How to Connect Headphones for TV

Updated February 21, 2017

Television sets, both modern and older models, seldom come equipped with a headphone jack. Older sets were designed with a set of built-in stereo speakers (and sometimes a single mono speaker), while newer digital sets are typically set up for home theatre, which involves connecting the TV to a receiver and Surround Sound speakers. But sometimes, a viewer just wants to listen privately while watching a program. The solution is to adapt the TV's audio outputs into a mini-jack for connecting a set of headphones or earbuds.

Locate the pair of Audio OUT jacks on the back of the television, one white and one red. These are the jacks for connecting a receiver with external speakers or, in this case, headphones.

Insert the Y-adaptor plugs into the Audio OUT jacks, pushing straight in until each plug is seated firmly with a click.

Insert the mini-plug on the end of the headphones cord into the small jack on the end of the Y adaptor

Press the "Menu" button on the TV remote control and toggle the up and down arrows until "Speakers" appears on the display.

Use the left and right arrows to turn the TV's built-in speakers on and off for private listening through the headphones.


Unlike many audio devices, the built-in speakers on a TV are note desinged to shut off automatically when headphones are plugged in. For private listening, it is necessary to turn off the built-in speakers as described in Step 5.


Turn down the volume on the television before wearing headphones to prevent hearing damage.

Things You'll Need

  • TV
  • Y-adaptor with RCA stereo plugs on one end and a mini-jack on the other, available at electronics stores.
  • Headphones
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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.