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mac – Why is my audio so heavily distorted during calls/ meets

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I’ve got a MacBook Air early 2015 running Monterey (12.6.3). It randomly started distorting both my mic input and my audio output during any kind of calls or virtual meetings (google meet, discord etc) if it’s any help then I use all these services through safari.

The audio output has a lot of static and keeps cutting out and is oddly high-pitched. My mic input also keeps cutting out very frequently (every few seconds) for the people on the other end. sometimes the mic just stops working completely and system preferences don’t show any audio being detected. It’s pretty unusable.

I tried to check if the mic worked when I wasn’t on a call and it didn’t but I managed to fix it by turning on dictation in system preferences which fixed it. But it still doesn’t work on calls. The speakers work fine off-call.

I tried turning it on and off a couple of times but that didn’t do anything either.

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