I'm running XUbuntu 16.04. Previously I had speakers connected to analog line-out, and sound would automatically switch over to headphones when they were plugged in. This was all happening on one output device (motherboard audio).

I've now got a new monitor with built-in speakers, but no analog connection, so I'm getting audio over DisplayPort from my Radeon R9 270. I'd like pulseaudio to switch existing streams and new streams to the headphone port on the motherboard audio when I plug in the headphones, and back to the DP audio port on the GPU device when I unplug them again.

I've tried using pactl load-module module-switch-on-connect, but it doesn't seem to have any effect, presumably because plugging in the headphones doesn't create a new sink, only a new port.

I know from reading other questions that I can do this manually with pactl/pacmd invocation and I'll do that if I have to, but I'd much prefer to have this happen automatically. I don't mind if I have to do some scripting to do it, but is there a hook I can intercept to get a call when the headphones are connected or disconnected?

1 Answer 1


I figured out a solution thanks to this discussion and paswitch. In summary, acpid can be used to hook the headphone plug/unplug events.

I created the following files:


action=/etc/acpi/headphone-jack.sh %e

/etc/acpi/headphone-jack.sh (remember to make it executable):

set -e -u

if [ "$1" = "jack/headphone" -a "$2" = "HEADPHONE" ]; then
    case "$3" in
    for userdir in /run/user/*; do
        uid="$(basename $userdir)"
        user="$(id -un $uid)"
        if [ -f "$userdir/pulse/pid" ]; then
            PULSE_RUNTIME_PATH="$userdir/pulse" su "$user" -c "paswitch $sink"

The sinks naturally need to be updated depending on your system.

I'm not sure how robust the script is to an actual multi-user system, but it works for me.

  • I'd use sink priority for that. Without need to add hooks to acpi.
    – Alexander
    Dec 25, 2018 at 23:23
  • @Alexander can you explain where sink priorities can be set? There is /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/paths but think this has to do with port, not sink priorities.
    – laur
    Jul 2, 2021 at 16:07

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