Why do people shout at their cell phones?

These days almost everyone has a mobile phone and with the great advantages of mobile phones comes responsibility as well. Certainly there are proper and inappropriate cell phone etiquette and, unfortunately, inappropriate cell phone etiquette is still prevalent among the general public.

One prime example of bad cell phone etiquette is people shouting at their cell phones. Have you ever seen people talking louder on a cell phone than on a normal phone? It is very common and can be extremely annoying to everyone around. Most people will forgive you for going to another room when you get a call, but there are times when you can’t leave. For example, when you are traveling in a car with someone, you may want to make a call and there is no “other room” you can enter. Cell phone etiquette is extremely important in times like these.

So why do people with normal talking sounds scream on their cell phones? Of course it is a very simple explanation. Home phones, or landlines, have a receiver microphone that amplifies your voice to the earlobe. When you talk on a landline, your voice is picked up and played back through the earpiece, so you can hear your own voice louder and clearer. It’s similar to the way a radio DJ wears headphones and then speaks into a microphone and hears his own voice through the headphones. With cell phones, your own voice does not extend to the earlobe, so you can only hear it with your mouth. This may not seem like a big difference, but the volume of the words coming out of your mouth through the air and into your ears is a big difference than the sounds coming from a phone speaker plugged directly into your ear.

Cell phones are very common in society, but relatively speaking, they are still new. Unless you are a teenager, you’re probably growing up with a home phone in normal times, so you’re subconsciously trained to make every phone sound like a home phone. So when most of us switch from landlines to cell phones, it’s no wonder we carry a bunch of our habits. Now when we talk on our cell phone our own voice is heard more softly and the natural reaction is to speak.

It is important to avoid this tendency when you are trying to be polite. Remember, people scream as much as they want to hear you scream on a cell phone. So remember, when talking on a cell phone, just use your normal voice as if the person were standing next to you.

Maybe one day mobile phone companies will decide to include the same voice-amplification technologies in the most widely used mobile phones in landlines. But that will not often happen. Cell phones are here to stay, so we all need to adapt and start practicing proper cell phone etiquette.

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