How to Connect Headphones for TV

By James Clark

Television sets, both modern and older models, seldom come equipped with a headphone jack. Older sets were designed with a set of built-in stereo speakers (and sometimes a single mono speaker), while newer digital sets are typically set up for home theater, which involves connecting the TV to a receiver and Surround Sound speakers. But sometimes, a viewer just wants to listen privately while watching a program. The solution is to adapt the TV's audio outputs into a mini-jack for connecting a set of headphones or earbuds.

Things You'll Need

  • TV
  • Y-adapter with RCA stereo plugs on one end and a mini-jack on the other, available at electronics stores.
  • Headphones

Step 1

Locate the pair of Audio OUT jacks on the back of the television, one white and one red. These are the jacks for connecting a receiver with external speakers or, in this case, headphones.

Step 2

Insert the Y-adapter plugs into the Audio OUT jacks, pushing straight in until each plug is seated firmly with a click.

Step 3

Insert the mini-plug on the end of the headphones cord into the small jack on the end of the Y adapter

Step 4

Press the "Menu" button on the TV remote control and toggle the up and down arrows until "Speakers" appears on the display.

Step 5

Use the left and right arrows to turn the TV's built-in speakers on and off for private listening through the headphones.

Tips & Warnings

  • Unlike many audio devices, the built-in speakers on a TV are note desinged to shut off automatically when headphones are plugged in. For private listening, it is necessary to turn off the built-in speakers as described in Step 5.
  • Turn down the volume on the television before wearing headphones to prevent hearing damage.