What Causes Phone Interference?

By James Stuart

Interference can easily ruin a phone call.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Cell phone interference can make your conversations difficult, and in some cases, impossible. Interference often takes the form of background static, but can also be diminished volume or pick up that causes muffled conversation or background noise. Depending on whether you're using a land line or a cellphone, different sources may be causing the difficulty.

Radio and TV Transmitters

One of the biggest causes of phone interference comes from radio and television transmitters. Modern phones have semiconductors in them that amplify any nearby sounds. When a television or radio program is being broadcast nearby, your phone may begin to pick up the sound and play it through your phone in varying degrees of clarity. Depending on your proximity and the phone itself, you may hear the signal clearly, or it may be muffled and distorted.

Other Electronics

Television and radio transmitters are not the only signals that can cause interference. Several types of electronics generate waves that can be picked up by your phone. Everything from microwaves to car alarms to wi-fi modems or routers can transmit signals that can interfere with your phone. This problem is usually only evident with newer phones, as older phones lack the semiconductor that causes this problem. If you have an older phone, you may want to consider plugging using it in the area of your home plagued by interference.

Other Phones

Phones themselves can often be a source of interference. Phones, especially wireless phones and cellphones, transmit signals that can sometimes be overheard by callers nearby. This problem is worsened if a caller is using a Bluetooth device. These devices allow for hands-free calling, but sometimes interfere with other phones nearby. Bluetooth devices can also cause interference for their user if the device is on a noisy or weak channel. Bluetooth has since introduced devices that combat this problem, but older models of the headset may still encounter interference.

Poor Reception

One of the biggest causes of interference for cellphone users is bad reception. This often generates a static noise that can makes calls difficult to hear. There are a number of causes for poor reception including location and weather problems. Land lines may also have bad reception if the components are unclean or broken.