Bluetooth headphones are known for the comfort and freedom of movement they provide. Aren’t they? Why then do they cut out when running, working out at the gym, or making a sharp movement?
After spending huge money on expensive Bluetooth headphones, it isn’t what you expect to experience. Did you? Perhaps, you bought a cheaper one.
I am just kidding!
Expensive and cheap Bluetooth headphones both sometimes stutter due to several reasons. However, you’ll likely experience more Bluetooth glitching if you use a cheaper one.
In this article, I share the principal reason for this cause. Other causes aside from cheaper Bluetooth headphone issues are also provided.
Let’s cut to the chase.
Reasons Why Bluetooth Headphones Keep Cutting Out
Poor quality audio signal, either from the transmitter or to the receiver of Bluetooth headphones, is the principal cause for why they keep cutting out. The quality of the signal is affected by several factors, including but not limited to the following:
1. Radio frequency interference
2. Dislocated or blocked line of sight
3. Out of range of Bluetooth signal
4. Obstructions to transmission
5. Clock drift or processing errors
6. Simultaneous Bluetooth connections
7. Low battery
8. Outdated software or firmware
9. Hardware failure
Irrespective of the expensiveness of your Bluetooth headphone, you’ll likely experience a stutter when the signal strength drops due to some of these factors.
Radio Frequency Interference
Bluetooth is an electromagnetic wave whose radio frequency ranges between 2.4 GHz and 2.485 GHz. Unfortunately, the 2.4 GHz band is prone to interference from other electronic devices that operate in a similar range.
You may experience stuttering of Bluetooth headphones when they are in range with electronic devices such as microwaves, cordless telephones, baby monitors, wireless keyboards and mice, smart power meters, radars, garage doors, and video senders.
In addition, devices with WiFi technologies, such as video game consoles, smart TVs, laptops, desktops, tablets, cars, digital audio players, and modern printers, interrupt with Bluetooth signal causing glitches in connectivity.
Have you ever noticed how your Bluetooth headphone stutters when you come close to your microwave? Pay particular attention to it.
How about your Bluetooth headphones cutting out on pc or laptop? Studies have shown that USB 3.0 computer standard cable radiates noise into the 2.4 GHz band, hampering the receiver’s sensitivity in nearby Bluetooth headphones. As a result, the headphones stutter or glitch.
The noise impact on the broadband is addressed by shielding the noise effect from USB 3.0 peripheral devices.
The attached video illustrates how USB 3.0 affects Bluetooth devices connected to the same computer and how to deal with it.
How do you then overcome radio frequency interferences?
The simplest approach is to stay away from devices that operate in the same band or turn them off. Sometimes you can unpair devices in your host history that your device prioritizes in connection whenever you come into close contact.
If you’re going for a new Bluetooth headphone, you may want to buy one with new Bluetooth versions with adaptive frequency hopping. They avoid interference by negotiating a channel for a smooth operation.
Dislocated or Blocked Line of Sight
Bluetooth needs consistent radio frequency signal strength traveling through the antenna receiver of your Bluetooth headphone for a strong connection.
The headphone audio mutes once the signal strength drops due to something blocking the line of sight of the Bluetooth signal, eventually cutting out the connection.
Do you experience your Bluetooth headphone cutting out during running or working at the gym? The reason could be that your body blocks the line of sight of the Bluetooth signal to the headphone receiver due to rigorous movement.
A typical example from a forum: “This has often happened to me when using a Bluetooth headset with the receiver on the right ear, and the transmitting device (my phone) was in my left pants pocket. This means the signal needs to pass through my body to reach the headset basically, and as it happens, the human body blocks Bluetooth signals pretty effectively.”
This typical example is resolved by putting the transmitting device (his phone) in his right pants pocket on the same side as the headset receiver.
The underlying reason is that the headphones’ receiver antenna is oriented only in one direction. Hence, when you move or turn your head into the line of sight to the receiver, the signal gets swamped up, causing the connection to cut out.
Cheaper Bluetooth headphones with this design face this problem. Most decent Bluetooth headphones have “omnidirectional” (from-all-directions) reception, preventing signal strengths’ dropouts. Buy such Bluetooth headphones.
The simplest way is to remove any object in the signals’ line of sight or ensure your Bluetooth headphone receiver is on the same side as your transmitting device (for example, your phone).
Out of range of Bluetooth Signal
The Bluetooth technology in its base implementation typically operates within 33 ft (10 m). Therefore, Bluetooth headphones can maintain a connection at this maximum distance.
Experiencing a cut out in your connection could be that you’re outside the maximum distance your Bluetooth headphone can operate smoothly.
However, devices with powerful transceivers can have longer ranges in their usage. This also comes down to the quality of the Bluetooth headphones you’re using.
You sure can’t expect cheaper Bluetooth headphones to have the top-notch features to enjoy the freedom of wire entanglement you need.
Besides the Bluetooth headphones cutting out when you’re at a distance beyond its operating range, other things can swamp up the signal to the headphones’ receiver.
Although Bluetooth can pass through structures like walls, furniture, or even human bodies, the signal quality gets affected irrespective of the quality of the Bluetooth headphones.
However, some Bluetooth headphones do better than others with obstructions. I’ve experimented with other Bluetooth devices that functioned normally, even with two solid walls between the transmitter and the device.
With your Bluetooth headphones on you, move away from your transmitter with a wall in between gradually to see if audio sound quality drops. If it doesn’t, then it’s likely from a hardware issue.
