How to Troubleshoot Computer Headphones

By Ty Arthur

If your set of computer headphones are no longer emitting sound properly, or at all, the problem could lie either with a physical malfunction in the headphones or in a hardware or software issue with the computer you are using. There are many different troubleshooting steps you can attempt to pinpoint the problem and find out if the headphones need to be replaced.

Step 1

Power on the computer and then click on the "Start" button once the operating system finishes loading. Navigate to the Control Panel icon.

Step 2

Scroll down through the list of options in the Control Panel and click on the icon of a computer labeled "Device Manager." Click on the plus sign located to the left of the entry named "Sound, Video, and Game Controllers."

Step 3

Double-click on the name of your computer's sound card, which will appear below the sound controller entry. Locate the "Status" box and check to see if it says "This device is working properly." Click on the "Driver" tab at the top of the window if any other message appears in the status box.

Step 4

Check to make sure the computer hasn't stopped recognizing the sound card by disabling and then re-enabling it again. Click on the "Disable" button and wait a few moments until the button changes to "Enable." Click it again to re-enable the sound card. Click on "Enable" only once if the sound card was disabled to begin with.

Step 5

Click on the "Update Driver" button and wait for the new driver to finish downloading. Plug the headphones into the computer and attempt to use them again.

Step 6

Double-click on the volume button on the task bar at the lower right corner of the desktop. Drag the slider bar upwards and make sure it is not set at the bottom level, which will indicate that the sound is turned entirely off.

Step 7

Check the volume knob on the computer itself (if your computer has one). Move the knob to the right and make sure that it was not turned all the way down. Try to use the headphones again.

Step 8

Locate the volume knob on the headphones and make sure it is not turned all the way down. Check the USB or PS/2 cable that connects to the computer and make sure it is connected properly and snugly.

Step 9

Connect the headphones to a different computer and see if they still do not work, which will indicate the headphones are faulty and need to be replaced.

Tips & Warnings

  • * If the headphones will not work with only one computer that will likely mean that the computer's sound card is either not installed properly or needs to be replaced.* If the sound coming out of the headphones crackles and cuts out no matter what computer you attach it to, you will need to replace the headphones.