Why does my audio keep fading out?

The problem of audio fading in and out can be very frustrating. It’s when the volume level of audio from your computer speakers, headphones, or other playback devices fluctuates, getting louder and quieter randomly. There are a few common culprits for this issue:

  • Faulty cables, ports, or headphone connections causing incomplete transfers of the audio signal
  • Interference from other electronic devices disrupting the signal
  • Issues with audio drivers, software, or operating system resources struggling to process the audio smoothly
  • Power supply problems preventing stable voltage delivery to audio components

In this article, we’ll explore these potential reasons in more depth, along with troubleshooting steps to resolve your fading audio problems.

Faulty Audio Cable

A damaged audio cable with frayed, loose, or broken internal wires is the most common cause of audio fading in and out. Fraying, loose connections, or broken wires on your audio cable can generate poor connections that cause intermittent audio loss and fade “Why Is My Audio Fading In And Out? (Find out now)”. Issues like bent contacts, wires coming unsoldered, or loose connections cause high resistance connections that fade the audio “RCA cables gone bad?”.

Signs of a faulty audio cable include audio cutting out when the cable is moved or jiggled, visual fraying or damage to the cable insulation, loss of audio in one channel, or both channels randomly fading out. Check all connections, then visually inspect your cables for damage.

Replace any visibly damaged cables. Swap cables to test if the issue is with a specific cable. Use high quality, well shielded cables suitable for your audio setup. Secure all connections properly and relieve cable strain with ties, conduits or cable management accessories.


Electromagnetic interference (EMI), also called radio frequency interference (RFI), occurs when electromagnetic emissions interfere with an audio signal. This can cause audio distortions, loss of quality, or fading (source).

EMI is caused by electromagnetic waves emitted by electronics that are picked up and amplified by an audio system. Common EMI sources include:

  • Microwave ovens
  • WiFi networks
  • Bluetooth devices
  • Cell phones
  • Fluorescent lighting

To reduce the chance of EMI, follow these tips:

  • Keep audio equipment away from potential EMI sources
  • Use shielded audio cables
  • Plug all devices into the same power circuit
  • Use a ferrite choke or EMI filter on cables

Proper positioning and grounding of equipment can prevent the audible effects of EMI, allowing clear audio signal transmission.

Damaged Speakers or Headphones

One possible cause of intermittent or fading audio is physical damage to your speakers or headphones. Issues like loose connections, frayed wires, corrosion, or cracks and tears to the speaker cones can all disrupt the audio signal and lead to cutting out or fading.

You’ll typically notice crackling sounds and audio drop-offs for fractions of a second if your speakers or headphones are physically damaged.

If there are visible signs of wear and tear, the only real fix is to replace the affected speakers or headphones. For minor issues, you may be able to resolder loose connections on some speaker types or repair frayed wires and cords. But once speaker cones and connections are physically degraded, replacement is usually needed to restore clean and consistent audio.

Proximity to Electronic Devices

Electronic devices like TVs, phones, and laptops can produce electromagnetic interference that causes audio issues. Many electronics contain magnets, transformers, or transmit wireless signals that can disrupt or distort audio if positioned too closely to speakers or headphones (source).

To minimize interference, keep at least several feet of distance between the devices. Alternate device placement to move magnets or antennas farther away from the audio signal path. If possible, place speakers and headphones on a different surface from electronic devices.

In extreme cases of persistent interference, further solutions may be needed like moving devices to another room, using ferrite chokes, shielding cables, or getting speakers/headphones with better shielding.

Software and Driver Issues

A common cause of audio issues is outdated or corrupt audio drivers. Old audio drivers often do not work properly with the latest operating system and app updates, resulting in audio problems like fade outs.

To fix the issue, first try updating your audio drivers to the latest available version. You can find audio driver updates through the device manufacturer website or Windows update. If updating drivers does not resolve the problem, you may need to uninstall and reinstall the drivers. Follow the steps for your specific device to completely remove old drivers before installing the latest.

In some cases, you may need support from the manufacturer if driver updates fail to fix continued audio problems. Check their website for audio troubleshooting steps and support contact options. Provide details on when the issue occurs and what steps you’ve tried already when speaking with tech support.

System Resource Problems

Audio issues like fading in and out can occur due to competition for system resources. If you have a lot of programs and services open at once, they may consume so much CPU, RAM, and bandwidth that there isn’t enough leftover for adequate audio playback. Audio files require RAM and bandwidth for buffering and decoding on top of the CPU needed for processing, so when those other programs are hogging resources, the audio will struggle and eventually fade out as it runs out of the limited leftover.

One solution is to close programs you don’t need running to free up system resources. In particular, close programs or browser tabs actively playing video or eating up bandwidth with streaming audio or real-time updates. That frees up RAM and bandwidth needed for your audio playback. Give priority to the audio application so it can properly buffer and playback. If fading still occurs, it may be time to upgrade your computer’s RAM or CPU so your system can handle more open applications without lag or starving out some services.

To find out exactly which programs or processes are currently consuming the most resources, open the Task Manager in Windows (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) and go to the Processes tab. Sort by CPU or Memory to see the biggest resource hogs.

Power Issues

One potential cause of audio fading in and out is low power being delivered to your audio devices, like speakers or headphones. This can happen if the batteries powering your audio gear are running low and unable to provide consistent power. Try replacing the batteries with a fresh set to see if that resolves the issue. If you’re using rechargeable batteries, make sure they are fully charged.

For external speakers, headphones, or other audio devices powered via USB, the USB port on your computer may not be supplying enough consistent power. This can lead to the audio fading out when power draws spike. Using a powered USB hub can provide a more steady and sufficient power supply to your USB audio gear, preventing power-related audio cutouts.

Checking these potential power issues can help stabilize an inconsistent audio signal and stop your sound from fading in and out.

Faulty Audio Source

One potential cause of audio fading in and out is a faulty or low quality audio source. Audio sources like music or video files that are encoded at a very low bitrate may fade in and out as the file struggles to maintain consistent audio quality. Trying switching to a higher quality audio source as a test. If the fading goes away, then the issue was likely the low bitrate encoding of the original file [1].

Likewise, the fading could occur when switching between audio sources, like going from music to a video then back to music. Each source may have different encoding or playback settings that cause brief fading during transitions. Try sticking with one high quality audio source and see if the fading still happens.

Finally, inspect your playback device and cables/connections to rule out any damage contributing to a faulty audio signal. Swap out cables, try different devices, clean connectors, etc. If you isolate the issue to a faulty source device, you may need to repair or replace it.


In this article, we covered several causes for audio fading out: damaged cables or connections, interference, issues with the speakers or headphones themselves, limited system resources, problematic drivers, and power issues. We also explored solutions to address each of these root causes like replacing faulty hardware, minimizing wireless interference, updating software and drivers, resolving resource constraints, and providing stable power.

To diagnose and fix fading audio, first check your cables and connections, then try isolating the issue by using alternate hardware and simplifying your overall configuration. If issues persist in a minimal setup, update or reinstall audio drivers. For interference, identify and move away from other wireless sources. Finally, inspect all audio components for physical damage and ensure ample computer resources.

With some diligent troubleshooting and process of elimination, you should be able to resolve your fading audio issue. Don’t hesitate to seek additional help online or contact technical support if problems continue. With the right solution applied, you can get back to enjoying glitch-free audio playback.

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