What Is Sidetone, Why's It Important And How Can you Turn It On Or Off? | Headset Advisor

When we make phone calls, we want to make sure that we can both hear and be heard loud and clear.

One thing that helps us have a phone conversation at the proper volume is sidetone technology, which is found in many of our phone and phone accessory products, like office headsets.

If sidetone were to be removed from our communication technology products, it would be much more challenging to know how loudly we should be speaking. It's with the help of the mic sidetone that we know how to regulate the volume of our voice and that the volume we're speaking at is correct.

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What is Sidetone? 

Sidetone is a small amount of your own voice that's piped into your ear speaker as you speak. This sound confirms that your microphone is operating properly, and allows you to adjust your speaking volume to a proper level (not too loud, and not too quiet).

Hearing your own voice in your headset also confirms that your call is connected. Not knowing if your call is live or dropped, or if the received audio is at the right volume, can be confusing and irritating. Most of us have experienced being on a mobile phone call and speaking non-stop for a few minutes, only to discover the call had dropped without our knowledge.

Many cell phones do not use sidetone which makes it harder for us to know when the call is live or when it's been disconnected. However, there are options for sidetone in headphones that can be a good alternative for cell phone users and radio announcers. Many landline phones have sidetone enabled which helps us to know when someone has hung up, or if the call has been disconnected.

Sidetone has been a common feature in telephones, from early models to today’s modern phones. It’s also becoming a common feature in headsets, particularly ones designed for gaming. There are some exceptions as some products don't use sidetone. A few of these products include:

- Some Voip telephones 

- Speakerphones 

- Some Mobile phones

Sidetone is even more important for those who are hearing impaired. For anyone who's hearing impaired, having the ability to hear the effects of sidetone helps them to have a better chance at a normal phone conversation.

Many times those who are hearing impaired struggle while on the phone. Having the proper amount of sidetone can make all the difference in making this type of communication more accessible.

Adjusting Sidetone in Your PC

If you’re struggling to find the sidetone settings on your computer or laptop, a good place to start looking is in the listen tab or the control panel. There is a setting to turn on and off the sidetone feature in PC's that are running Windows 7 and above.

If you'd like to test to see if you have a sidetone headset and experience your office PC headset with or without the sidetone feature activated on your computer, follow the simple steps below to activate or deactivate sidetone.

How to Enable Sidetone in Windows

  1. Click on start - control panel - hardware and sound - sound
  2. Locate the recording tab and click on that
  3. Click on the device you'd like to test, then click properties
  4. You should see a transmit properties window pop up
  5. Check the box that says Listen to this Device
  6. Click on the Apply button

How to Disable Sidetone in Windows

  1. Click on start - control panel - hardware and sound - sound
  2. Click on the recording tab
  3. Select the device you'd like to test from the choices listed
  4. Click on the properties button
  5. You should see a Transmit Properties window
  6. Uncheck or clear the listen to this device box
  7. Click Apply
  8. Click OK
  9. Click OK to close the sound window

Even though sidetone was first introduced over a hundred years ago, it remains an important piece of communications technology to this day.

Using sidetone in your everyday life ultimately comes down to your own preference. If for some reason you don’t like it, you can easily disable it. However, you’ve likely already used this feature and will feel its absence.

Remember that sidetone should not be a loud or overwhelming echo of your own voice. The type of echo that inhibits conversation could be caused by acoustic feedback, slow internet connection, or a broken headset. In this case, you should also try lowering the volume to see if that stops the feedback.

If you have questions about sidetone, or need to find a headset that allows you to hear better, contact us at Headset Advisor today

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1 comment

ian taylor

ian taylor

how do I stop the delay in the sidetone output to my dell BT100 headphones?
(so the annoying delay is removed)
I am using windows 10 Pro N

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