Enable and reduce background noise in Microsoft Teams with AI-based noise suppression

Ever came across a situation when you are in an online meeting or conference, and you cannot concentrate because of continuous noise in the background - be it your children playing around, barking dogs, echo due to small closed room, or even having lunch over a meeting? Surely, we all have come across such situations and sometimes wish we go back to the office! πŸ€•

Well, if you use Microsoft Teams for meetings and do not want to be distracted, now you have the ability to remove background noise during calls and meetings with the AI-based noise suppression option in Teams 😎. You can enable this feature with few adjustments in device settings. With the world moving to more work from home due to COVID-19 pandemic, this feature comes in as bliss.

⚑️ Microsoft Teams: AI-based noise suppression - Microsoft uses AI-based, real-time noise suppression feature to automatically remove unwelcome background noise during meetings. It uses machine learning (ML) to differentiate clean speech and noise by analyzing audio feed and using specially trained deep neural networks to filter out the noise and retain only the speech signal. Users can control how much noise suppression is required - High / Medium / Low.

✏️ Steps to configure Team noise suppression

  1. Open Microsoft Teams Desktop client.
  2. Select the profile picture (top right corner) --> Click Settings.
  3. Select Devices option --> Noise suppression --> expand and select suitable option.
    • Auto (default) - The Teams app decides on the best level of noise suppression based on local noise.
    • High - Suppresses all background sound that isn't speech.
    • Low - Suppresses low levels of persistent background noise, such as a computer fan or air conditioner. Use this setting for playing music.
    • Off - Noise suppression is disabled. Use this setting for high-fidelity microphones in low noise environments.

    Microsoft Teams noise suppression
    Microsoft Teams noise suppression

  4. If you are already in an ongoing meeting, use these steps
  5. Click More options (...) from meeting controls --> Device settings --> Noise suppression --> expand and select suitable option.
    Microsoft Teams meeting noise suppression
    Microsoft Teams meeting noise suppression

⚠️ Additional points

  1. When set to "High", the computer processor must support Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2). Most of the current systems support this.
  2. Suppression may not be available if the meeting is being recorded or live captions are turned on, this is to save additional processing power.
  3. When set to "High", more computer resources are used. Check your computer configuration. If the device uses too many resources during a call, the setting may fall back to Low.
  4. Noise suppression automatically apples to meeting recordings stored in MS Stream (Azure service) or OneDrive for Business.
  5. If you are using a MAC and do not see this option, it may be rolling out for you, expected to complete by August 2021 (Microsoft 365 roadmap 82826).
  6. This feature is available for all MAC users except for those with new MACs that have the M1 ARM processor.
  7. If the noise suppression option missing in Teams Desktop Client or Teams Mobile App, try below
    • Make sure you have the latest updated Teams App (profile picture > check for updates).
    • Sign out and sign back in to Teams.
    • Clear Teams cache files from %appdata%\Microsoft\Teams folder.
    • Try rebooting your laptop/computer.
    • Contact your Tenant/Teams Administrator, or contact Microsoft support.

Lastly, though noise suppression works great, it cannot compete with Teams certified devices like headsets and speaker phones, which provide better audio quality and noise canceling.

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