Why aren't my headphones working on my laptop

Why Aren’t My Headphones Working on My Laptop?

No sound, huh? Nothing is more annoying than to have a piece of technology stop working in the middle of a task. It’s easy to start worrying and spend too much time panicking rather than really finding the source of the problem. “Why aren’t my headphones working on my laptop?” you ask. Let us find out!

Take a moment and breathe. Here we have a step-by-step list of things to check that will help you find the problem. When headphones stop working it can be a majorly annoying moment, but there is most likely a very simple solution. So before worrying about any crazy price tags or having to possibly replace your whole laptop read through the checklist to get the answers you need.

Audio Troubleshooting Checklist

Audio Troubleshooting Checklist

Preliminary Checks

Often, a random setting, volume button, or cord is adjusted that accidentally cuts off the sound flow to your headphones. So more often than not audio issues can be resolved or at least identified by double-checking one of these things below.


The problem might not be with your laptop. Make sure that the cord jack did not slip out of the aux slightly or that the cord hasn’t broken or frayed around the jack or outlet. If broken, check out this list of the best wired headphones. Simply cleaning the cord and input could also resolve the issue. For Bluetooth headphones, make sure that they are fully charged and that the laptop is still connected to the device.

Audio Source

Make sure that you try using a variety of sound sources (YouTube, music streaming, sound/video file, etc.). The issue could be coming from the file or source instead of the headphone speakers or the laptop.

Audio Output Volume and Settings

Try adjusting the volume up and down while music is playing to see if any audio is outputting at all. It could be that the volume levels have been turned down in the sound settings of your laptop. The audio output should also show that it is playing through headphones. Often simply switching to the laptop’s speakers then back to headphone output will do the trick.

Headphones Speakers

If nothing above worked, it’s very likely that the headphones speakers have simply gone out. Try plugging in/connecting them to a different device to test the audio there. If you have another set of headphones you can also try connecting those to your laptop. This should be able to give you an idea of where the problem lies. See this article for suggestions on the best headphones for laptops.

Troubleshooting Your Laptop

If you identify the problem originating from your laptop, there are still some simple ways to troubleshoot before taking it to a professional or making the replacement call.

Audio Troubleshooter [for Windows]

Windows laptops have a sound troubleshooting function in their settings. Go to “Update and Security,” “Troubleshoot,” then select “Playing audio.” Run the test and follow the prompts to solve any issues that may appear. Once done, test audio through your headphones again.

Perform System Updates – Why aren’t my headphones working on my laptop

For Macs, or if the above does not work, check to see if there is a system update available for the laptop model. This should appear under “System” and “Software Updates.” Make sure to disconnect the headphones before the laptop restarts to update. Once the update is complete you can then reconnect the headphones and attempt to play your audio again.

Update Sound Drivers [for Windows]

For Windows laptops, there is an additional setting that might require an update. In settings go to “Sound Driver” under the “Sound, Video, and Game Controls.” Look to see if there is an update available. If yes, download it, restart the laptop, and recheck your audio.

Repairs and Replacements

If none of the above solves the issue, consider taking your laptop to be examined by a tech professional. The most likely fix would be to replace the audio board or connector, which might not be worth the price compared to replacement. If it is the connector there is a simple, short-term fix using a USB-Aux adapter. However, depending on the age and quality of the laptop, it could be much more cost-effective to go ahead and replace it.

These are just quick steps to identifying audio problems for headphones with laptops. Hopefully after following the guidance of this checklist you are back to business. Happy listening!

Written by Mackenzie Dukes

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