Headphones have come a long way, revolutionizing how we enjoy audio privately without disturbing anyone else in the vicinity. But isn’t it a head-scratcher if they suddenly stop working and audio starts streaming from your laptop speakers instead?
Unless it’s an issue with the headset, you can tinker with a few settings and go back to enjoying your music through your plugged headphones. We’ll demonstrate a few ways you can do this:
How to Fix Speakers Playing Audio When Headphones Are Plugged In
Because most of the issues are resolved with a quick reboot, make sure you restart your PC first. If that proves to be a fruitless attempt, you’ll should verify the problem doesn’t lie with your headphones instead.
Try plugging the headphones into another device and playing some music. If it still doesn’t work, your headphones are the culprit. If they do work properly on other devices, you know it’s your Windows device acting up.
If that’s the case, here’s how to diagnose and fix Windows not swapping audio to your headphones.
1. Clean the Headphones Jack on Your Windows Machine
This might be a good time to clean your headphone jack thoroughly, especially if you haven’t in a while. A headphone jack gets clogged with grime and dirt easily, which creates more than just strange crackling sounds; it may also be why your headphones are not working.
There are a variety of techniques explained in our guide on how to effectively clean a headphone jack; however, you can do a quick clean by spraying the inside of your headphone jack with a can of compressed air. Once done, insert a slightly dampened cotton swab (with alcohol or thinner) into the headphone jack and use circular motions to clean thoroughly. Repeat the process two to three times.
2. Update Your Sound Drivers on Windows
If your headphones refuse to cooperate despite cleaning the headphone jack from inside out, don’t toss them away just yet. There’s another viable option that does it for most users–reinstalling the sound drivers on Windows.
Without a proper and updated sound driver installed, your headphones might not emit any sound. It’s because they are responsible for converting all electronic signals into sounds, and an outdated driver won’t support your headphones. If that’s the case, it’s time to update your sound drivers on Windows.
To update your sound drivers:
- Open the Device Manager by either right-clicking on Start or pressing Win + R and typing devmgmt.msc
In Device Manager, expand the Sounds, video and game controllers section.
- Right-click on your audio driver and select Update driver > Search automatically for drivers. Windows will automatically update any available drivers.
- Restart the PC to check if the speakers are still playing audio despite headphones inserted in the headphone jack.
Sometimes Windows struggles to find the drivers for your device. If it can’t find anything, search for your audio device’s manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers.
3. Set Your Headphones as the Default Audio Device
Windows may not stream audio through your headphones if they aren’t set as the default audio device. To correct this, perform the following steps:
- Head over to the search box on the taskbar and type Control Panel.
Navigate through Hardware and Sound > Sound > Manage audio devices.
- Under the Playback tab, select your headphones and hit Set Default.
4. Run the Audio Troubleshooter
If you still find your speakers playing audio despite plugged-in headphones, it might be time to run the audio troubleshooter for a quick diagnosis. Running this troubleshooter is usually effective and worth a try.
To boot it up, press Win + S to bring up Windows Search. Then, type Audio troubleshooter into the search box and hit Enter. Then, hit Next to allow Windows to scan for any audio-related issues and fix them automatically.
Fixing the Conflict Between Your Speakers And Headphones
While you bask in the comfort of having fixed your headphone issues, did you know it’s possible to play two different audio sources between your headphones and speakers? With a little bit of tweaking, it is possible to split your audio on Windows 11.