5 Ways To Fix Headphones That Are Not Working In Windows


Music can help limit the thoughts in your head as you work. Sometimes your headset can work a bit, but you can usually fix the problem by unplugging it and plugging it back in.

Sometimes these hiccups can be severe and figuring out what’s going on can be difficult for no apparent reason. It may prevent you from listening to your favorite playlist that you just downloaded a few days ago. To fix unusual headphone issues, here are five fixes you can implement to keep your headphones working.

Getting started with repairing headphones in Windows

Before exploring potential software issues, physically check your headphones. Make sure the wires are intact and properly connected. Try unplugging it and plugging it back in if it is already connected.

The next step should be to properly clean the headphone jack. Make sure that no dirt or lint gets in the way of listening to your favorite music.

Also, make sure your headphones are compatible with Windows. It may not be a hardware or technical issue, but the device is not compatible with your operating system. In this case, you can either replace the headset or install a compatible operating system.

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If you are using bluetooth headphones, make sure they are paired properly with the device and not connected to another at the same time. In this case, disconnect the connected devices and reconnect to the device you are currently working with. Make sure you are not too far from the device.

You can also test your devices to see if they are properly connected in the Manage audio devices settings. You can do this by right clicking on the volume speaker icon in the lower right corner, then entering Open sound settings.

Then go to Manage audio devices settings and select your preferred output device. Click on Test, and if you hear sound through your headphones, you’re fine. If not, the problem lies elsewhere and requires further investigation.

Test output audio devices in Windows settings

To make sure the problem is with the computer and not the hardware, plug another pair of headphones into the same device if you have one. If they start to perform well, you will have to spend some money to have them checked by a technician or buy a new pair.

If the other pair also behaves the same, implement the following fixes:

1. Make your headphones the default audio device

Even if you’ve plugged in your headphones correctly, you won’t hear them if your computer doesn’t recognize them as the default audio device. When multiple audio output devices are connected to your computer at the same time, it may cause conflicts with the device used by your PC to output audio.

Here’s how to set your default headset:

  1. Click it sound icon in the lower right corner of the taskbar.

  2. Click on the Open sound settings.

  3. Make sure the correct device is selected in Choose your output device.

    Choose the right output device in the audio settings

2. Run the Windows audio troubleshooter

The Windows Audio Troubleshooter automatically fixes most hidden audio issues. So let’s run the Audio Troubleshooter in Control Panel before making any complex fixes.

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel.

  2. Navigate the Repair.

  3. Click on Hardware and sound issues.

  4. Click on Audio playback.

  5. In the pop-up window, tap Next.

  6. Wait for troubleshooting to find problems.

  7. Select the device you want to troubleshoot and click Next.

    Troubleshooting audio playback in Windows Control Panel

The troubleshooter will automatically fix audio issues after detecting them. This patch fixes most audio issues, but if it doesn’t magically work, continue with the rest of the fixes.

3. Update your device’s drivers (or restore them)

Problems like outdated drivers can go unnoticed by troubleshooters. Make sure your audio drivers are up to date. You can do it by following these steps:

  1. Right click on the Start button and navigate to Device Manager.

  2. Broaden the Sound, video and game controllers Category.

  3. Right click on the driver you want to update and press Update the driver.

    Updating the audio driver in Device Manager

Depending on your device, the drivers might have different names, so if you’re not sure which one is correct for your headset, you might as well update them all.

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As a result of a recent update, people often start to experience serious issues. You should also cancel the driver update if you recently updated your operating system and encountered a problem with the headphones afterwards.

Move towards Device Manager and extend the Sound, video and game controllers Category. To cancel driver updates, right click on it and navigate to Properties. On the Driver tab, click Roll back the pilot.

Driver Rollback in Windows Device Manager

You can only roll back a recent update and not an update that has passed a certain time frame as discussed above.

4. Activate the playback of the device on your headphones

Windows uses the device defined in audio playback to play the output audio. If your headphones are not activated there, the output may come from the device’s speakers. You need to choose the correct default playback device before you can start listening to music with your headphones.

Right click on the sound icon in the lower right corner of the taskbar and navigate to Sounds. Go to Proofreading tab to see if your headphones appear there. Otherwise, right click in the box and click Show disabled devices.

Viewing Disabled Devices in Sound Playback Settings

When you see your headset as disabled, click on it and press To allow. Once the device is activated, right click on it and select Set as default device.

5. Update Windows

If nothing seems to fix the problem, it’s time to check if Windows is updated. Obsolete Windows can cause problems that do not have easy solutions, so eliminating this possibility is crucial. You can check for updates in Windows by doing the following:

  1. Open the Windows settings app.

  2. Go to Update and security.

  3. Click on Check for updates.

    Checking for updates in the Windows Settings app

Windows will check for available updates and install them automatically. You can also cancel the update if necessary, but be aware of the risk of compromising your security.

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Put your headphones back on

Either of these fixes should fix the problem for you. If the issue persists, you can try the same pair of headphones on a different computer to make sure the issue is not hardware related. As a last resort, remember to reset your computer to default settings, then reconnect the headset

Have you ever wondered why all headphones sound different? One of the main factors contributing to the quality of your audio is the frequency response. Before you buy your next headset, you need to better understand the importance of this feature.

Helmet on the head
What is the frequency response of the headphones?

Headphones all sound different, and the frequency response is just one reason why.

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