts, the issue may be that your firewall or antivirus software is blocking access to the application.

Follow these steps to allow Hangouts through your firewall:

  1. Open your firewall or antivirus software settings (like Windows Firewall or Bitdefender).
  2. Go to the connections or network monitoring section. Look for anything labeled “Hangouts”, “Meet”, or “WebRTC”.
  3. Add an exception to allow incoming and outgoing connections for Hangouts.
  4. Save your settings and restart Hangouts to see if sound is restored.

Allowing Hangouts connections through your firewall ensures audio can flow without getting blocked. If you still don’t hear sound after adding Hangouts as an allowed app in your firewall, you may need to troubleshoot other potential issues.

Switch Audio Input

Another troubleshooting step is to change the audio input device used in Hangouts. In your Hangouts settings, go to the “Audio and Video” section and click on the dropdown box to select a different microphone. Try switching to each available input device to see if any of them allow Hangouts to pick up your voice.

According to this discussion, some users have had to switch audio inputs in order for Hangouts to properly detect their microphone.

If changing the audio input setting doesn’t solve your no sound issue, you can move on to updating your audio drivers as the next troubleshooting step.

Use Hangouts on Another Device

One method to troubleshoot the issue is to check if Hangouts sound is working properly on another computer or mobile device. First, try opening a Hangouts call on another computer, like a laptop or desktop, and check if the microphone and speakers are functioning (1). Make sure the volume levels and microphone inputs are set correctly on the new device. You can also try Hangouts on a mobile device, like an Android phone or iPhone. If the microphone and sound works on another computer or phone, then the issue is likely limited to your original device.

Contact Google Support

If you still can’t get audio working in Google Hangouts after trying all of the troubleshooting steps above, the best option is to contact Google Support. When you reach out to them, make sure to explain the issue you’re having in detail and all of the troubleshooting steps you have already attempted.

Also provide as much relevant system information as possible, including:

  • Your operating system and version (e.g. Windows 10, MacOS Catalina)
  • The web browser and version you are using (e.g. Chrome 88, Firefox 85)
  • Device make and model (e.g. Dell XPS 15, iPhone XR)
  • Headset make and model if applicable

Providing Google Support with this detailed information will help their team troubleshoot the problem and identify potential fixes for you much faster. Some additional solutions they may suggest could include updating the Google Hangouts app, uninstalling and reinstalling device audio drivers, or clearing cookies/cache related to Hangouts. With Google’s world-class support team working on your case, hopefully you can get the sound issues resolved quickly and get back to enjoying Google Hangouts calls and meetings.

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