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Old 04-13-2018, 03:59 PM
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Kids these days - new way to talk on the cell phone?

So, this is something I see with increasing frequency - people talking on their cell phones by holding them 3 inches in front of their mouth, usually at about a 30 degree angle, and using the speaker to hear (or not).

What gives? Is there some compelling reason that they don't hold them up to their ears (like normal, like you're supposed to)?

For what it's worth, it seems to be very prevalent in the African American community.

Is this just a new meaningless trend, or what what?
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:01 PM
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It's been like this for a while (as least from my observations). I guess it's a way to not have to jam a phone up to your ear and therefore slightly more comfortable?
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:01 PM
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My husband prefers using the speaker function because it prevents accidentally bumping the phone and hanging up inadvertently. He's white and 61, FWIW.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:03 PM
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I have always always always seen this done on reality shows. I assumed it was in the "actors" contracts to do it that way so the cameras could hear both sides of the conversation.

When I see people doing this in public I assume they're just trying to be Kardashian-ish (I saw this more on Real Housewives, I don't watch KUWTK but I know they do it). Or they're trying to avoid getting their phone covered in makeup.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:04 PM
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I've seen kids do this, I've seen adults do this. I haven't paid much attention to race, but as the communities I frequent are majority white, it seems pretty prevalent there too.

I'd agree with the poster above in that it is a comfort thing. If you hold a phone up to your ear for a while, it start to sweat. I'd think that the smart phones, with their large glass and unbreathing screens, as well as the heat that the electronics dissipate have something to do with it.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:08 PM
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Oh, I have seen this for a while. Kids today havn't had the original phone handset. But, funny thing, my grandmother used the classic phone handset like people do with cell phones. She would hold the phone in front of of her face and holler into it and then hold it up to her ear and listen, bring the mouthpiece around again and holler. It was hilarious. I think the latest cell phone trend is just how these kids do it. They probably have the speaker on loud anyway from listening to music.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:19 PM
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I rarely see my teen actually using her phone to verbally talk to anyone. Its texting and messaging for the most part.
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Old 04-13-2018, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by k9bfriender View Post
If you hold a phone up to your ear for a while, it start to sweat. I'd think that the smart phones, with their large glass and unbreathing screens, as well as the heat that the electronics dissipate have something to do with it.
Maybe they should bring back side-talking phones like the Nokia N-Gage.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:20 PM
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Maybe it's fear of radiation/brain cancer or something. All I know is when they do it on the train, it pisses me off.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:46 PM
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My hubs does this and he is old. It’s because he can’t hear the regular way. I guess.
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Old 04-13-2018, 06:58 PM
Ulf the Unwashed Ulf the Unwashed is online now
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I’m in my fifties and I do this. Agree that holding it to my ear is less comfortable, partly because of sweating. Holding it in front also allows me to use both ears, which is helpful because I have some bilateral hearing loss.

I guess I’d also point out that “clamped to one ear” is a thing only because that was designed for earlier non speaker phones. Now that we have a very different setup, why should we expect to hold he phone the same old way?
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:05 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I'm old and use my iPhone like you would an old-fashioned landline handset. As others said, the screen gets sweaty. But I've also, on occasion, accidentally muted the phone with my ear while talking. So this new approach has its advantages.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 04-13-2018 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 04-13-2018, 07:42 PM
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Im in my fifties and I do this. Agree that holding it to my ear is less comfortable, partly because of sweating. Holding it in front also allows me to use both ears, which is helpful because I have some bilateral hearing loss.

I guess Id also point out that clamped to one ear is a thing only because that was designed for earlier non speaker phones. Now that we have a very different setup, why should we expect to hold he phone the same old way?
Uh, to get some semblance of privacy for the person you're talking to, and less annoyance to others? Also, speakerphone sounds horrible and creates a kind of half-duplex effect.
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Old 04-13-2018, 08:07 PM
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This is so they can read incoming texts while they're talking.
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Old 04-13-2018, 08:59 PM
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It's been going on for awhile. Not sure why, but there was at least one widely published recommendation to hold the phone away from your brain to reduce potential cancer risk.
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:29 PM
Ulf the Unwashed Ulf the Unwashed is online now
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Uh, to get some semblance of privacy for the person you're talking to, and less annoyance to others? Also, speakerphone sounds horrible and creates a kind of half-duplex effect.
Uh, well, context matters, and if Im in a public place and talking to my friend who thinks shes about to be fired, or to my cousin about his medical diagnosis, Im not going to be using speakerphone. For that matter, Id try not to have those conversations in a public place at all. But if Im on my own, yes, Ill use the speaker feature, thanks.

