Top 7 Ways to Fix Headphones Not Working in Windows 11

Windows 11 introduced several new features, such as new start menu, redesigned taskbar, refreshing new UI with rounded corners, and the ability to install Android apps via Amazon AppStore. However, no interactive experience is complete without audio, especially on your brand new headphones. Audio issues in Windows 11 may leave you in confusion. Here are the top ways to fix headphones not working in Windows 11.

Sometimes, your external speakers or headphones may refuse to play audio, and your mic may not transmit your voice to the selected application. In some cases, the audio signals may distort too. It is an issue we face daily while video conferencing for post-pandemic remote work. However, Windows 11 makes it easy to fix any audio problems you face.

Preliminary Diagnostics

Before we dive into the advanced troubleshooting steps, let us take a look at a few simple things you can check:

  • Ensure all audio equipment using external power (USB/wall outlet) is plugged in and switched on.
  • Make sure all the connections for audio signal transmission are secure. If you are using wired connection, check for any physical damage.
  • If you’re using Bluetooth speakers or a Bluetooth headset, make sure it is switched on and connected to your computer.
  • Disconnect your headphone’s 3.5mm connector, wipe it clean, and reconnect. Moisture could be the culprit.
  • Bluetooth devices sometimes enter standby mode to save power when unused for a long time. Check that your connected device is not in standby mode.
  • If you are facing Bluetooth issues on Windows 11, your Bluetooth headphone might face a hard time keeping an active connection to the PC.

1. Unmute Your Computer and Headphone

If you cannot hear sound from your connected audio gear, you may have turned the volume down to a minimum or muted the audio stream via software. Most headphones do come with a dedicated mute button.

Step 1: Check the volume level of your connected headphones.

Step 2: Ensure you turn up your computer’s volume. Click on the Wi-Fi and speaker icon on the right side of your taskbar.

Step 3: Ensure your volume slider is not muted in the pop-up menu.

If the Windows 11 volume slider is unmuted, but your problem persists, check the volume settings for the application you’re using and unmute the audio stream. Otherwise, proceed to the next step below.

2. Select the Correct Audio Device

If you can’t hear audio, or the sound is playing through a different connected device, you just need to change the audio output device.

Step 1: Click on the speaker and Wi-Fi icon on the taskbar’s right side.

Step 2: Click on the headphone or speaker icon adjacent to the volume slider.

Step 3: Select the correct playback device from the drop-down list.

3. Check Application Volume

If you cannot hear audio from a specific application while other programs seem to be working fine, you likely muted it accidentally.

Step 1: Press Win + I to open Settings on Windows 11.

Step 2: Select System from the sidebar.

Step 3: Click on Sound.

Step 4: Scroll down and select Volume Mixer.

Step 5: Adjust the volume slider beside the problematic application.

4. Fix Buzzing and Patchy Audio

Is your headphone connected and playing sound, but with disturbances like buzzing and hissing? It could be a loose connection to blame. The fix for this issue is relatively straightforward.

Step 1: Switch off nearby electronics such as LED strips and mobile phones to prevent interference.

Step 2: Disconnect your audio equipment from your computer and connect it again.

Step 3: Move close to your computer. On Bluetooth devices, disturbances and intermittent packet loss could creep in if you move too far from your computer.

5. Disable Audio Device

In sporadic cases, the Windows system service responsible for audio devices could stop functioning or misbehave. Let’s try and disable the device before re-enabling it.

Step 1: Right-click the Start button in the taskbar.

Step 2: Select Device Manager in the list.

Step 3: Click the arrow beside Audio inputs and outputs to expand the list.

Step 4: Right-click on the name of the malfunctioning device.

Step 5: Choose Disable device from the drop-down menu.

Step 6: Repeat step 4, and select Enable device to enable it again.

6. Use Windows Audio Troubleshooter

If all the above steps fail, your audio drivers could be the underlying issue. Windows 11 makes it easy to diagnose this problem with its built-in audio troubleshooter. Here’s how to access it.

Step 1: Press Win + I to open Settings on Windows 11.

Step 2: Select System from the sidebar.

Step 3: Click on Sound.

Step 4: Under the Advanced section, click Troubleshoot common sound problems.

Step 5: Select Output Device or Input Device based on your issue.

Step 6: Follow the on-screen instructions to run the troubleshooter.

7. Check Headphones with Another Device

If none of the tricks are working for you, your headphone might be the real culprit here. You can try using it with another phone or laptop and check if the device is working or not. If you are still facing issues with headphones, it’s time to rush to the nearest service center or get new ones.

Enjoy Crystal Clear Sound on Windows 11

Your online meetings, gaming sessions, or your music streaming experience is bound to get spoiled when you run into headphone glitches on your PC. Before you go out to get a new pair of headphones, use the tricks above and fix headphones not working on Windows 11 issue. While you are at it, do let us know the trick that worked for you.

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