Following is an over analysis of having to listen to a heavy breather on the phone during conference calls.
Annoyed. Disgusted. Distracted. These words come to mind to describe what I’m thinking when I have to sit through a 60 minute conference call while someone participating on the call breathes heavily through the phone. The…entire…call. This happened to me (and about 10 others) recently at work. What’s worse, it was nose breathing. You can tell, right? You can tell the difference between heavy breathing coming from the mouth, and heavy breathing coming from the nose. Heavy mouth breathing sounds, well, like breathing. Nose breathing sounds like someone broadcasting over the radio standing in hurricane force winds. Sometimes it’s not necessarily heavy breathing when it’s coming from the nose. It just sounds like that because the handset or headset is positioned poorly. My bet is this person was wearing a headset where the microphone boom was angled in such a manner that the mic ended up in the line of fire. Nonetheless, how in the world does this person not hear the noise (hurricane wind)? I think most people have probably let the accidental heavy breathe slip into the phone receiver. But for most, we hear it and think “was that me?” And if there’s any possibility it was, the handset or headset is adjusted to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Most people don’t want to be the heavy breather on the call.
The only possibility – aside from a complete lack of care resulting from an utter disregard for self awareness – is a hearing problem. Under that condition, I extend sympathy. But when no one on the call exhibits signs suggesting a hearing problem, annoyance, disgust, and distraction result.
One time I was on an open-line call with around 50 people, and while most of the participants had muted their phones, naturally, the heavy breather in the crowd had not. The best part? The call leader called the person out.
“Can the person who’s breathing heavily into the phone please mute their line?”
Awesome. A Darth Vader reference would have been cool too.
Someone should invent some sort of apparatus that attaches to the handset or headset and alerts the user with a visual indicator when heavy breathing is detected. Heavy breathers, of course, would not purchase this product because of the aforementioned hearing problem or self awareness issue. But others who discover the identity of the heavy breathers would now have access to the perfect white elephant gift during the holiday season.