Sound icon is greyed out at start up (though sound can be heard); only workaround found so far: plugging in/out earphone, then sound icon is reactivated

On my new MacBook Pro / Lion, Sound icon is greyed out at start up, as well as the output volume in System Preferences (though sound can be heard, you just can't change the volume); only workaround found so far: plugging in/out earphone, then sound icon is reactivated.
Do you have any idea? Concurrent access to sound output from another software? (Skype, Growl...?)
PS: in Windows 7 / bootcamp, volume settings work perfectly from start up
Many thanks,

Hi macwzrd, I followed your procedure and... IT WORKS!! I rebooted several times now, and I still have a true black sound icon in the menu bar. So the issue seems to be fixed, thanks!
BUT now, _coreaudiod process is taking *much* of my cpu resources (136 coreaudiod _coreaudiod 114,7 5 3,4 MB Intel (64 bit)) and the fan keeps turning on and on like mad... 
Any ideas on how to stop this strange behaviour?

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