And as for annoying, youd have to convince me that hearing a whole conversation is more annoying than hearing just my half of it. My wife often talks on the phone in my presence, sometimes on speaker, sometimes not, and I dont find either especially annoyingor any more annoying than if shes having a real life conversation where I can hear. Your mileage obviously varies.

And while I, uh, hear you loud and clear that you dislike the sound of speaker phones, surely that is in the eye of the beholder, I mean the ear of the listener?
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:41 PM
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I posted about this in "Pet Peeves That Only You Have" the other day. It annoys the piss out of me. I don't understand the reasoning behind it, unless they think its being "cool" or something. I've seen it everywhere, by every type of person and they are usually in their teens or early twenties. I don't understand it, I just think its pompous and annoying, it's not like your hands are full! It's always conversations about how many beers were pounded, a tv show, talking shit about someone else or how good the weed was.

That being said its not a recent thing, I've been seeing it for years. Still can't get used to it.
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:42 PM
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This is so they can read incoming texts while they're talking.
and driving
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:43 PM
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I use the speaker when I'm making or answering a call with no-one else around. Otherwise I just use it like an old fashioned phone.
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:50 PM
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I associate this with middle aged males who probably work as car salesmen or stockbrokers or something. And it's been around for awhile, at least a decade.
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed View Post
Uh, well, context matters, and if Im in a public place and talking to my friend who thinks shes about to be fired, or to my cousin about his medical diagnosis, Im not going to be using speakerphone. For that matter, Id try not to have those conversations in a public place at all. But if Im on my own, yes, Ill use the speaker feature, thanks.

And as for annoying, youd have to convince me that hearing a whole conversation is more annoying than hearing just my half of it. My wife often talks on the phone in my presence, sometimes on speaker, sometimes not, and I dont find either especially annoyingor any more annoying than if shes having a real life conversation where I can hear. Your mileage obviously varies.

And while I, uh, hear you loud and clear that you dislike the sound of speaker phones, surely that is in the eye of the beholder, I mean the ear of the listener?
When you use speakerphone, you have to talk louder for the other person to hear you. If you use the phone properly, you can speak more quietly, so that others around you don't hear your voice as much. If the person you're talking to is using speakerphone, the sound echos, picks up more background noise, and is muddy. On a cel phone it's even worse because it goes into a kind of half-duplex mode where it seems like the speaker and mike won't work at the same time. Makes it difficult to have a normal flow of conversation.

If someone calls me using speakerphone, I'm going to ask them to turn it off so we can hear each other clearly.
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:02 AM
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Many kids use the headphones to talk on the phone nowadays. But when they can't use their headphones, they opt for speaker. If you are using the speaker, it is clearer if you speak right into the mic that way. They don't want to just press their faces to the phones, because the phone is usually busy with some app open, or some browser or whatever...My cheek touching the screen can fuck everything up.
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:08 AM
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Isn't it the case that if you're using earbuds without an in-line mic, the phone mic still works? So, if you're wearing earbuds, you can talk to the base of the phone, and you don't need to have the speaker on. I think that's the configuration I've seen most. I often see people talking to the base of the phone, but they have earbuds on and I don't hear the other side.

Earbuds would sound better than the phone speaker (speakerphone mode or not), and you can talk directly into the mic at the bass, so you probably sound better, too. And, you're probably already wearing your earbuds.

It's pretty noisy where I commute, so I doubt speaker-phone mode would work anyway -- they other side wouldn't be able to get a word in.

I'd try it out but everyone I know is sleeping.
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:19 AM
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One reason is that modern cellphones aren't shaped for holding to an ear. They don't even seem to be physically designed to be used as a phone. My Pixel XL2 is so wide it's hard to wrap my hand around it and holding it to an ear feels like something that wasn't intended. If you put the speaker next to your ear, your mouth is nowhere near the microphone. As an audio engineer, this looks like poor design.

