For whatever reason, there is an issue where using airpods with voiceover on an iOS and/or iPad OS device results in the first second or two being cut off. This makes navigating by character, word, line, etc very frustrating. Similarly, there is generally a little delay when navigating iOS and/or iPad OS with airpods and voiceover. Its something that tends to add up over time. Touching the screen can result in a bit of speech delay for maybe half a second. Its something that tends to add up over time.
A solution/work around I have come up with involves the background sounds feature found in the airpods accessibility page.
1. With Voiceover enabled and airpods connected (I'm using Airpods Pro 2), go to Settings, accessibility, airpods, Audio Accessibility settings, Background Sounds.
2. In this setting page, swipe to and double tap on sound and choose any of the provided noises (Balanced, Bright, Dark, Ocean, Rain, Stream). It doesn't matter which really.
3. Go back and swipe to () noise volume and set to 0%.
4. Swipe to use when media is playing and make sure it is turn on.
5. swipe to volume with media and set it to 0%.
6. Swipe to Stop sounds when locked and make sure it is turned off.
7. From that point you can turn Backsounds on.
Voiceover screenreader will now work properly. There will be no bluetooth cut off and no Voiceover speech delay. There is one Caveat. When taking the Airpods off and putting them back in the case, the background sounds feature will turn off. You have to manually turn backgrounds sounds on when reconnecting to the airpods.
Something I have done to make this easy and quick is to insert the Hearing widget in Control center. So when connecting to the Airpods, I swipe from the top of the page into control center, navigate to Hearing, double tap, navigate to Background sounds and turn it on.
In truth, I would prefer a prevent Bluetooth cut off sound feature that can be permenantly turned on in Voiceover settings. Such a setting exists in the JAWS and NVDA screen Reader on the Windows side. I will create a separate post for this. The background sounds being turn on does put a hit on the airpods battery life. I honestly don't think it is much if at all. I've been hitting roughly the the promised 6-7 hour battery life on the Airpods pro 2 and Airpods 3rd Generation.
What do you guys think? I hope this can be useful to you.