Why Would My Landline Phone Sound Garbled While I Am Talking?

By Jacob Reis

Garbled audio could be caused by downed lines or a broken telephone.
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Though many consumers nowadays have switched over to cell-phone-only telephone plans, there are still those who remain attached to their landline phones. With the age of digital technology, troubleshooting can be difficult for even the most tech-savvy of users. One problem that faces many phone users is audio quality. On a cell-phone it normally means bad reception. On a landline, however, the issue can be much more problematic.

Problems on Your End

The first place to start when diagnosing audio quality issues with landline telephones is to examine the phone that you are using. As the end of the corded era draws near, many remaining corded phones are becoming older, and as such are subject to normal wear and tear. Examine the headset that you are using, looking for cracks or built-up dust in the receiver. Next, check the cords that connect your phone to the wall. Frayed cords could cause audio quality issues and dropped calls, as well as the inability to receive calls or messages at all. Finally, check the NID (Network Interface Device) box on the outside of your building. When you open the cover, look for a phone jack. Plug in a corded phone and try to make a call. If everything is normal, there is a problem with the wiring inside your house. If it doesn't work, the problem is external.

Problems on the Other End

If you haven't found any problems on your end, the next logical place to look is on the other end. Obviously, the person you are talking to cannot normally hear her own voice on the phone, and even if you hear her fine, she may not hear you fine. If she is reporting a garbled voice, request that she check her reception if she is on a cell phone. It could be a broken receiver or a cord problem on her end if she is using a landline.

Problems with the Phone Company

If neither of the above problems exist, then the issue most likely resides with the phone company. Check for problems with the phone company by checking your neighbor's phone service with their permission or calling your phone company to ask if lines are down in your area or if maintenance is currently occurring. These are both likely issues if your area is experiencing a storm or had one recently. If the problems are caused by a storm, the lines should be repaired within a few days.

Other Possible Problems

Cordless phones are notorious for creating garbled audio when they begin to run low on battery. If this is the case, place the phone back in the cradle and allow it to charge before using it again. This may also be the case of the other person's phone if your phone is fine. Also, slow Internet service on either end could create audio quality issues if either of you is using a VoIP service like Skype or Magic Jack.