Several things could be causing your phone line noise.

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"Can you hear me now?"

This question has become synonymous with the reliability of a certain cell phone provider, but problems hearing people on the other end of the phone aren't limited to cell phones. Static, hissing, echoes and other noises coming from a phone line can cause equally frustrating problems for people chatting on landline phones.

People who still connect to the Internet using a dial-up connection also may feel the effects of phone line noise, which can interfere with their online surfing. Some modems are so sensitive that even the tiny beep caused by call waiting can terminate an Internet session.

As the frequently asked questions section of any telephone or Internet provider's Web site will attest, unwanted sounds on your phone line pose a common problem. Thankfully, clearing phone line noise on your landline isn't hard.

As you might guess, the first step in clearing phone line noise is to pinpoint the culprit. Faulty house wiring, long cables or the phone line itself could be indirectly disrupting your conversations. Other culprits include the following:

  • Weather: Precipitation can leak into phone lines and cause disruptions. Lightning, even at a distance, can damage the connection.
  • Electrical interference: Power lines, radio or television transmitters, transformers and other electronic devices may cause noise on the phone line.
  • Other phone devices: Fax or answering machines, other phones and line splitters -- devices that allow two phones to fit on one phone jack -- can cause phone line noise.
  • DSL services: The high-frequency signals coming from DSL (digital subscriber line) devices sharing the phone line can create problems for other technology connected to the line.

A good rule of thumb is that if the noise only happens occasionally, then weather is to blame. If it's a constant annoyance, then it's probably another offender. Learn what steps you can take to find and stop the annoying noise interrupting your phone conversations on the next page.