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Media sound stops but controls still continue when a notification is received

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by RHaggard, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. RHaggard

    RHaggard Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I have recently started having problems with keeping sound coming from my phone to by Bluetooth headset.

    Basic symptoms: While listening to VLC (or Audible or Chirp) with a Bluetooth headset (This happens with multiple headsets, not just one) when a notification from Life 360, Outlook or some other application sounds a notification. After the notification completes audio tends to disconnect but otherwise the Bluetooth headset maintains it connection with the phone. During the notification an app tells me what just happened ("SMS Message from 123-456-7890. Ducks are all in a row.") or ("@Life360. Andrew has left work.") or for Outlook a simple sound is played. Previously, after the event completed its notification, the previously executing media application would resume audio. This stopped about a week or two ago. Now the audio does not resume. Connection with the Bluetooth headset is still in effect (Stop and Start buttons still work) but not volume up or down (normally, one sees a volume indicator in response to up/down but not after the loss of audio). The phone is a Galaxy S9+. This happens with multiple Bluetooth headsets, a Bth240, Bose and JBL headsets. Sometimes a simple Stop and Start command restores audio but not usually. Sometimes going to a different audio application works but not usually. Turning off the headset and turning it back on usually works but not always.

    The app that converts SMS to speech is Read It To Me 2.0. It was installed more than a year ago. I do not know if it has updated lately but given that the problem happens on both TTS and chime notifications it does not seem likely to be the primary issue.

    A few weeks back I installed the Windows application that links a phone with Windows 10. It worked without issue. It was uninstalled a few days ago but that didn't seem to make the issue any better.

    Outlook is my primary email. I have Outlook on both my phone and laptop. Incoming email seems to induce the audio disable pretty reliably. When an email comes in my laptop displays a notification and my phone's audio stops.

    Note: While entering this missive just had a Smartnews notification arrive while listening to VLC. This notification sounded a chime with no voice. While the chime sounded VLC continued playing (although at a reduced level) and was still playing after the notification finished.

    Note: Just had an email notification come in. The sound in this case was just sound, no text to speech, and audio failed to resume. VLC is still playing but the music is not making it to the headset. On the phone, I touched the Stop button then the Start. Audio did not resume. On the headset did the same. Audio did not resume. Headset volume up and down are not effective. The headset beeps when the up/down buttons are pushed. Pressing the volume up on the phone works and the audio level indicator is displayed. I pushed the Play button on the phone out of desperation and, surprisingly, audio resumed.

    Note: Just had a @Life360 notification come in. While the notification was being announced the sound level of the audio channel was reduced but did not stop. After the notification completed VLC's volume was restored and it continued playing. I would have expected VLC to have paused during the announcement.

    Note: Another email received. Sound played as a notification and audio stopped. Sound up and down on the phone. The phone indicated that it increased and then decreased volume. Pressed Start button on VLC. Audio did not resume. Stop and Start button on headset. Audio did not resume. Volume up and down on headset still an 'illegal' command as indicated by the error beep when up or down button is pressed. As far as VLC is concerned, it is still playing the song but no sound is delivered to the Bluetooth headset nor is it coming out of the phone's speaker. Turned off Bluetooth on the phone and then reenabled. Reconnected the phone to the headset and audio resumed.

    So, as you can see, there is no one easily duplication condition or remedy for the problem Any help in understanding what is happening and how to fix it would be greatly appreciated.

    Update: After observing multiple occasions where a sound and notification appeared on my Win 10 laptop at the same time that the phone went wonky I put the laptop to sleep and the problem went away. The Windows pc/phone link app was uninstalled and the phone was rebooted. What possible means can the phone and laptop interact?

    #1 RHaggard, Jan 30, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
  2. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    Isn't that what the app you uninstalled was designed to do?

    It sounds like there was a setting either on that app, your laptop (however it uses that app to communicate) or both that needed to be set up differently.

    Music Resume, Audio Focus, something like that.
  3. RHaggard

    RHaggard Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I'd gone through the phone and shut off as many notifications as I could. At about the same time the Bose battery went flat and I changed over to a different headset. I spent the rest of the day listening to my phone without issue on the Bth240 headset. This led me to believe that the problem was in the notifications. However, this morning I was listening to the Bose headset when an incoming email killed sound again. This leads me to believe that I was incorrect when I said that this happened with multiple Bluetooth headsets. The difference between the Bose and the Bth240 is that the Bose is paired with both the laptop and the phone whereas the Bth240 is only paired with the phone. My working hypothesis is that even though VLC or some other media player is sending audio to the headset when the laptop has an event that it wants to announce it takes over the audio channel and doesn't release it. I hate to unpair the Bose from the laptop but it is unclear what else I can do to clear up this problem.

    Still, that doesn't answer the question, what changed and can it be unchanged? I've been successfully using this setup since I got my Bose headset a year ago and it is only in the last week or two that this problem has arisen.
  4. puppykickr

    puppykickr Android Expert

    Maybe an update to your e-mail app/service or the app that links the devices?

    Just throwing that against the wall.

    Why is the link between your devices so important?
    At this point, I would search for a different app, or even turn sync off for one device or the other.

    If sharing files is what you need, then there are other apps that use Wi-Fi as a link and probably won't have this issue, so long as the notifications are off.

    Another option is to use the Do Not Disturb setting on your phone. With this you can severely limit the apps that can send notifications.

    You could use this mode when listening to music.

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