Ensuring Your Headset Works

8th in a series about headphones and headsets.

One of the best ways for ELL students to acquire reading or language skills is by recording their verbal responses with a headset so they can compare and contrast theirs against what was modeled for them. But when plugging the headset in for the first time into your computer, sometimes you can hear other audio files but not what you recorded through the boom mic on the headphone. Is it working properly or is another component needed?

Classroom and library uses of headsets for reading and language learning programs as well as distance learning courses have seen significant increases for each of the past several years. There is no other piece of hardware necessary since most computers have their own sound cards, but you might need to adjust the interface between the plugged in headset and the computer. Consider this as a part of setting up.

The following applies to any headset with dual 3.5mm plugs or a USB attachment. You may need to enable the microphone from your computer in order for the microphone to be heard by the computer. With the headset plugged in, first click open the computer’s Control Panel and then click on Sound and Audio Devices.

Control Panel to select Microphone

The Control panel window (shown center), then Sound and Audio Devices pop up (left), and the Volume window need to be accessed to make sure the microphone is enabled (right).

Once opened, there are five tabs which should appear (Volume, Sounds, Audio, Voice, Hardware) and select the Audio tab. There are three drop down menus which then appear (Sound Playback device,  Sound Recording, and Volume) in the Sound Recording section and select Volume. Once this window is open, verify that the Microphone is selected. If the microphone is working with the USB adapter it should work without it also.

Read about how using headsets with microphones helped students in the Glendale Elementary School District, in Arizona.

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