Contrast this to a standard 1970's landline phone handset, which was designed to be a speaker & microphone.
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:35 AM
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When you use speakerphone, you have to talk louder for the other person to hear you. If you use the phone properly, you can speak more quietly, so that others around you don't hear your voice as much. If the person you're talking to is using speakerphone, the sound echos, picks up more background noise, and is muddy. On a cel phone it's even worse because it goes into a kind of half-duplex mode where it seems like the speaker and mike won't work at the same time. Makes it difficult to have a normal flow of conversation.

If someone calls me using speakerphone, I'm going to ask them to turn it off so we can hear each other clearly.
Funny; none of this is my experience at all. Im sorry you find using the speaker so difficult. I think its a major improvement!
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:41 AM
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TIL. I thought they were FaceTiming (which I've never done).
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Old 04-14-2018, 07:26 AM
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I hold the cell phone as described in the OP when I am using the voice to text feature, so I can see what interesting, incorrect translations Google is interpreting from my Maine accent. But I never actually have a conversation in that position.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:43 AM
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The store I work in is in a basement, and we have terrible cell phone receptions. I see this more and more and I absolutely hate it.

What makes you think I want to hear your stupid phone conversations? I only use my phone outside now; never in a public building.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:45 AM
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I prefer not to hold my phone to my ear. It's not a comfortable position to hold through a conversation. Also, the shapes of modern smartphones aren't designed to be comfortably held to the ear like the old landline phones were.

Other reasons:

1. having the sound of the other person in front of you is more natural—that's usually how you listen to things around you. It's more comfortable than having sound blasted right into your ear.

2. It prevents your cheek accidentally bumping the screen and doing something like ending the call.

3. It allows you to continue using other functions of your smartphone
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Old 04-14-2018, 10:37 AM
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I'm 54 and I've always talked on cell phones that way--first when I had the Star-Trek-like flip phone, and now with the flat one. With the speaker on, I can just put it down and listen, or speak, while I'm doing other things like drinking tea or sorting laundry.
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Old 04-14-2018, 10:42 AM
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Don't you people have proximity sensors on your phones? Every smartphone I've ever owned will blank the screen when you hold it to your ear, just so you don't accidentally bump a button.

Anyway, I'm mostly seen this on TV shows, where they want to let the audience hear both sides of the conversation without constantly cutting between both participants. My guess is that real people have picked up the habit from seeing television characters do it.
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Old 04-14-2018, 10:43 AM
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Is this related to listening to music by hanging your earbuds over your ears, with the buds themselves dangling a few inches below, so you have to crank your volume to the max so you (and everyone else in the room) can hear it?
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Old 04-14-2018, 10:53 AM
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When I see people doing this, it's usually people who are older than kids.
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:33 PM
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Based on all of the replies, it seems this is useful option for a variety of reasons. It is somewhat surprising that the cell phone manufacturers have not caught on to this and continue to design products that are essentially designed for traditional handset-to-the-ear use. Perhaps someone will come up with an alternative design that is more aligned with this usage?
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:51 PM
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This is so they can read incoming texts while they're talking.
This is why I hate the world.
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:53 PM
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Based on all of the replies, it seems this is useful option for a variety of reasons. It is somewhat surprising that the cell phone manufacturers have not caught on to this and continue to design products that are essentially designed for traditional handset-to-the-ear use. Perhaps someone will come up with an alternative design that is more aligned with this usage?
Early Google-branded phones had a slightly curved screen, so that may have helped somewhat. Or, pick up one of these when they come back in stock:

https://www.amazon.com/Softalk-Bluet.../dp/B01849DGYA

Tim, I'm also confused by people worrying about pressing an errant key or hanging up accidentally. My phone screen turns off when the phone gets close to my ear.

Anyway, no love for the earbuds reason?
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Old 04-14-2018, 02:56 PM
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Funny; none of this is my experience at all. Im sorry you find using the speaker so difficult. I think its a major improvement!
It's not a "my experience" issue. It's an objective fact. It was well known even on landlines (or as we called them, just phones) before cell phones became common.


