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speaker/headphones (realtek high definition audio (sst)) producing a high pitch squeal

HP Recommended
Spectre x360 Convertible 15
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

Just recently my laptop started making a high pitched squeal (with crackling) when using speaker/headphones (realtek high definition audio (sst)) audio setting. This happens on start up, or with a notification, and when I attempt to play music; no other sound is made just the same high pitched squeal. It lasts for a few seconds but always the same amount of time, too long to be a notification ping but way too short to be the start up sound or music. This leads me to believe its an audio input issue and not faulty hardware like a blown speaker... although this just might blow the speaker if its not fixed soon. 


I updated to 2021-03 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 20H2 for x64-based Systems but it didn't solve the problem. I checked all other drivers but they are all up to date. Please help!

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