There is a radio station that intermittently plays through my headphones when they are plugged in. It does not play through the stereo speakers of my laptop.

When I open the volume mixer, it does not show any sound being played, even though there is sound coming through my headphones.

The sound does not get louder or quieter when I change the volume.

I have closed all browsers, and the sound still comes through.

How can I find a list of all programs that are outputting sound?

  • 1
    Is it a local radio station? Are you sure it's coming from the computer, and not just radio signals being picked up by the headphones (interference)? If you pick up the laptop and go someplace else (like the library), does it still happen? Does the clarity/volume of the radio station change as you move? Jan 2, 2015 at 20:24
  • 1
    It is a local radio station. After trying more things, I noticed that the sound only comes through when the power cord is plugged in to my laptop. The sound gets louder and clearer when I stand up, thus making the headphone cord longer. Jan 2, 2015 at 20:32
  • I had the same problem with some desktop speakers which picked up the local collage radio station in my old dorm room (the transmitter was on the neighboring building for the station). Jan 2, 2015 at 20:34
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    It's probably a strong AM radio signal. Power cords are notorious for picking up such signals. Usually a ferrite core (aka doughnut or choke) on the power cord (as close as possible to the equipment) can help attenuate the signal.
    – sawdust
    Jan 2, 2015 at 20:41
  • sawdust, I am unfamiliar with that problem but do you think that this could also be affecting beachwood23's internet signal to some degree? If so, it might be worth adding a choke to more of beachwood23's appliances.
    – Sawta
    Jan 2, 2015 at 21:51

3 Answers 3


I'm going to go with Interference. Very hard to know exactly what causes it, but could be fixed by experiment with things like: Re-route wires, unplug unused things, clean plugs, different outlets, sit in a different position, move things around...


Every low-frequency Amplifier picks up the strongest audio signal from local broadcasting stations. When you connect the headphones their cord works as an antenna additionally amplifying the signal. This is caused by poor shielding of headphone's cable.


The frequency range of many wireless (or warless capable) headphones and speakers are at the lower end of the FM range where many religious and public service radio stations operate. So until a transmitter is turned on, you may hear a religious FM station. In other cases it may be simply harmonics and in others shielding.

  • Are you referring to headphones that are able to work in peacetime? :-)
    – fixer1234
    Oct 14, 2016 at 17:04

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