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Switching to speakerphone every time you can’t hear a call on the earpiece mode can be a great compromise to your privacy. To top it off comes the public embarrassment when you get a phone call in public, and your phone just won’t let you hear whatever the person on the other end is saying, on the earpiece mode.
Now, before we move on to 13 possible solutions (yes, 13) to fix your ‘Calling’ problem, irrespective of whether you use an Android or an iOS, let us start with understanding what is causing the problem in the first place.
Understanding the root cause: Software or Hardware?
Why you can’t hear calls unless you switch them to speakerphones can be covered in about two scopes: the hardware and the software.
If it is a problem in the software, you can probably solve it in your home without having to seek professional help. However, if it is a hardware problem, depending on the severity of the damage to the hardware, or the seriousness of the problem, you may or may not be able to fix the problem yourself.
Here is the thing, however: If it’s a problem with the software (and vice versa), and you get your hardware repaired, chances are, the efforts will be in vain. For example, many people keep replacing their phone batteries (the hardware, in this context) to troubleshoot a briskly draining battery.
If the problem lies in the software, such as a third-party app consuming too much battery, replacing the battery will be of no use because fixing problems with the hardware can not solve the problem with the software, and vice versa.
How to fix ‘Can’t Hear Calls Unless Switched to Speakerphone’
Solution 1: Turn your Call Volume Up
This might sound like beginner’s talk (and it is), but most of the time, you are unable to hear calls because your Call Volume is extremely low or next to zilch. Depending on where the Volume Buttons or Bars are located on your phone, tap on the upper end of the bar (or the top volume button). This will increase the call volume on your phone; however, if the volume button does not seem to help in increasing the call volume, follow the steps below:
On an Android Phone:
- Go to Settings and tap on ‘Sounds and Notifications’ (different android phones have different names for the same).
- Go to ‘Volumes’ and then check where the dot stands on the slider for ‘Call’ volume.
- If it is low, slide the dot to the extreme right to increase the call volume.
On an iOS Phone:
- Go to Settings, and select ‘Sound and Haptics.’ Select ‘Sound’ on your iPhone if you do not seem to have a ‘Sound and Haptics’ option.
- Turf off ‘Change with Button.’
- Now, use the slider to increase the call volume on your phone.
Solution 2: Clean your Earpiece Port
Classified as a hardware issue, it is possible that your earpiece has accumulated debris, which is why you can not hear calls unless you switch to a speakerphone. Countless times, it is lint from the clothes (from inside the pocket) or washed-up tissue papers residing in the pocket that clog up the earpiece.
Flash light on the earpiece, and if you see minuscule paper pieces or lint and other debris covering the earpiece, try using a small tweezer to pick out the pieces. If your earpiece is protected by a metallic grill, then it is best to not meddle with the earpiece and have a professional clean the earpiece for you.
Solution 3: Clean the Mic Holes
Most newer models of android phones come with multiple mics to enhance communication over calls. If you switch to speakerphone, and you are able to hear the call, it is because your phone uses two different mics – one for the earpiece and one for the speaker.
Since you are able to hear the call on the speaker, it means the mic for the speaker is working absolutely fine. The problem, in that case, lies in the earpiece mic.
Use a flashlight to check if the mic holes have collected dirt and grime, which they very often do, owing to the tiny holes which do not take a lot to have dust settled in them. Use a needle to pick out dirt and grimes. Do not poke too deep into the holes.
Next, blow the mic clean to scatter away residue (do not blow too hard, though).
Solution 4: Clean the Headphone Port
The headphone port is usually placed closely next to the charging point or on the top end of the phone. If it is blocked with dirt or debris, your phone, whether it is iPhone or an Android, will consider that you are plugged into a headphone, and therefore transmit all the data (the call data) into this ‘non-existent’ headphone.
To check if your phone is manipulated by a blocked or dirty headphone port, try turning up your call volume, and if you see a headphone symbol included in the bar, that gives you proof your headphone port is dirty.
Using a needle, try cleaning the headphone port. You can also wrap a small amount of cotton on a needle or a toothpick and insert it into the port and clean it out.
Solution 5: Update the Software to the latest version
Have you gone too long without updating your phone’s firmware? If yes, then there is a possibility that you are facing problems with hearing calls on the earpiece mode because of outdated firmware.
All you have to do is check for updates for your phone’s software and update it to the latest version. Keep in mind that this is a lengthy process and consumes much data (depending on the size of the update).
Once updated, reboot your phone, and place a call to check if the problem persists.
Solution 6: Toggle Airplane Mode On and Off
Again, if it is just a minor software bug causing interference with your earpiece, turning on airplane mode and then turning it back off after 5-10 seconds might help fix the issue.
