Computer does not recognizing headphones

So you just got yourself a brand new pair of headphones. You plug it into your computer, but nothing happens. Anything you open on your computer still plays through your speakers or doesn’t play at all.

For all such problems, the fixes can be surprisingly simple. In this troubleshooting guide, we are going to explain how you can get rid of this problem and make your computer recognize your headphones.

The fixes that we have explained in this article are in increasing order of their complexity. We are going to try simple methods first, and if they don’t work, then only we shall be moving to the slightly complicated methods.

Fix 1: Check for hardware issues

It is pretty common for computer peripherals to develop some hardware issues over time. Even if you take utmost care when using them, they all fail eventually.

So it is necessary to ensure that there is no hardware problem with the headphone that you are using. 

Fix 2: Run Windows troubleshooter to find and fix other issues

Although the chances of Windows troubleshooter automatically detecting the audio issues are pretty slim, the application has the potential to save your time if it works out. There’s no harm in trying. If it works, you wouldn’t have to move to the complicated troubleshooting stuff. Follow these steps to run the Windows troubleshooter:

Step 1: On your desktop, look at the bottom right corner and right-click on the speaker icon in the taskbar.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Troubleshoot sound problems’ option from the menu.

Step 3: The software will then look for issues with Windows settings, drivers, or any other reason why you are facing sound problems. Wait for the troubleshooter to complete its process.

Step 4: If the troubleshooter finds something that might have caused issues, it will advise you to take appropriate action.

In our case, the troubleshooter is recommending us to turn off Sound Effects and Enhancements because it believes that doing this might improve the audio quality.

If it doesn’t detect anything, then you are left with no choice but to move to the next section of the article to read other solutions.

Fix 3: Check if your headphone is disabled

Step 1: Start off by right-clicking on the speaker icon in the taskbar.

Step 2: Press the‘ Open Sound settings’ button in the menu that shows up.

Step 3: In the next window, open the Playback tab, and you will see the list of all the audio output devices that are connected to your PC.

Step 4: If you find the front 3.5 mm audio jack or headphones in the list, then ensure that they are enabled. If not, right-click on the name of the device and press ‘enable’.

Note in the screenshot, we have a disabled speaker that we can enable from this window. If you are using a headphone, you will see that.

Step 5: Once the device is enabled, you can move on to the next step, where we will set headphones as the default communication device.

Fix 4: Select your headphones as the audio output device

Step 1: Again, right-click on the speaker icon in the taskbar.

Step 2: Choose ‘Open sound settings’ this time.

Step 3: In this window, you can find a drop-down list that lets you switch between the different audio output devices connected to your PC.

Step 4: After selecting your headphones, make sure that the master volume is not too low or too high.

Step 5: Close the window and try playing something from your PC. If you hear the audio in your headphones, then your issue is solved.

Fix 5: Turn off front 3.5 mm jack plug-in detection

If your issue still persists, we have to move to advanced troubleshooting methods. Sometimes the Plug-in detection feature for the front 3.5 mm audio jack is known to cause issues with the audio output. This feature is specifically for the users of Realtek HD audio drivers.

Step 1: Open the start menu and type ‘Realtek audio’.

Step 2: Locate the Realtek Audio Console application in the search results and open it.

Step 3: In the Realtek Audio Console, click on the ‘Device advanced settings’ button present on the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.

Step 4: Turn off the ‘Jack detection when the device is plugged in’ option feature.

Fix 6: Switch sound format

Step 1: Open the control panel from the start menu.

Step 2: In the control panel, click on the ‘Sound’ icon.

Step 3: Find your headphone in the list of playback devices and right-click on it.

Step 4: Open its properties.

Note: We have speakers connected to our PC, and that’s why the only device that shows up in the playback devices list is the Speakers. If you connect headphones to your PC, you will find headphones here.

Step 5: In the Properties window, go to the Advanced tab.

Step 6: Open the list of formats available in the drop-down list.

Step 7: By default, ‘24 bit, 48000 Hz (Studio Quality)’ should be selected, if not, pick it and press the test button.

Step 8: If the ‘24 bit, 48000 Hz (Studio Quality)’ is selected by default, try switching to a lower value. For example, pick the ‘16 bit, 48000 Hz (DVD Quality)’ and press the test button. 

Step 9: Keep testing the device after changing the audio quality every time. If there is a particular setting that matches your audio device, then you will hear jingling music from your headphones.

Fix 7: Reinstall/update audio drivers

The last resort is to reinstall/update the audio drivers of the headphones. Let’s get over it.

Step 1: Open the desktop on your PC.

Step 2: Right-click on ‘This PC’ icon and open ‘Manage’. This will open up the Computer Management window.

Step 3: Pick the ‘Devices Manager’ option from the list on the left side to see a list of all the hardware peripherals connected to the PC.

Step 4: Ignoring everything else, expand the ‘Sound, Video and Game controllers’ option and click on your audio driver.

Step 5: Now press the Properties button to open the: Yes, you guessed it right, Audio Properties window.

From the Drivers tab, you can either see details of the driver, update it, roll it back to a previous version, disable it or completely uninstall it. The choice is yours. You can try updating the driver first and see if it solves your problem, or you can even uninstall the driver. After uninstalling the driver, if you plug in the device again, Windows 10 will automatically install the driver again, so you don’t have to worry about manually doing it again.

If the driver was corrupt or had any bugs, they would most probably be fixed after a fresh install/update. Try playing the music again from any of your favorite applications or the web browser, and enjoy the audio from your headphones now.

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