How to Play Game Audio Through Headset on Xbox?

So you plugged your headset into your Xbox controller and you noticed the game audio is still coming from your TV speakers.

How do you play game audio through a headset on Xbox?

It’s a frustrating problem and ruins the limited gaming time you have. I found a few solutions that should solve the problem. If these solutions worked for you, drop a comment and let me know.

How to Play Game Audio Through Headset on Xbox Solutions:

Let’s dive in and get your game audio back on track!

1. Adjust the Volume Mixer Slider

Xbox has a volume mixer for game and party audio.

There’s a chance the game audio slider is on the party chat side, which is why there’s no game audio in your headset.

It’s the easiest option to check.

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
  2. Scroll down and select the icon for Audio and Music.
  3. Make sure the headset volume is turned up.
  4. Adjust the headset chat mixer towards the game controller icon.
  5. Test a game to see if you get game audio through your headset.

2. Adjust Volume & Audio Output Settings

On your Xbox, open Settings, and navigate to Volume & Audio Output.

If your headset is connected, it should show a status message on the right side that says “Headset is connected”. If you don’t see that message, there may be a hardware problem with your headset.

In this menu, we can change some settings to troubleshoot the problem.

  • Change Headset Audio to Stereo Uncompressed.
  • Make sure Mute Speaker Audio When Headset Attach is selected.
  • Select Audio Testing & Details, and choose Reset Audio Settings.
  • Chat Mixer and make sure Mute all Other Sounds is not selected.

You can find more steps on how to troubleshoot Xbox audio on the official Xbox support page.

3. Power Cycle Your Xbox

One of those classic IT solutions that fixes most problems with consoles. To power cycle an Xbox, all you have to do is unplug the power cable and wait 30 seconds or more before plugging it back in.

The reason this works is that when you select “Shutdown” from within your Xbox, it simply puts your console into standby or sleep mode.

Unplugging the power cable will force it to completely reboot which clears RAM and other services. When your Xbox starts again, plug the headset into your controller and test the audio.

The game audio should be coming through your headset.

4. Update Your Controller

When an update is available for your controller, Xbox will automatically prompt you to update it. Keep in mind you need to be connected to the internet to update the controller’s firmware.

You can manually trigger an update using the following steps:

  1. Connect your Xbox controller to the Xbox console using a USB cable. It can also be updated wirelessly.
  2. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
  3. Open Games & Apps, select Apps, and open Xbox Accessories.
  4. Choose the controller you wish to update.
  5. Select the three dots to open settings. Choose the “Update Now” option.
  6. Follow the on-screen prompts to begin the controller update process.

Controller updates should improve headset audio issues.

4. Unplug and Re-attach the Headset a Couple of Times

Just unplugging and re-attaching the headset to the Xbox controller can sometimes fix the problem.

Make sure the wire is completely flush with the controller. There could be a problem with the wiring that prevents it from transferring the signals.

If you have a 3.5mm speaker or headset, test it with the controller to see if the problem is on the controller’s side or the headset.

If you have strange audio issues, like a crackling sound, take a look at the Xbox audio cracking article. 

5. Remove the Controller’s Batteries

Another option is to remove the batteries from the controller to reset it. Occasionally the batteries aren’t completely in contact with the pins which can be causing issues.

Remove the batteries and place them back in or try a different pair. You could also use an official Xbox rechargeable battery pack.

If you exhausted all possible solutions with your controller, the problem could be with your headset.

The Bottom Line

Overall, it’s frustrating when you can’t get game audio through your headset on Xbox, but it is usually a simple fix.

In the worst case, you may need to reach out to Microsoft support and ask for a new controller. As long as your console is under warranty, they may send you a new controller.


  • Timothy Gagnon is the owner of My Portable Office. As a kid, he's always had a fascination with electronics and never passed on the chance to disassemble and reassemble them. When he's not taking a hammer to his electronics, he can be found playing with his cats or writing about his latest discoveries on My Portable Office.

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