What is Latency in Bluetooth Headphones? 3 Tips To Reduce Latency

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Bluetooth has allowed you to watch your favorite team on a bigger screen by connecting your headphones, but then you notice that your team has won the match, and the whole stadium is in an uproar.

You saw that everybody was screaming, and you started it a little late because your headphones took their quality time reaching your ears, leading to a delay in receiving the audio at your end. Yeah, that was sad, but have you ever wondered when and why that happened?

Probably, no. Because ‘Oh, I could hear the sound a little late, let me get another pair of headphones’ is the solution to all your headphone problems.

If I were you, I would use the damn thing to my money’s worth and ensure that I take care of it so it doesn’t happen again.

The difference you experience in your headphones’ sound is called ‘latency’ or ‘lag.

Latency is highly annoying and might result in a frustrated slang session for your computer without it being at fault.

There are various reasons why your headphone’s audio is lagging. It might be because of incompatible Bluetooth devices, distance, outdated drivers, or Bluetooth versions.

What is Latency, and What Causes It?

What is Latency, and What Causes It

Latency, in simpler words, is the time an audio takes to travel to your headphones from the destination. Though it should be as promptly as the audio plays, and that is why the difference in the time when the audio is played to the time it gets to the headphone is called latency.

As mentioned earlier, latency can be caused by long distance, device compatibility, outdated drivers, or Bluetooth versions. However, with every update, Bluetooth is upgrading itself with the upgrading technology to meet up to the user’s expectations, and yet somewhere, something is lagging that makes us want more and better.

Yes, waiting could be the better option, but I believe we should make the best use of the resources in hand rather than switching to better from time to time.

Let us discuss briefly what causes latency.

Long Distance

Long Distance

Previous versions of Bluetooth have been a little slower, but thanks to Jaap Haartsen, newer versions have been quite an improvement and are easy to use, pair and bear.

Bluetooth version 4 had you moving to a limited area, i.e., 60 meters (200 feet), while the updated version 5 allows you to move around four times the previous distance, i.e., 240 meters (800 feet). However, your device might not have the latest Bluetooth version.

How to Know Your Device’s Bluetooth Version?

How to Know Your Device’s Bluetooth Version?

Knowing the Bluetooth version might help identify why your headphone is lagging.

If you abide by the procedure below, you’ll be able to know the Bluetooth version of your device.

  • Turn on the device’s Bluetooth either by pulling down the notification panel or going to settings.
  • In the phone settings, tap on ‘App’ and then ‘Select all’.
  • Scroll down until you find Bluetooth.
  • There, you’ll see “app info’ which will serve the purpose.

If the above steps do not work for you, you can simply go to the ‘Phone settings’ on your mobile, and in the ‘About phone’ section, scroll down to ‘All specs’, where you’ll find the Bluetooth version mentioned.

Incompatible Bluetooth Devices

No matter the upgrade, newer Bluetooth versions are always compatible with the older ones.

However, if you’re connecting the devices with two different Bluetooth versions, know that you’ll be able to benefit from the lower version only.

Hence, to have maximum efficiency, you gotta have both devices with the same Bluetooth versions.

Outdated Drivers

We haven’t paid much attention to it, but outdated drivers might be a reason for audio latency. Not just that, my Bluetooth headphones didn’t work at all because of the outdated drivers.

So, it’s important that we keep a check on that. This article will help you in updating outdated drivers.

Bluetooth Versions

We’ve already discussed the Bluetooth versions. There has been a drastic change in the limited distance that Bluetooth could work on. Ranging from 10 meters to 240 meters, the change is worth a mark.

Although Bluetooth has been making our lives easier by giving us the freedom to move about the house without missing the latest updates, everything has limitations.

The limitations of Bluetooth include the distance, which Jaap Haartsen is working on, and the other and of utmost importance is that Bluetooth versions can not be updated just like any other app or Operating System.

You will have to bear with whatever Bluetooth version your system comes with or just switch to a new device that has Bluetooth 5.0; there’s no third way.

Tips To Reduce Latency

Here are 3 tips for reducing latency.

Using Wired Headphones

The best and the most economical solution for this is – to use wired headphones. Trust me, and it’s way better and cheaper. No matter what top Brands you purchase headphones from, there is no guarantee that they won’t lag.

However, with wired headphones, you can be sure they won’t lag unless the problem lies with your system or whichever device you’ve connected it with.

Yeah, I understand that you’ve fallen once because the wires were all messy, and since then, you switched to wireless, but that’s okay; it happens.

The other possible solution if the injury was pretty bad and you don’t want to switch back to wired headphones is that you can reduce the distance between the device you’re connected to and the place you’re sitting at.

Besides, if the distance is just appropriate, let me tell you that if you’ve got metal nearby, that is what is weakening the Bluetooth signal. Not only metals, furniture, brick walls, and glass panels also have a role to play in your distorted sound listening experience.

Ensuring the Bluetooth Codec Matches On Both Devices

Ensuring the Bluetooth Codec Matches On Both Devices

Selecting the right codec can be a straightaway solution to a No-latency sound experience. However, that requires a bit of mind play.

What is a codec anyway? When you connect two devices together, one of them sends the audio signal while the other receives it, acting as the transmitter and the receiver. So, this process involves encoding, compressing, and decompressing the said audio signal, which, when put to proper use, can give an excellent listening experience.

There will be a lag if the codec on both devices doesn’t match. This forces them to switch to the SBC codec, which is the most basic Bluetooth codec. This could be why you’re experiencing lag.

Reconnecting Your Headphones

Last but not least, merely disconnecting and reconnecting your device may solve many of the problems.

Though it seems simple, it has been observed that when the device is properly inserted and connected to the transmitter and the receiver, it solves most of the problems because, most of the time, we’re in a rush and leave half-inserted USBs in the ports.


Despite the latency, we all know we would willingly switch to wireless since, as humans, we go for easy things.

Wireless headphones are easy to handle and easy to connect. Besides, it does not require you to detangle your headphone wires before starting the game or a music session.

Oh, how could I forget? It also allows you to run to your mum when she is furious about your gaming addiction without tumbling over the jumbled wires and getting yourself injured, giving your mum yet another reason to injure you with her bare hands.