No audio. sound icon suddenly grayed out

A week or so after installing the Yosemite update, my macbook air went totally silent. The sound icon grayed out and the sound buttons show up a cross sign and there is basically no sound. Went to sound preferences and there is nothing in the output and input sections and the mute box is ticked and grey(can't be changed). What to do? this is ridiculous!

If there's a red light visible in the headphone socket, it indicates that the leaf switch is stuck. The leaf is pushed aside by the headphone jack as it's inserted and cuts off sound to the internal speakers.
Try inserting and removing the headphone plug a few (dozen) times.
If that doesn't work, you can attempt to tease the switch back with a non-conducting probe (plastic toothpick or similar).
And be careful; the leaf is fragile and it's an expensive bit to get to and replace, in fact on some models it's directly on the logic board.
Not sure how true it is, but at least one correspondent claims to have fixed it by cleaning the red laser with a Q-tip, on the theory that dirt on the end may fool the system into thinking a jack is inserted. Not convinced myself, but no harm trying it if you can't sort it the other way.

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