There are a few reasons why you’re getting no sound when using an HDMI cable to your screen. Here we outline what they are and how you can try to fix the problem.
Primarily we’re talking about Windows PCs, where you might want audio to come out of the speakers built into your screen. However some of our tips apply to other scenarios as well.
Check Windows sound settings
The first place to look is in the Windows’ notification area. If you can see a speaker icon, click it and you should see the name of the device currently being used to output audio.
Click the white arrow facing up and a list of available devices will be shown. Just click on the one you want to use for sound output.
If you can’t see the name of your monitor in the list, or you can’t see that list, you need to check Windows’ Sound options as this is usually where you’ll find the issue.
Right-click on the speaker icon to the left of the clock in Windows’ notification area and choose Open Sound settings. If you don’t see a speaker icon or that option, you can open the Control Panel and click on Hardware and Sound, then Sound.
On the Playback tab, you’ll find a list of all the devices which can produce sound. Some may actually be outputs on your PC which aren’t connected to anything, in which case they will display as ‘Not plugged in’.
This can be your first clue as to why no sound is coming from your speakers. There should be a green circle with a tick over the default device, and it may not be the correct one.
There could also be hidden devices in the list, in which case you won’t see them. To show all hidden playback devices, right click anywhere on the list and choose Show disabled devices.
Assuming that you want audio to play from your screen’s speakers, and you can now see the screen in the list (and that it is not greyed out), right-click on it and choose ‘Test’. If everything is working, you’ll hear a short tune play first from the left speaker, then the right.
Note that the bar to the right of the device name in the list will light up when sound is playing, so you can easily see whether or not you should be hearing something from it.
If you always want sound to come from your screen's speakers, right click on the screen in the list and click Set as Default Device.
Check volume levels
Sometimes the settings are correct, but the volume is turned down in Windows or on your monitor, or whichever HDMI device is supposed to be playing the sound.
It’s easy to check in Windows. Click the speaker icon to the left of the clock (bottom right of the Windows desktop) and adjust the slider to make the volume louder. Depending on your computer, you might have several sliders – it could be that the one for the application playing sound is turned down.
Each monitor is different so you might have to check the manual or search around in the menus to find the volume control. Again, the options differ from model to model, but check the sound isn’t muted and that the appropriate source (input) is selected if there’s the choice.
Check the cable
If you’re getting a picture over the HDMI cable it’s unlikely it will be damaged. However, if you have a spare to hand, it’s always worth swapping them over at this stage just to rule it out as the problem.
You can see our recommendations for the best HDMI cables if it turns out you need a new one.
Similarly, if possible attach another monitor or another HDMI device that can play audio to check whether it is your monitor at fault.
As obvious as it seems, make sure your monitor actually has speakers: not all do.
Hopefully these tips have solved your problem. But if you find a solution we haven’t covered here, do let us know in the comments below.