It’s frustrating if your laptop fails to detect your headphones when you’re playing music, videos, or even games. There could be multiple reasons for this issue. If you’re looking for workarounds, you’re in the right place. Now let’s take a look at the troubleshooting tips below.

  1. Run Audio Troubleshooter
  2. Update your audio driver
  3. Enable Waves Waxxaudio if you’re using Dell
  4. Disable front panel jack detection

Before we start troubleshooting, please check that your headphones are connected (or plugged in) properly. Also, restart your laptop to flush the buffer or to fix any random bugs. If the problem persists, go through the steps below.

1. Run Audio Troubleshooter

The Audio troubleshooter is an in-built repair tool to detect and fix audio issues. When your laptop is not detecting your headphones, try using this tool first.

To do so:

  1. In the Windows search box, type audio troubleshooter and select Find and fix problems with playing sound.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the troubleshooting.

See if the issue persists. If so, move on to the next tip.

2. Update your audio driver

When your computer fails to detect the headphones for you, one of the first things you should do is to update your audio card driver, since an up-to-date audio driver always ensures the highest quality of sound and fewer bugs.

To update your audio card driver, here’s what you can do (please note that the following screenshots are taken on Windows 11, but the instructions work on Windows 10 as well):

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows key and X at the same time, select Device Manager.
  2. Double-click to expand the category Sound, video and game controllers. Then right-click your audio driver and click Update driver (the name of the device can be different on your computer).
  3. Then click Search automatically for updated driver software.
  4. Wait for Windows to find the latest driver available for you.
  5. When the driver update is done, restart your computer for the change to take effect.
  6. Then check and see if the problem is fixed.

If Windows says that it’s already found the latest driver for you, so no newer drivers are found, then you should consider updating your audio driver in a different way with the help of Driver Techie.

Its ever-growing driver database allows you to always have access to the latest device drivers that you need. More importantly, Driver Techie simplifies the driver update process, so all it takes is just 3 clicks (for Pro users), and all your drivers are updated.

To use Driver Techie to find you the latest drivers:

  1. Download and install Driver Techie, then launch it.
  2. Click Scan Now.
  3. After the scan, select all the drivers you need to update and click Update All. Then all your drivers will be updated automatically without you having to do anything else.

Please note that Update All is available for Pro subscribers only, otherwise, you can only manually update the driver one at a time. To see how to manually update the drivers one by one, please check this post.

If you’re a Pro user of Driver Techie, and need our technical support to help with the laptop not detecting headphones problem, please feel free to contact <>.

3. Enable Waves Waxxaudio if you’re using Dell

According to Dell’s Support, if Waves Waxxaudio is disabled, your Dell laptop will be unable to detect your headphones. In this case, you have to enable Waves Waxxaudio in this way:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo key and X together and select Task Manager.
  2. In Task Manager, click the Startup tab from the top menu and then look for the Waves Waxxaudio app to see if it’s enabled.
  3. If it’s disabled, right-click the app and select Enable.

Check if this method resolves the issue. If it doesn’t, try the next one.

4. Disable front panel jack detection

If you’re using Realtek HD Audio Manager, your laptop could be unable to detect your headphones with the Front Panel Jack Detection enabled. In this case, you’ll have to disable the front panel jack detection.

Here’s what we can do:

  1. In the system tray, right-click the Realtek HD Audio Manager icon, and then select Sound Manager.
  2. Click the little folder icon on the top right corner to open Connector Settings.
  3. Tick the box for Disable front panel jack detection and click OK to apply changes.

Hopefully, one of the tips above should fix the issue for you. If your laptop still has trouble detecting your headphones, then it’s highly likely to be a hardware issue, and we recommend seeking help from the device’s manufacturer. If you have any ideas to share, please leave a comment below.