Ubuntu – How to fix internal microphone which stopped working on Ubuntu 18.04


I am running Ubuntu 18.04.4 on a Lenovo Thinkpad T400. I have been using the microphone in the past without problems with applications such as Google Hangouts, Skype, … – Recently, I tried to have a call and noticed that the microphone stopped working. Speakers are fine. I cannot tell how long the microphone misfunctions or if it stopped working with a software update or such.

What I tried

  1. I checked System Settings / Sound / Input – there is nothing muted and the input level does not recognize any sound.

    System Settings

  2. I checked alsamixer but could not find anything unusual. Here a screenshot where the internal microphone is selected (last column, red).

    alsamixer screenshot

  3. I checked puvacontrol. Nothing suspicious there.


  4. I tried sudo alsa force-reload and the rebooting. No success.

  5. I tried reinstalling alsa-base and pulseaudio:

    sudo apt-get remove alsa-base pulseaudio  
    sudo apt-get install alsa-base pulseaudio  
    sudo alsa force-reload

    Rebooting after. Microphone is still not working.

  6. When I plug in an external microphone then the input level in System Settings / Sound / Input does successfully recognize the sound.

  7. I let the pulse configuration to be created freshly:

    mv ~/.config/pulse/ ~/.config/pulse.BAK

    Rebooting after. Microphone is still not working.


What can I do to fix the microphone?
Please let me know if I can provide any information such as alsa-info to diagnose the issue.


Best Answer

  • I had a very similar problem. All the orthodox solutions didn't help. I solved it by fiddling around.

    Here's the witchcraft that worked for me:

    1. Connect another external microphone and select it (sound should work)

    2. Disconnect the microphone you want to get working

    3. Reconnect the microphone you want to get working

    Input sound should now work again for this microphone by the means of black magic.