If you're struggling to hear the audio in Windows, here's how to make sure all your volume levels are set to maximum, as well as how to enable loudness to increase the maximum volume to make your speakers or headphones louder. (See also: Best headphones under £50)
In Windows 8 there are two ways to change the overall volume. You can bring up the charms bar by swiping in from the right, or by pressing Win-C on your keyboard. Tap Settings, then you'll see a speaker icon at the bottom. Tap on this to set the main system volume slider bar. Tapping on the speaker icon at the top of the bar mutes and unmutes the sound.
On a tablet, there should be volume buttons on one of the edge which controls this level directly.
The second way to change the volume in Windows 8 is to click the speaker icon next to the clock in the system tray. The slider is the same as the one found via the charms bar, but there's also a Mixer link which you can click to set the volume in individual applications. Only those which are currently open will be shown.
If you're watching a YouTube or other video in your browser, also make sure the volume within the video player itself is set to maximum.
To increase the volume more, tap the Windows button to go to the Start screen and type audio. This will bring up a list of results: click on Manage audio devices.
You'll see a window like the one below (on the left) which shows the Playback devices. Select the one currently being used, then click the Properties button.
Another window will open (above, right) and you need to click on the Enhancements tab to see the Loudness Equalization option. Tick this, click Apply, then OK.
You might find other options - depending on your sound card - such as Equaliser which let you increase the volume further.
Windows: Other ways to increase volume
If you find your laptop or tablet speakers still aren't loud enough after trying all these tips, there are other things you can do. For example, you can buy external speakers which connect to your device's headphone output. Or, if it has Bluetooth, a wireless Bluetooth speaker can be a convenient way to boost volume.