If you’re on a phone or video call and you suddenly hear your own voice on a slight delay, you’re most likely experiencing mic echo.
Even with modern calling technology, this scenario is still common and it can leave anyone feeling frustrated—especially when time is short and you need to present yourself as a polished, prepared communicator.
Fortunately, this phenomenon is usually caused by a variety of easily rectifiable factors, including:
- Where your microphone is located. This is the most common cause of echo issues. If you’re using an external mic, it may be situated too close to your speakers, causing it to pick up and send out the sound of your voice in an endless loop.
- The volume level of your speakers. If your speakers are too loud, your mic may be picking up on its output no matter where it’s located.
- The number of microphones in use. Having more than one running mic can multiply the sound of your voice. Make sure your main mic—whether it’s a headset, laptop, phone, or other standalone source—is the only one in use.
Identifying the Source of Mic Echo
When mic echo occurs, it may not always be clear exactly what or who is causing the problem. If everyone else on a call hears your voice echoed, then you are likely to be the source, even if your voice sounds normal to you on your own speakers. The same goes for any other participant.
Fixing Mic Echo (Without Stopping the Call)
Once you’ve identified that you are the source of the echo, you should be able to remedy the problem quickly without interrupting the conversation. Start by trying a series of quick fixes, including:
- Turning down your speaker volume.
- Moving your microphone further away from your speakers.
- Switching to a headset or headphones with a built-in mic to reduce speaker feedback and ambient noise.
- Turning off or muting the mics you aren’t using, including game controllers and external webcams.
- Readjusting the sound settings on any call recording software you may be using.
Here’s some additional instructions on how to troubleshoot these issues:
1. Lower Your Speaker Volume
Access your device settings or press the external volume adjust buttons to lower speaker sound levels to their minimum volume. Then, slowly begin raising the volume until the conversation becomes audible, checking for any remaining echo. This works well if the problem is caused by feedback picked up in your speakers.
2. Relocate Your Microphone
Another way of reducing mic feedback is to distance your microphone farther away from the speakers. This is likely to fix the issue if you’re using an external device, such as a webcam or lavalier mic, paired with your computer or phone speaker.
3. Change Microphones Entirely
If you’ve tried lowering the speaker volume and distancing your mic from your speakers, the next best option is to switch from an external device to a headset or headphones with a built-in mic. This should help to reduce the amount of ambient noise picked up by your mic, which sometimes even the best external devices still capture.
4. Disable All Other Nearby Mics
Many modern devices feature microphones, including game controllers, laptops, phones, smartwatches, smart speakers, television remotes, and webcams. If you’re still experiencing mic echo, one of these may be the culprit. Make sure to check device audio settings or switch them off completely in order to reduce additional sound pickup.
5. Check Call Recording Software Settings
If you’re recording a call for future reference using a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service such as Nextiva or RingCentral, you may need to adjust the call volume via that platform’s interface or app. This is usually accomplished through the main Settings menu, where you can search for an Audio option to adjust Input (microphone) or Output (speaker) volume.
Additional Solutions to Try
If you’ve tried every quick fix imaginable and still experience an issue, there’s a few more things you can do to solve the problem:
- Restart your computer or device. Turning your device off and then on again closes out all programs that may be muddying your sound, clearing up your system for a better connection.
- Restart your router. Disconnect your router from its power source for a full minute, then reconnect. Once the indicator light shows that the router is successfully rebooted, try your microphone again. This may solve any connectivity or memory storage issues that are contributing to the problem.
- Update your devices. Making sure that all software updates are current on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone can help to ensure the best possible sound performance and seamless compatibility with VoIP services.
- Upgrade your hardware. By investing in a quality headset, you can take advantage of more recent microphone technology that helps to reduce speaker feedback and ambient noise. Choose from wireless bluetooth-enabled or traditional wired options, with many priced under $100.