My 2009 MacBook’s speaker doesn't work (most times). The digital audio out port gets stuck (a red glow appears from within the socket). It is an old MacBook with separate headset & mic ports.
I have discounted problems with the speaker as the startup sound goes directly to the built-in speakers.
I think the OS controls which functionality the computer decides to use, but consults some hidden hardware in the socket. The System Preferences can sense but not control the state of the digital audio. As far as the computer is concerned, it is outputting digital audio and the speaker is disabled.
I did try to fix the problem by putting in a digital audio connector, but that didn’t help. I did find suggestions recommending things like poking a toothpick in the hole and trying to ‘unlatch’ some mechanism which (I assume) senses the presence of the plug.
My next step, unless I get a better idea, is to open the computer case in the hope that I can inspect the port from the inside. Alternatively, I might try to:
look further for software solutions, somehow overriding the computer's belief that something is plugged in; OS X doesn't seem to support this
mechanically probe from the outside (again)
get wireless speakers or headset
get some kind of optical portable or device
re-organise places I go (I carry a phone headset about, and in one office I keep a cheap pair of Logitech wired speakers. Some places have Apple TVs.)
something else I haven't seen yet
Any ideas about pros and cons? (I don't have much money to spend and hope to avoid the expensive options above. I have time, but want to explore more options before opening the case.)