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Can check if the battery is low ... or is not (or cannot) holding a good charge ... when you unplug it (from the charger) ... when this happens ?
If that is the case, it may "freeze" while it is busy trying to store the contents of your memory before it shuts down (or hibernates). Does it shut down (or goes into hibernate if you let it continue to "freeze") for a while ? If so, then it's your battery.
If the battery doesn't hold a good charge, the laptop will run only a short time (while unplugged) before it has to shut down due to low battery. And if this is the case, consider getting a replacement (new) battery. And follow the initial charging instructions (for a new battery) to lengthen the life of the battery.
Check for volume control to see if muted or on low volume.
If still not working, check if there is any other audio peripheral connected, like headphones, speakers, or bluetooth headphones which may take over the audio if still connected.
Have you tried restarting the computer? Not hibernating or in sleep mode
Otherwise sound driver might be an issue. Reinstalling the driver may fix the problem.
If all fails, it can be that the sound card or speaker might have failed.
I have seen this issue before with my T60. It seemed to be related to not having restarted my laptop in a while. I used to use hibernate rather than shutting down my laptop for weeks at a time. Actually restarting my laptop seemed to get hibernate to work again.
In addition, you can check to see if for some reason the hibernate option has been disabled.
In Win XP (Win 7 is very similar):
Click Start and select Control Panel.
Double-click Power Options.
On the Hibernate Tab, ensure Enable hibernation is selected (check mark).
On the Advanced Tab, ensure that the setting for When I close the Lid is set to Hibernate (select it from the drop-down list if necessary). There should be an option for when plugged in and when on battery. Set both to your preference.
Before going to any shops, here is a suggestion that can't hurt anything.
Go to the Control Panel and click on Sounds and Audio Devices. On the Volume tab at the bottom, you will see "Speaker Settings". Click on the Advanced button. Change that setting to "Stereo headphones". You should hear the sound only through the headphones then.