Top 9 Ways to Fix Windows 11 Computer Not Recognizing Headphones

Connecting your favorite pair of headphones allows you to isolate yourself from the surrounding noise and lets you focus on the task at hand. While your Windows 11 computer is generally efficient at detecting various accessories, there can be times when it fails to recognize your headphones for a variety of reasons.

Top Ways to Fix Windows 11 Can't Detect Headphones

There can be various reasons behind this issue, ranging from a dirty audio jack and misconfigured settings to a faulty update. In this post, we’ve outlined a few effective solutions that will help fix the headphone detection problem in Windows 11. So, let’s start.

1. Clean the Audio Jack

The headphone jack on your PC can easily gather dust and debris over time. If your Windows 11 computer is not recognizing your wired headphones, you can start by cleaning the headphone jack. Inspect the headphone jack for any visible dust particles and gently blow into the jack to remove them. You can also use a soft-bristled brush to clean the inside of the jack.

Clean Headphone Jack

2. Disconnect and Reconnect Your Headphones

This may seem basic, but don’t skip over this step. If you’re using wired headphones, unplug them, wait for a few seconds, and plug them back in. In the case of Bluetooth headphones, follow these steps to disconnect and reconnect your headphones.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + A to open the Quick Settings panel. Right-click on the Bluetooth icon and select Go to Settings.

Open Bluetooth Settings on Windows 11

Step 2: Click the three-dot menu icon next to your headphones and select Remove device.

Remove Bluetooth Device from Windows 11

Step 3: Click the Add device button and follow the on-screen prompts to pair your headphones again and see if Windows can detect them.

Add Bluetooth Device on Windows

3. Test Your Headphones With Another Device

If reconnecting your headphones does not help, you can test your headphones with another PC or phone. This should help you determine whether the problem is specific to your Windows 11 computer or if it lies with the headphones themselves. If your headphones work fine with another device, continue with the fixes below.

4. Enable Your Headphones From Sound Settings

Windows 11 may fail to recognize your headphones if you have previously disabled them on your PC. Here’s how you can enable them.

Step 1: Right-click the speaker icon on the taskbar and select Sound settings from the resulting menu.

Sound Settings in Windows 11

Step 2: Click on More sound settings.

More Sound Settings

Step 3: Under the Playback tab, right-click anywhere on an empty spot and select Show Disabled Devices.

Disabled Audio Devices on Windows 11

Step 4: Right-click on your headphones and select Enable.

Enable Playback Device on Windows

If there are multiple audio devices connected to your system, you will need to ensure that your headphones are set as the default audio device. To do so, right-click on your headphones and select ‘Set as Default Device’ from the list.

Change Default Audio Device in Windows

5. Check the In-App Audio Settings

Certain applications like Spotify, Microsoft Teams, VLC, and others have their own audio controls that operate independently of your computer’s settings. If your headphones are not working only in a specific app, you should check the in-app audio settings and ensure that your headphones are set as the default audio device.

Google Meet Audio Settings

6. Run the Audio Troubleshooter

Windows 11 ships with a handy audio troubleshooter that can inspect your PC for common audio-related issues and fix them. So, if Windows fails to detect your headphones even after you’ve enabled it, use these steps to run the audio troubleshooter.

Step 1: Click the search icon on the taskbar, type in troubleshoot settings, and select the first result that appears.

Troubleshoot Settings on Windows

Step 2: Go to Other troubleshooters.

Other Troubleshooters on Windows 11

Step 3: Click the Run button next to Playing Audio and follow the on-screen instructions to finish the troubleshooting process.

Run Audio Troubleshooter on Windows

7. Update the Audio Driver

The audio driver on your PC helps Windows identify and interact with connected audio devices. Naturally, if there’s an issue with the installed audio drivers, Windows 11 might fail to detect your headphones. You can try updating the audio drivers manually to remedy that.

Step 1: Press the Windows key + S to access the search menu, type in device manager, and select the first result that appears.

Open Device Manager on Windows

Step 2: Expand ‘Sound, video and game controllers’, right-click on your device, and select Update driver from the list.

Update Headphone Driver on Windows

From there, follow the on-screen instructions to finish updating the driver.

8. Check for Bluetooth Issues

If you’re facing this particular issue only while connecting your wireless headphones, the issue could be with the Bluetooth functionality on Windows 11. In that case, you can try restarting the Bluetooth service or updating the Bluetooth drivers. If that doesn’t work, you can go through this dedicated guide on fixing Bluetooth issues on Windows 11.

9. Install Windows Updates

Regular software updates are essential for any device and your Windows 11 PC is no exception to this rule. If the issue is caused by a bug within Windows, updating to a newer build should help.

Press the Windows key + I to open Settings to check for updates. Use the left pane to visit the Windows Update tab and click the Check for updates button.

Check for Windows Updates

Download and install any pending updates from here and see if that helps with the headphone detection issue on Windows 11.

FAQs on Windows 11 Computer Not Recognizing Headphones

1. Why are my headphones plugged in but not working?

If your headphones are plugged in but not functioning, it is possible that there is a loose connection or you have selected the wrong default audio device.

2. How do I play sound through my headphones on Windows?

To play sound through your headphones instead of speakers, you will need to switch the audio output device on Windows.

Revive Your Headphones

Such connection issues between your headphones and PC can be frustrating, to say the least. Hopefully, the above-mentioned solutions have helped you resolve the headphone detection issues on Windows 11 for good, and you’re at peace.

Last updated on 09 May, 2023

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