Computer Not Recognizing Headphones

Windows 10 Computer Not Detecting Headphones

We all like to use our headphones on our computers to listen to music and watch videos without disturbing the peace of those around us. But sometimes, the computer simply refuses to recognize the connected headphones.

This can be caused by a number of issues, including a Windows 10 upgrade or Windows 10 update. In this article, we’ll guide you through how to fix the headphones not working problem.

And of course make sure you have a working pair of headphones or earbuds, you can check here for some models compared at Lightingcans.  This may sound like a duh! But I’ve done it myself and it doesn’t hurt to be sure. Just hook them up to your phone or head unit in your car. If they work there, then they should work on your computer.

Troubleshooting Audio Problems with your PC

Whenever your computer refuses to play any sound abruptly, do the following:

1. Reboot your computer.

2. Check that the computer is not muted via external hardware keys. Are the headphones turned on? Turn the volume on your PC all the way up.

3. Left click on the volume icon placed on your system tray and ensure audio is turned up and not muted.

4. Right click on the volume icon and open the volume mixer. Make sure that all of the options are turned on and are up.

5. Have you confirmed that the internal speakers are working? Unplug your headphones to check the internal speakers. If they are working, plug in the headphones again and retest. If the headphones are still not working, continue troubleshooting them.

6. Right click the volume icon again and select playback devices. Confirm that the headphones have a green check-mark next to it. Go to properties, and ensure that the “Use this device” is enabled.

Advanced Solutions

At this point, if your headphones are still not working, then you may have a corrupt or missing audio controller or audio drivers. The following solutions should fix the problem.

Set the Headphones as the Default Device

Once you plug in the headphones into your computer, they may not be automatically set up as the default device. This will not let any audio through the headphones. So, you will need to set your headphones as the default device manually. Here’s how to do it:

1. Press WIN+X buttons (the Windows logo key and the “X” key) at the same time.

2. On the pop-up menu, click on the control panel.

control panel

3. Go to “View by”, select “Category” and left click on “Hardware and Sound”.

control panel 2

4. Left click on Sound.

5. Left click on headphones and select the “Set Default” at the bottom. In some cases, there’s no separate headphone option, but a ‘Speakers / Headphones option. In such a case, select it and click on the “Set Default” at the bottom.

6. Now click OK and close the tab.

If this solution still doesn’t work for you, proceed to the next solution.

Update your Audio Drivers

If there’s a problem with your audio drivers, it could be the reason why your headphones won’t be recognized on your PC. You can try to update the driver to fix the problem. If you are using USB headphones, its drivers could be faulty, and the headphones just won’t work.

The best way is to head to your PC’s manufacturer’s website and install the latest audio drivers for your PC model. Alternatively, you can use Windows Update to download the new drivers automatically.

How to check for audio driver updates

Press Win+X and on the list, click on Device Manager. Find the “Sound, video and game controllers” section, click on it to expand the menu. Find the audio manager on your PC (for example, HD Audio) and right click on it. Select the Update Diver Software option. In the subsequent window, click on search automatically for updated driver software. Wait and see if new drivers are available for your audio manager.

What to Do if your Mac Laptop won’t recognize Headphones

If your headphones are not working on a Mac computer can be caused by a number of factors, but it’s easy to isolate one of the most common ones. Get an air compressor, or a can of compressed air designed for use with computers.

Place the computer on a level surface, and spray into the headphone jack briefly. Take care not to spray canned compressed air unless the can is perfectly level, to avoid leaking the compressed liquid and damaging your computer.

Did the problem go away? Great! It just accumulated dust and debris inside the headphone jack causing the problem. It’s quite a common problem with Mac computers. But if this doesn’t solve the problem, check out the following fixes.

1. Unplug the headphone and plug them back again. Confirm if they are working, if not, proceed.

2. Hold the Option key down and choose the volume icon on the system’s menu bar. This should reveal the audio inputs and outputs. Check if headphones are selected as the output device. Do the headphones appear on the list? If yes, reselect them and confirm if you can get sound through them.

3. If all that doesn’t work, try to sleep and wake your computer. Did this fix the problem?

In case your headphones are still not getting detected on your Mac device, or if those steps don’t fix the problem permanently, it could mean that some corrupt system hardware settings have been cached. This can often be fixed by zapping the NVRAM (non-volatile memory), or even resetting the SMC (System Management Controller).

When all these steps don work, it’s quite possible that the internal circuitry is faulty or the headphone jack’s wiring is damaged. Take your device to Apple if it’s still under warranty, since such failure should be covered.

If it’s out of warranty, the entire logic board might need to be replaced, which can be really expensive. Look for a trusted local Mac repair store to diagnose the problem and preferably replace the faulty component.

Consider replacing the functionality with a USB headset or a USB audio adapter. You can find many of these in the market that are compatible with Macs, and they typically don’t require any driver installation. They are also generally well-reviewed, and only cost you about $10 or less.

However, Apple earbuds or other devices that have the headphones and mic together in a single plug won’t work with most of these adapters. Nonetheless, most of them do have a separate min-in jack.

If you’re still having problems you’re going to need some professional IT help. I always use VectorCloud – IT Support Glasgow and I suggest you use them as well.