Headphones not showing up in playback devices on Windows 10

If you are trying to listen to audio using headphones on your Windows 10 system, but the headphones are not showing up in playback devices, then this post shows how to add headphones to playback devices in Windows 10.

Headphones not showing up in playback devices

The problem could be with the headphone, headphone port, or the system. Now if the problem is with the hardware, you might need to replace the components. But it would be advisable to try the following troubleshooting before replacing anything.

I would suggest the first step as changing the headphone port; however, most computers wouldn’t have an extra port for headphones. If your computer has one, try it.

  1. Run the Playing Audio troubleshooter
  2. Update the Audio driver
  3. Enable the headphones from the playback devices

Then, try to connect your headphone to a different system and check if it works. This is to isolate whether the problem is with the system or the headphone. If the headphone works, proceed with the following troubleshooting sequentially to resolve the issue.

1] Run the Playing Audio troubleshooter

Run the Playing Audio troubleshooter

The Playing Audio troubleshooter will check all problems related to audio playback. Then it would either resolve the problem it at least list it so you could fix it manually. The procedure to run the Playing Audio troubleshooter is as follows:

Click on the Start button and go to Settings > Updates and Security > Troubleshoot.

Select the Playing Audio troubleshooter from the list and run it.

Restart the system.

2] Update the Audio driver

Update headphone driver

Many headphones have drivers, and many don’t. So if you don’t find a driver for your headphone, don’t panic. My system doesn’t have one either. The procedure to update the drivers is as follows:

Press Win+R to open the Run window and type the command devmgmt.msc. Press Enter to open the Device Manager window.

 

In the Device Manager window, expand the list for Audio inputs and outputs drivers.

Check if you find a driver associated with your headphone in the list. You could also eject and replug the headphone to check if a driver pops up there.

If you find a driver, right-click on it and select Update driver.

If you don’t find any driver, check the headphone manufacturer’s website for one and download that driver.

3] Enable the headphones from the playback devices

Headphones not showing up in playback devices

Press Win+R to open the Run window and type the command mmsys.cpl. Hit Enter to open Playback devices.

 

Right-click anywhere in the open space and check the boxes for Show Disconnected Devices and Show Disabled Devices.

This could help display your headphone/s in the Playback devices section.

You can right-click and Enable them if they are disabled.

Hope something helps.

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Karan Khanna is a passionate Windows 10 user who loves troubleshooting Windows problems in specific and writing about Microsoft technologies in general.

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