Is there any memory/handle leak if I don’t use Release for COM object

  atl, c++, com, multithreading, windows

I have a multithread COM application which uses WASAPI IAudioClient. I create the client in the main thread and read the audio data in a child thread. The audio client is declared as a class member:

CComPtr<IAudioClient>       audioClient;

On changing the audio devices (like unplugging headphones) I want to activate another audio client but using the same COM object, so I call Activate on the same COM object for the audio client:

HRESULT hr = mmDevice->Activate( __uuidof(IAudioClient), CLSCTX_ALL, NULL, (void**)&audioClient );

If I don’t release the object before activating a new one, I obviously get this assert in Debug:
enter image description here

Because I need to have a null COM variable before creating a new object, I get it. But if I use audioClient.Release() before that Activate function, my application hangs right on releasing.

I’m ok with having that assert (moreover, it’s only in Debug). But the question is can I just create a new object without releasing the old one, will it introduce any leaks or something? Or should I release the object somehow differently to avoid hanging?

Source: Windows Questions