What does Gaming Headset Latency Mean?

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated October 26, 2022

If gaming sessions are your pastime of choice, you’ve likely wondered, “What does gaming headset latency mean?” Latency is an interchangeable term for lag.


  • Latency is just lag, which severely affects hundreds of games. The only reasonable choice for gaming is to lower latency as much as possible.
  • Low-latency Bluetooth ensures quality sound during the audio conversion, especially with a low-latency AptX codec. Avoid any compatible device with 16-bit audio.
  • Fixing problems with latency are easy and will make audio sound fantastic in gaming mode.

Every gamer understands lag as the worst thing about their gaming experience, but it affects more than just graphics. Even if you have the best gaming headset, there’s always a chance of encountering audio lag.

Keep in mind, that this has nothing to do with how to wear a gaming headset or the driver size of a gaming headset. The lag on a headset is the same as internet latency while gaming online.

Keep reading to learn how gaming headset latency affects your game and how you can maintain a stable connection and lag-free transmission.

How Audio Latency Affects Game Audio Performance

Sound quality can make or break your audio experience. A wired headset provides an instant analog audio signal, so there is almost always a low impact on latency.

However, wireless headsets are known for struggling with a high-latency connection. This causes a drop in sound quality. There are several reasons for this, including the usage of low-latency Bluetooth.

Insider Tip

The Nintendo Switch can pair with almost any type of headset.

The Average Latency for Audio Devices

Multiple factors have an impact on latency. You want to stay around 100ms, but this isn’t always possible due to factors out of your control.

Generally, these are the ranges you can expect:

Low Latency:80ms latency
Average Latency:100ms of latency
Above Average Latency:200ms of latency
High Latency:324ms of latency

Understanding more about the controls at your disposal will help you navigate any type of game system. So, start by asking, “What are gaming headset controls?

Checking for Latency Issues

The best way to check for high latency is to plug in your over-ear headphones and check the audio quality. Keep in mind that low battery life will increase latency, so make sure your battery is fully charged if using a wireless model.

Also, ensure background noise is low. Otherwise, any ambient sound will interfere with checking the game’s audio performance.

You can also look into your bandwidth and check the performance of your router. Some tricks help bring back robust audio transmission if you’re not receiving high-quality sound.

Fixing Audio Latency in Wireless Gaming Headsets

There are a few ways to achieve a stable connection and lag-free transmission. Poor set-up, connectivity issues, and more could be to blame.

Here are some steps you can take to resolve a high-latency connection for wireless headsets:

  • Always use a Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connection.
  • Make sure your wireless connectivity isn’t weak.
  • Switch to a wired connection with wired headphones.

Troubleshooting is a common choice for gamers experiencing problems with connected devices. For example, the question “What if your gaming headset doesn’t work on Xbox One?” has several solutions you can carry out yourself.


Multiple issues lead to lag, which causes a time difference between what happens in the game and what you’re able to perceive.


Does Bluetooth 5.0 have an impact on latency?

Using Bluetooth 5.0 is the best way to ensure solid wireless connectivity with your wireless earbuds or headset. Wireless connectivity before Bluetooth 5.0 will have a weaker wireless signal.

Which wireless earbuds and headphones have high-latency Bluetooth?

Several models feature Bluetooth 5.0, ensuring your wireless solution won’t ruin your sound quality. Look specifically for wireless headphones that have Bluetooth 5.0.

Will latency affect my gaming session?

All aspects of your listening experience depend on high sample rates for audio files, which translates to low latency. Latency is vital whether you’re recording sounds or listening to virtual surround sound.

What is an audio codec?

Every common codec does the same thing. They decode digital audio files and then encode them to keep audio in sync for your listening enjoyment.

STAT: During the 1940s and 1950s, computers took up entire rooms and were so expensive that only universities and large companies could afford them. (source)

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