Mute Your USB Podcast Mic to Hide Coughs and More with this Great App

Last updated: Jan 21, 2023 @ 10:00 am

If you're looking for a cough button for your USB podcasting microphone, you're in luck: I have a great digital mute switch solution and a physical button solution!

I feel uncomfortable if I'm recording without a mute button on my USB microphone, and you might feel the same way. If you can't quickly and quietly mute yourself while recording a podcast, your mic will pick up each sneeze, sniff, cough, breath and any other weird noise that shouldn't be included in your show. You and your co-hosts' audio recordings should only have your words, and none of that other stuff!

As a podcast editor and host, I'm adamant about creating a great sounding podcast. Bodily noises are a reality of putting your mouth right in front of microphone, and if you don't want those bad sounds being recorded in the first place, you need a mute switch.

This is a problem that's as old as radio. Most radio hosts have something called a "Cough Drop" for a microphone -- it's a physical button that hooks up to your mic and lets you quickly mute yourself -- for coughs. But us modern day podcast hosts don't have access to one of these because we have USB mics, so what to do?

Cough Button Microphone

Sure, some USB microphones have a physical mute button built in to the device, but some mics -- like Blue's Yeti -- will make a physical clicking noise every time you hit the stupid button. There's no point in being able to mute yourself if your listeners will hear you hitting a clunky button, and then that noise will either distract the listener, or you'll have to edit out that noise in editing. In other words, that physical mute button on the Yeti and other podcast mics doesn't make things any easier.

Digitally mute your USB podcast mic

Thankfully I found an app that lets you quietly mute your microphone from your keyboard, creating a quick USB mic mute switch for podcasters. Better yet, your listeners won't know that you've hit the mute button. It's a completely silent digital switch!

The app is called Shush and can be purchased for $4.99 from the Mac App Store. Any time you need to clear your throat, sigh, sniff, sneeze, cry, etc, all you have to do is hit a button on your keyboard and the mic will go silent.

I rely on this little app for every podcast that I do. In fact, I've come to rely on it a little too much. I've found myself leaning on the mute button for most of the show, and only lifting my finger off the keyboard when I have something to say. Sometimes I forget that I'm holding the button... and then realize no one can hear me only after I've finished my thought.

You can assign any key on your keyboard to control the mute button. I assigned it to the 'fn' key, located at the bottom left of the Mac keyboard. It's an easy button to find without having to look at your keyboard since it's in the corner of your keyboard.

This app is a must-have, and if you're serious about how good your audio sounds, you'll be addicted to it. The app works seamlessly with digital mics and recording software. Get it and instantly take some stress out of your recording process!

One thing to know about the app is that it'll decide which mic input to mute for you. Unfortunately, you can't select which mic (or input) you wish to mute. So just keep that in mind when you're setting it up. I've actually reached out to the developer and they told me they are working on the ability to change which input gets muted, but that feature has yet to actually roll out to the public.

Mute App For Windows

While I haven't been able to test it myself, there is a similar app available for Windows computers called MuteMyMic. Unlike Shush, it'll let you select which mic input gets muted when you press the hotkey. Furthermore, you can easily access the app from wherever you are thanks to the taskbar icon. This seems to be a good solution for those of you on Windows computers who need to mute your mic while recording a podcast.

Physical Mute Button for Microphones

If you'd like to go for a good ol' fashion physical mute button so you don't have to fuss with a option on your keyboard, check out the MuteMe button. This will let you quietly mute yourself from a physical button on your desk.

Another physical option is to use the Elgato StreamDeck. This is a more advanced gadget that can offer you a mute button and many other options, all in one device. In addition to a mute button, you can add a button that will disable your camera when using Zoom, change the settings on your home's smart lights, and the list goes on and on. Each button on the StreamDreck is customizable -- it's a very powerful device for podcasters and streamers!