If it is a network connectivity issue owing to which you can not hear calls unless you are on the speaker, toggling on and off the airplane mode can help fix the same too.
Solution 7: Reboot Your Phone
It is possible that a random yet minor bug is interfering with the software associated with controlling the volume. The quickest fix to this is to reboot your phone and check if the problem persists.
Solution 8: Reset Network Settings
If toggling on and off the Airplane Mode on your phone does not fix the problem, you should try resetting Network Settings.
When the problem lies in your network connectivity, owing to which you can not hear calls unless switched to speakerphone, resetting network settings can be a sure-shot solution to troubleshoot the issue.
Let us tell you that resetting network settings will wipe your cellular settings, which you have to set again once the reset is successful.
- Go to Settings, then tap on ‘General Management.’
- In ‘General Management’, select ‘Reset Settings’.
- Once you are done resetting, reboot your phone and check if you can hear the other person without putting the call on speaker.
Solution 9: Replace your Phone Case or Screen Protector
If you recently got your screen protector installed, post which you are facing the problem, it is possible that the screen protector isn’t installed properly. An ill-placed screen protector might block the earpiece and seal it, therefore not allowing any sound to come through.
You can remove the ill-placed screen protector and replace it with a new one yourself, or go to a technician to get it done for you.
Oftentimes a cheap or non-standard phone case can block the mic at the bottom of the phone, therefore disallowing the earpiece mic to transmit data. If you use a generic phone case, check if it is somehow blocking the mic; if it is, replace it with a cover or case that is tailored to your phone.
Solution 10: Turn off Bluetooth/ De-link your Calls from Bluetooth Devices
A common mistake many people make is that they slip by de-linking their phone from Bluetooth devices such as the car’s Bluetooth or their Bluetooth earbuds. If the Bluetooth on these devices is still on and connected to your phone, your call data will sync into these devices and not on your earpiece.
This is why you can either switch to earpiece mode from Bluetooth, just like you switch from earpiece mode to speaker, or you can simply turn off your Bluetooth.
If you do not want your device linked to a device that can tap into your call data, such as your car’s Bluetooth, de-link it from the Bluetooth Settings.
Turn off Headphone Mode: If you have accidentally turned on Headphone Mode on your iOS device, turn it off, and it should solve your problem.
Turn Off Noise Reduction: Check to see if ‘Noise Reduction is turned on on your phone. If yes, we suggest turning it off and checking if it solves the problem. Many users who had been facing the same problem report that turning off noise reduction greatly improved the hearing ability on the earpiece mode.
Solution 11: Try a third-party app to solve the problem
If you are okay with keeping a third-party app to troubleshoot the issue, you can try a third-party app that will enhance your earpiece’s hearing ability. A popular app named SoundAbout is used by many people to fix the whole ‘Can’t Hear Calls Unless Switched to Speakerphone’ problem.
However, if you uninstall the application, it is highly probable that the issue will start reoccurring.
Solution 12: Perform a Factory Reset
Performing a Factory Reset is the absolute last method you should be trying by yourself. If nothing else works, performing a Factory Reset is your last resort before you hand over your phone for repair.
Boot your Device in Safe Mode first!
Before you perform a Factory Reset, it is suggested you make sure that the issue with your calling is due to a software glitch. This will require you to boot your phone in Safe Mode. Safe Mode will essentially block all other services/apps/software, and upon booting, your phone will purely be loaded on Android OS.
Upon booting your phone in Safe Mode, call one of your contacts and check if you can hear them without putting the phone on speaker.
If there is sound coming from the other end, it means a third-party software/app interference is causing you to be unable to hear phone calls unless switched to speakerphone.
If there is no sound, it is highly probable that the problem lies in the hardware, such as a busted earpiece or damaged microphone.
Now, if you do hear calls without speakerphone on Safe Mode, it means the problem lies in the software, and since nothing has worked, performing a Factory Reset is a possible solution.
Here is how you can perform Factory Reset on your phone:
- Go to Settings
- Tap Backup and Reset. Make sure you have backed up your data since a factory reset will wipe away everything other than the backup and pre-installed apps and data.
- Tap Factory Data Reset
- Tap Reset Device
- Tap Erase Everything
Your phone will now be factory reset upon rebooting. Set up your device again, and call one of your contacts to see if the problem is solved.
Solution 13: If All Else Fails, Contact a Professional
If nothing worked, the absolute last thing you can do is contact a professional, either from a Samsung Service Centre or a tech store. They can diagnose the issue and repair the device.
If your phone is still under warranty, do not get it repaired anywhere but a Samsung Service Centre, or if the other person is unable to repair your phone, you will not be able to claim your warranty.
Seek a Replacement
If the professionals from Samsung Service Centre can not repair your phone, and it is still under warranty, you can claim a free replacement for the same.