Annoying in-ear headset tones

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Occasionally I see Lync headsets that decide to play dial tone in the users ear while in a call. The normal (somewhat annoying) scenario to have dial tone generated in the ear is when the dial button is pressed on the headset (which also brings the Lync client in to focus), but after the call is made it should be removed. When this doesn’t happen it is usually down to the headset, however I have not found a consistent pattern of steps to resolve it. It appears to be something to do with how the headset has paired with the base station. Try the following:

  1. Remove power from base station and unplug USB
  2. Power off the headset
  3. Plug the power back then connect the USB back to the PC
  4. Power on the headset and re-pair

I have seen the behavior in both Jabra and Plantronics headsets, so it may have something to do with the standard they work to for Lync qualification.

UPDATE: This can also be caused when multiple user accounts are logged in to Windows, both with Lync signed in. Some of the end user complaints of this of this scenario are:

  • I’m getting other peoples calls
  • There is dial tone in my ear when in a call
  • There is no audio in an A/V Conference and it keeps disconnecting
Apparently this issue is known to Microsoft, however to date there is no fix. In situations where computers are shared with multiple users it is best to disable fast user switching; alternatively educate your users to log off when they are done.Thanks to Iain Smith for pointing me in the right direction, and to Trond Egil Gjelsvik-Bakke and Hemat Kumar Maheshwari for their articles on the the issue.

Can the dial tone be turned off altogether?
The dial tone is actually generated by the Lync client, and can be turned off in Windows Sounds by following these steps.

From Lync got to the settings cog -> “Ringtones and Sounds” -> “Sound Settings”:

Under the Lync category select “Dial Tone”, then change “Sounds” to “(none)”:

What about other annoying tonnes?
If any of the other tones get on your nerves you can disable them in the same way. One of my favorites is the second incoming call alert. If you wear a headset you will likely hear both the Lync alert and the device alert.

The second incoming call alert can be disabled, but this will not stop any headset generated notifications (normally a short beep in the ear).

14 COMMENTS

  1. Simply setting the dial tone and Howler tones to none does not work because Lync then cuts teh call after 30 seconds as a timeout. What’s needed is a way to prevent Skye from engaging at all..

  2. Thank you so much. I was getting so annoyed with the extra dial tone. Because of this, I know why my issue was (multiple user accounts logged into same PC).

  3. For a plantronics Savi 7xx (don’t know the exact model) in Windows 7, in Control Panel (Small icons) / Sounds/Playback I clicked on the Plantronics Speakers device and then Properties. In the Advanced tab, I unclicked “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device”. I no longer get dial tone or howler issues when I connect the headphones to the computer, and I still see nice behavior (the plantronics base flashes and a tone sounds) when I get a call.

    Note that I have this device set as the “Default Device” and “Default Communications Device”.

    • I’m all out of suggestions if the article hasn’t helped. I am surprised that turning off the audio hasn’t helped. I know that some headsets generate tones, maybe this is the case. Have you tried the device on another PC?

  4. Thank you so much Andrew! This just saved me an incredible headache – I tried troubleshooting a bit myself, but this worked perfectly. Thank you!

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