Background noise can prove very distracting while everyone is trying to focus on a call or meeting on Microsoft Teams. When talking with other members of a team via teleconference, it is better to reduce unwanted noise to the barest minimum—if not completely eliminate it. This is where the noise suppression feature in Teams comes in.

Microsoft Teams has emerged as a viable rival to Zoom. Being backed by a giant like Microsoft doesn’t hurt as the team behind the app have access to cutting-edge technology to implement new features that make using the app a great experience.

One of the overlooked features is noise cancellation, which automatically suppresses background noise while a meeting is in progress. The feature uses AI to identify the human voices and then uses a filter to suppress everything else. This way, background noise, such as whirring fans, barking dogs, slamming doors, and the clack-clack of keyboards in use, won’t distract participants.

This guide explains how to enable the noise cancellation feature, which suppresses or mutes non-human sound while using MS Teams. If you’re pondering the question of how to cancel out background noise in MS Teams, this article is your answer.

Does Microsoft Teams Have Noise Cancellation?

This might look like a rhetorical question given the title of this article. However, some users legitimately ask this question after trying to use the feature and not getting the results they expect. Some begin to look at the setting in MS Teams as a gimmick that doesn’t really do anything.

We are here to tell you that the noise cancellation feature in Teams really works. It doesn’t just work; it works great. If you try the steps to enable background noise suppression and nothing seems to have changed, perhaps you need to look beyond the app for the reason.

The algorithm used by Teams and similar apps like Zoom to suppress noise in the background actually builds upon what already exists on an individual PC. This means that the practical effectiveness of any noise cancellation feature has a lot to do with the hardware and software on the system where it is applied.

For instance, if you’re using a dated computer, chances are that the inbuilt mic isn’t advanced enough to handle the finer aspects of audio filtering. At other times, an obsolete sound driver can render the efforts of the Team app’s AI irrelevant.

So, if you’re not getting results after setting noise cancellation to Auto or High in Microsoft Teams, it might be that you need to update your sound driver for the best experience.

Follow the steps given here to check your sound card driver and update it if necessary:

  1. Press the Windows logo key and R keyboard combination and select Device Manager from the menu.
  2. In the Device Manager, locate and click “Sound, video and game controllers”.
  3. Under “Sound, video and game controllers”, identify your sound card.
  4. Right-click your sound device and select “Update driver”.
  5. On the next screen, click “Search automatically for drivers”.

Windows will look for the latest driver version on the net and update the driver. If it doesn’t find a matching driver, it will inform you that you’re already using the latest driver version for the hardware.

While this method is fairly reliable, it isn’t always conclusive. Windows may fail to locate recent driver releases. You can take matters into your own hands by visiting the support/download page of your sound card manufacturer to download the latest driver yourself. Install it manually as you would install any normal desktop application.

If you prefer a quicker and more efficient method to bring the driver for your sound card or other hardware up to date, you can try Auslogics Driver Updater. Install and launch the program and it will identify hardware with outdated drivers on your PC. You just need to click the Update link beside each device. Or you can update all your drivers at once in just one click.

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Driver Updater backs up a driver before it installs its updated version. You can also schedule regular scans so that you can catch up with recent driver releases.

How to Enable Noise Cancellation in Microsoft Teams

The noise cancellation feature in Microsoft Teams lets you set different levels of noise suppression according to specific needs. For example, the level of noise suppression you want if you want background music to be heard will obviously be different from the level you’d prefer if you want zero interference from external sounds.

In Microsoft Teams, there are four levels of noise suppression that you can choose from. You can change your selection at any time, including during a meeting.

The four levels of noise suppression in Teams are Auto, High, Low, and Off.

  • Auto. This is the default selection. This option leaves the chosen level of noise cancellation up to the application. It sets the noise suppression level based on the level of identifiable noise in the background.
  • High. This level of noise cancellation suppresses everything that isn’t speech. It totally blocks all non-human, non-speech sounds.
  • Low. When this setting is chosen, the AI filters out low levels of persistent background noise that it identifies as intolerable.
  • Off. This option disables noise cancellation. Use it in a low-noise environment or if your mic already cancels background noise by default.

Note: If you want to set noise cancellation in Teams to High, the following conditions must be met:

  • Your computer’s CPU must support Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2).
  • You can’t choose this option if the meeting or call is being recorded.
  • If you want to use this option, live captions must not be turned on.

Now that you know the caveats of using the High setting, here’s how to choose a noise suppression option in MS Teams prior to starting a call or meeting:

  1. Launch the Microsoft Teams desktop app.
  2. Click your profile picture at the top right.
  3. Select Settings from the drop-down menu.
  4. On the Settings screen, select Devices in the left navigation pane.
  5. Click the drop-down arrow under “Noise suppression” and choose an option.

The correct filters for your chosen level of suppression will be applied. If you have chosen High, you should experience distraction-free meetings even if you’re in an environment with significant background noise.

How Do I Reduce Background Noise When Calling Through Microsoft Teams?

Background noise isn’t always a constant. Its level can increase and decrease. Imagine that you haven’t set a noise suppression level and your dog suddenly starts barking in the middle of a Teams meeting.

If you forgot to set a noise cancellation level before a meeting commenced, you can still do so while the call is in progress. Follow these steps to quickly start cancelling background noise during a call:

  1. Click the vertical ellipsis (three vertical dots) button at the top right of the Teams meeting or call window. It is also known as the More Options button.
  2. Select “Device settings” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click the drop-down arrow under “Noise suppression” and choose a noise cancellation level.

After choosing the option you want, your preferences will be applied automatically and you can continue your call.

If you don’t see the noise suppression levels in Settings or during a meeting, you need to update the desktop app for Microsoft Teams.

Parting Words

This article has highlighted the various noise suppression options in MS Teams. After going through it, you are now able to enable the appropriate noise cancellation level before or during a meeting. This feature is only available in the desktop app, so you won’t be able to enable noise suppression if you’re using Teams in a browser.