Can’t Hear the Caller? How to Test and Fix It | VoIP Phone Systems

Samir Sampat

Call audio issues are far too common. Even in the 21st century, we’re often plagued with dropped calls, lagging audio, echoes and distortion, and other problems. Modern VoIP phone systems have improved many of these issues, but they have not been able to completely eliminate them. After all, when you’re making calls via the Internet (Voice over Internet Protocol), you’re going to have the same risk of network issues, connectivity concerns, and other problems as people who are browsing the Internet visually. 

Fortunately, for all the issues that you may run into, there are also a host of solutions and troubleshooting guides out there to assist you along the way. In this particular guide, we’ll discuss the issue of not being able to hear your caller and how you can resolve it for good. 

Why can’t I hear the caller?

Several causes could result in the full loss of audio on a VoIP call. You may also lose audio on just one end, causing you to be unable to hear the person on the other end, even if they can still hear you. Fortunately, there are some common issues to consider that will be easy to check and eliminate. 

If you’re struggling with audio issues like being able to hear callers, consider things like:

  • Make sure you’re not accidentally on “mute.” How many times have you accidentally put a call on mute or otherwise hit a button in the middle of a conversation? Might as well rule out the easiest issues first and this one is often at fault and sneaks by even the best. 
  • Check the settings for your VoIP service and make sure that your audio is enabled and properly configured. Look to ensure that you didn’t accidentally activate or deactivate an important audio setting or change the source of the audio. 
  • Check your Internet connection, including your bandwidth. If you have a poor quality connection or you are running low on bandwidth, it can impact the audio in your calls, create echoes, and even cause a total loss of audio on one or both ends. 
  • Consider using an online testing tool like Solarwinds to check for packet loss or irregular packet delivery. VoIP calls work by transmitting packets of data over Internet lines and then turning them back into audio when they reach the receiving end. It works the same the other way, too. If the packets are getting lost or not arriving at the same time, it could be interrupting your audio. 
  • Check your hardware. If you’re using an external mic, make sure it’s connected. If you struggle with audio on wireless devices, used wired headphones and microphones instead. If your hardware is faulty, it doesn’t matter how good your VoIP service is. 

You may find other things causing audio issues when you’re taking and making VoIP calls, but these are the most common issues that people face. 

How to fix audio problems 

As mentioned, these elements are fairly simple to check and cross off the potential list of causes on your own, but you may need to enlist the help of IT professionals or troubleshooting services for serious issues. Check all the basics and make sure that your connectivity is solid, and then you can go from there if more work or investigation is required before the issues can be resolved. 

Feel free to ask your callers if they can check their own settings, hardware, and audio features to ensure that they don’t have something disabled or haven’t changed the settings to mute their device. This may not be the case, but in some instances, it’s exactly what happened. Just make sure that you go about asking politely and not in an accusatory way. 

(i.e. – “We’ve been checking our system for audio issues but aren’t finding any problems. Before we call in the IT team, could you do me a favor and double-check your settings, hardware, etc.? Thanks!”)

One of the quickest ways to resolve audio issues related to connectivity is to switch to wired connections. It’s the 21st century and we’re spoiled by WiFi and Bluetooth, so it’s natural to assume they’re safe to use for business calls. However, when you are experiencing audio issues, you’re going to see just why wireless devices (and connections) are a bad idea. You can secure these networks, but only so far, and they’re a lot more susceptible to interference than a wired network would be. 

If there are network address or firewall issues present, you may have to ask the IT team for assistance (if you have one) or hire someone to help you troubleshoot and repair the issues at hand. However, you should know that putting off an upgrade to VoIP is not the answer. Some people worry that they should stick with “traditional” phone solutions because of issues like this, but the fact is that VoIP is reliable more often than not. Find a reputable VoIP service provider and your issues will be minimal. 

For even fewer issues, consider outsourcing your calls instead 

If you’re looking to avoid technology issues and dropped calls altogether, you could invest in a 24/7 answering service like the dedicated virtual receptionists at Smith.ai instead. Our team can handle all kinds of call answering needs around the clock, along with assistance for your appointment scheduling and lead intake needs, and so much more. Looking to capture leads in the first place? Find out how our outreach campaigns and outbound sales support teams can help you get the word out and grow your business, too. 

We can handle admin, communications, and so much more, leaving you to focus on the business at hand and trust that we’ve got it covered with a custom strategy to manage every last detail. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to find out what the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do for your business communications. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.

Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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