Auto-Adjust Audio Volume During Phone Calls in Windows 10

What to do to ‘make’ Windows 10 auto adjust the audio volume levels of music you’re playing or video you’re watching, when you want to make or take a phone call.

Automatically adjust audio volume during phone calls in Windows 10? Why would anyone want to do that?

Here are some scenarios…

  • It’s your habit to listen to music while you’re on your computer. However, you sometimes need to make online calls during the day and you don’t want  to constantly start and stop your music each and every time you make a phone call.
  • You’re listening to some grrrreat music, or you’re watching a really amazing video… but you’re expecting an incoming phone call sometime today and you don’t want to miss it. You want to hear that incoming call loud and clear OVER whatever music you’re listening to, or video you may be watching.
voip-callPlease note that a 'call' in this context means either an audio or a video call made using a communications app installed on your computer such as Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom, Viber, Messenger etc.

So that’s clear… NO to manually muting or lowering the sound volume for whatever it is you’re playing when making or receiving computer calls. You want these ‘other sounds’ to automatically lower down during phone calls.

Luckily, Windows 10 has a feature to automatically lower audio volume when making or receiving phone calls. And there are a few options to configure this feature to your personal preference too!

Change the Audio Level for Communications

To configure what should happen during telephone calls:

  1. Right-click the sound icon in the system tray.
    Windows 10 Sounds
  2. In the popup window, click Sounds.
  3. In the Sound dialog box, click the Communications tab.
  4. Now, select what should happen to other sounds when you use your Windows 10 PC to make or take telephone calls.
    Note: Click Mute all other sounds if you want Windows to out all other playing audio to silent when you’re in a call.
    Note: Click Do nothing if you want all other sounds to stay at the same volume during calls.
    Windows 10 Audio Level
  5. Click OK to confirm.

The next time you make or receive a PC phone call, the audio level for other sounds will adjust according to the option you selected.

How to Disable Automatic Audio Level Adjustment

So after giving you the above steps on how to use Windows’ automatic audio level adjustment feature, why would you now disable it?!?

Well, it turns out the method of detecting “communications” as Microsoft calls it… is not fool proof. 😅

In some cases, this feature is triggered when it should not. Since there are so many programs using VoIP for audio communication, it is very possible that  audio is muted when you do not want it!

In games for example, you can configure the audio channels the way you want them. So when you are starting a chat with another player, you do not want Windows to suddenly change the volume level.

Whatever the reason, now you know the steps to configure the audio volume level adjustment in Windows 10 to your own preference!

Other Causes of Audio Volume Level Problems

If the Windows 10 settings for automatic volume adjustment does not solve your problem, or you deem it unreliable, you may want to try something else.

There are a few more settings in Windows 10 that can affect audio playback behavior. Another key component in all this is the audio hardware and audio devices you have with Windows 10. There are specific settings in audio playback software that can affect audio volume level behavior too.

Read on to learn more about why audio volume levels are not working the way you might expect.

Disable Enhancements and Exclusive Device Access

Audio enhancements allow an audio driver to perform adjustments to the audio, like an equalizer. But these enhancements can also be the reason why audio levels behave in a way you do not want.

To disable audio enhancements, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the sound icon in the system tray.
  2. In the popup window, click Sounds.
  3. In the Sound dialog, select the Playback tab.
  4. Select the Speakers option, and then click the Properties button.
    Windows 10 Speaker PropertiesNote: There can be multiple Speakers options. Select the one you are experiencing problems with, or repeat the steps for each one.
  5. In the Speaker Properties dialog box, select the Enhancements tab.
  6. Next, make sure the checkbox Disable all enhancements is selected, and then click OK.
    Disable Audio Enhancements

If this does not help with the audio level problem, you can also disable exclusive control of the audio device. After step 6 above, select the Advanced tab and then clear the checkbox that says Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device.

Audio Device Hardware

Hardware is not the first to be mentioned, but it is certainly important. For audio hardware to work as intended, Windows needs the proper device drivers for the audio device. Updating your audio drivers is a good idea to ensure outdated driver software is not causing the problems. We suggest you download DriverFinder to update your audio drivers.

If your problems are with a USB headset, a good tip is to change the USB port the headset is plugged into. USB configuration is device and port specific, so plugging the headset in a different USB port may help fix audio volume problems. Preferably, use a USB port directly on the motherboard.

Application Specific Audio Level Settings

Apart from Windows 10 itself, many audio and video applications have settings that can affect audio volume behavior. If your application is listed below, check the settings to ensure the behavior is as you want it.

Discord

If you are experiencing problems with audio levels in discord, try this.

  1. Click the Settings icon in the main window (bottom left).
    Discord Settings
  2. In the left-hand panel, select the Voice & Video option.
  3. In the right-hand panel, scroll down to the ATTENUATION section.
    Discord Voice and Video
  4. Disable the options When I speak and When others speak.
  5. Press Esc to close the settings and go back to the main window.

VLC Media Player

VLC is an excellent and popular tool for audio and video playback. Check its audio settings using these steps:

  1. Open VLC.
  2. In the Tools menu, select Preferences.
  3. In the Preferences window, click the Audio icon, and then click the All radio button in the button left.
    VLC Aaudio Settings
    The window will change from Simple Preferences to Advanced Preferences.
  4. Now select Audio in the list on the left.
    VLC Advanced Audio Settings
  5. Turn the Force detection of Dolby Surround option to Off, and make sure the Replay gain mode is set to None.
  6. Click Save.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article!
If you have experienced audio level problems with other applications and you have a solution, let me know and I’ll add it!

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Author: Anthony Danes

Hi Folks! I'm Anthony Danes and I'm a Technical Writer right over at PCAuthorities.com, where I've been guest writing since 2007! I grew up with PCs and Windows, and have been a full-time programmer in the past. This has made writing about anything 'tech' a natural by-product :)

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