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Clock Drift or Processing Errors
Infrequent stuttering can be experienced with your Bluetooth headphones when they have a clock drift issue. This happens when the transmission time and acquisition time by your receiver in the headphones are not synchronized.
The transmitter and receiver clocks ever actually run at the same speed because they don’t use atomic clocks in their design. Therefore, manufacturers use smart algorithms to resolve it by making imperceptible changes to adjust for differences in clock speeds.
It is achieved in Bluetooth headphones receiver by dedicating a large enough memory of jitter buffer to compensate for the “jagged” delivery of audio samples for seamless Bluetooth connections.
You can’t do much as a user to resolve this issue if that is the cause of the problem since it’s software or hardware related. However, perhaps a driver update of your Bluetooth headphones can resolve this.
Other than that, you have to buy better Bluetooth headphones.
Simultaneous Bluetooth Connections
Multipoint Bluetooth connections can sometimes reduce the signal quality received by Bluetooth headphones. For example, if your transmitter (let’s say your smartphone) is connected to your car and Bluetooth headphones, there could be communication conflicts.
When such instances occur, the infrequent discontinuities can drop the quality of the audio signal received by your Bluetooth headphone antenna.
So you want to avoid simultaneous Bluetooth connection if that’s how you’re using your headphones.
When the battery of the Bluetooth hosting device (e.g., smartphone) is on low battery, the device tries to stay alive by balancing its battery performance.
This could put a low priority on your Bluetooth headphone connection. As a result, audio signal quality drops which may cause them to cut out.
Ensure that your transmitting device has enough battery to maintain robust connections. You can monitor your transmitting device to see the battery level at which sound quality goes bad.
Likewise, your Bluetooth headphones will stutter when their battery is out of juice and eventually disconnects.
Outdated Software or Firmware
Although Bluetooth versions are backward compatible, lower versions can affect signal quality if the audio codecs are substandard for better sound.
For example, your Bluetooth headphone with Bluetooth version 5.0 can connect with a device with Bluetooth 4.0. However, your Bluetooth headphone 5.0 would have to work with the transmitting device on Bluetooth 4.0 version.
This may come with other software support that may affect the connectivity. As a result, the sound quality may be hindered, causing a cutting out sometimes.
Bluetooth connection cutting out could be caused by a malfunction in the hardware. For example, a breakup in the circuit of the Bluetooth headphone can affect maintaining a connection for audio streaming.
If you experience stuttering after your headphone hit a hard surface, then there’s damage in the headphone causing that.
In addition, jitter buffers used to resolve clock drift issues are done at the manufacturer level, particularly static jitter buffers.
Hence, the hardware of your Bluetooth headphone may deliver a quality signal if an efficient algorithm is coded into the components to deal with different clock times.
Buying quality Bluetooth headphones is the best way to deal with such cases.
Additional Tips To Fix Bluetooth Headphones Keep Cutting Out
Suppose the cause of the glitching in your Bluetooth headphones falls beyond the ones shared above, you can try the additional fixes below.
They should help you get around your problem, provided there are no defects on the manufacturer’s level.
Reset Network Settings
This approach may be uncommon, but it could save you the disconnecting wahala. It’s more like letting your hosting device forget any connection history with your Bluetooth headphones.
Note that this is not the same as resetting your transmitting device like your smartphone. It’s resetting the network to give you a new start for your Bluetooth connection.
The Bluetooth connection resetting can be done for both smartphones and computers. I’ve shared videos in both cases.
Here’s what another user shared from his case:
“Same thing was happening with my headphones for months. I tried a few things, but none worked. The solution was to reset the network settings on my phone. This cleared out all previously saved Bluetooth device settings and the Wi-Fi connection settings (no phone data is cleared). Once that was done, I paired my Bluetooth headphones to my phone. I never had a connection issue between the headphones and phone again.”
Perhaps your situation could be similar to this person so try it when other solutions seem to fail. Below is a video to guide you for Bluetooth network resetting on mobile phones.
For a laptop, following the tutorial below can resolve the issue for you.
There you have your fix. If this doesn’t work for you, you may want to check out the next fixing tip.
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Uncheck “Turn off this device to save power”
This tip works for laptops or pcs. If your Bluetooth headphones keep disconnecting even when you try different headphones, then it could be from the settings at device manager.
Follow the following steps to solve it:
- Select “Device Manager” after right-clicking on your start button or using “Win + x” to open up a context menu.
2. Expand the Bluetooth node in the Device Manager menu to see drop-down choices. Choose the model of your Bluetooth radio (it’s commonly “Intel(R) Wireless Bluetooth(R)”). As you can see in the screenshot, it’s Intel in this example. To access its attributes, double-click on it.
3. Select “Power Management” from the tabs. “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” should be unchecked. Then press “ok.”
Completing this task should resolve the constant cutting out of your Bluetooth headphones. This also works with other Bluetooth devices like mice, speakers, and keyboards.
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Anytime your Bluetooth headphones keep cutting out, your first thought should be what’s affecting the signal to the headphones’ receiver. This viewpoint brings into focus several factors, such as:
- Radio Frequency Interference
- Dislocated or Blocked Line of Sight
- Out of range of Bluetooth signal
- Obstructions to transmission
- Clock drift or processing errors/
- Simultaneous Bluetooth connections
- Low battery
- Outdated software or firmware
- Hardware Failure
These will help you diagnose the problem as fast as possible, as shared in the article. Did you get your disconnection problem fixed?
Let me know what your issue was and which of the solutions worked for you in the comment. Kindly share to help a friend.