"wait_timeout" is the amount of seconds during inactivity that MySQL will wait before it will close a connection on a non-interactive connection.
"interactive_timeout" is the same, but for interactive mysql shell sessions.
Setting a value too low may cause connections to drop unexpectedly, specifically if you are using persistent connections. Setting a value too high may cause stale connections to remain open, preventing new access to the database.
For wait_timeout, this value should be set as low as possible without affecting availability and performance.
For interactive_timeout, changing this value won't really increase or decrease performance of your application.