Cite:

Quote:
Our plea comes on behalf a truly silent majority. We are the ones on the other end of the line the ones who can barely hear you at the end of that long, echoey tunnel, or who dont like the sound of your barking. We wonder whether youre paying attention to what we are saying, and who else might be listening in. We are the 57 percent who, according to a 2016 poll by Expedia/ Egencia, find making or taking public calls on speakerphone infuriating. And while weve given up any claim to your undivided attention, we still want some of your consideration. Communications technology changes so fast that you might sometimes forget that the medium is part of the message, as Daniel Post Senning, of the Emily Post Institute, puts it. But when you put us on speakerphone, we want nothing more than to hang up.
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Old 04-14-2018, 03:23 PM
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I do it that way very often. It's much easier to hear things on speaker than by putting it to my ear.
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Old 04-14-2018, 04:08 PM
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Has anyone else seen where people hold the microphone end to their early and have it jutting out at 90 degrees so the hearing end is a phone's length from their head?

Seriously I see this fairly often and it baffles me.
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Old 04-14-2018, 04:23 PM
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It's a way to be even more obnoxious than usual yammering loudly in public on your phone, plus lessening the hazard from nonexistent Cancer Rays.
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Old 04-14-2018, 04:24 PM
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I feel like I stepped into a time warp. I haven't noticed this type of behavior in at least ten years. These days it's all about the head phones or BT. From what I can tell, they stay on whether they're talking on the phone or not.
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:11 PM
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Are you sure that all/most of these people are on phone calls and not video chats? I rarely hear/see anyone on a voice call at all, but I see a lot of people talking on the phone while looking at the person they are talking to (which requires holding the phone in your field of vision).
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Old 04-15-2018, 07:12 AM
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Are you sure that all/most of these people are on phone calls and not video chats? I rarely hear/see anyone on a voice call at all, but I see a lot of people talking on the phone while looking at the person they are talking to (which requires holding the phone in your field of vision).
Pretty sure -- usually the phone is perpendicular to their face, so if it was video chat, the other side would have a great view of the ceiling.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:25 AM
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I admit I find speakerphone useful at home, but I would never think to use it that way out in public. The conversation will be louder, and more than twice as annoying (as I am less of a talker than most people). Even at that weird angle, the microphone would be further away from my mouth.

If I'm out in public, my phone has headphones. That way I can watch videos and such without disturbing others. Taking a call may mean I'll have to talk, but I'll have the mic as close as possible and turn away the best I can to keep it private. I've yet to have anyone call me who doesn't assume the conversation is semi-private, rather than blaring out for everyone to hear.

I would guess using speakerphone comes from the same trend of not using headphones for video or music, which I think is dumb.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:37 AM
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Here in China, folks hold the phone in the manner described in the OP because they're usually using WeChat's voice message function and have to hold the "talk" button on the app. It's kind of hard to see what you're doing when you hold the phone in a "normal" manner.

Note: I really despise the WeChat program. This particular bugaboo is just more ammunition for my hatred.
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:58 AM
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2. It prevents your cheek accidentally bumping the screen and doing something like ending the call.
Modern smartphones typically have a proximity sensor that prevents this happening.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:40 AM
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Maybe it's fear of radiation/brain cancer or something. All I know is when they do it on the train, it pisses me off.
Annoys the [bleep] out of me in public spaces too. It's bad enough having to hear ONE side of the conversation, which on public transit tends toward profanity-filled domestic disputes and TMI delivered at "everyone in this vehicle MUST hear ME and MY life" tops-of-ample-lungs levels. I really don't want to hear the other half of the call blaring from a crappy tinny speaker that is not designed to sound even remotely decent more than an inch or so away.

USE EARBUDS, MORONS!!!

Last edited by Seanette; 04-16-2018 at 04:40 AM.
  #48  
Old 04-16-2018, 05:15 AM
Baal Houtham Baal Houtham is offline
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I got my first smart phone about 2 years ago an iPhone 6 I believe. I would hold it to my ear and talk to people, and most people would say, I can barely hear you. So, I d turn on the speaker function, and we could converse with no problems. Using the speaker has become the default for me.

Thats probably not why most people do it, but who knows?
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Old 04-16-2018, 05:53 AM
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Frequently they wear earplugs, so they do not need to hold the phone to their ear.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:12 AM
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I usually use the speaker at home by myself, but not holding it in front of my face, it's on a table nearby. I'm usually on my computer or doing something else, and I just like to have my hands free.

I would not do it out in public, that would be very strange and quite impolite.
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