Your hold music is too loud!

We received a complaint that our hold music is way too loud.

Apparently a deafening blast of Blondie, "hanging on the telephone". The poor chap jumped because it was too loud, and managed to hit is head somehow.

Obviously not happy.

But there is a slight catch.

We don't have any hold music!

What we have at the office is a quiet comforting "beep beep" every 3 seconds. Certainly no Blondie!

But the phone system passes the "on hold" signal through SIP. It even finds its way out through the PSTN, ISDN and even mobile systems in some cases. So you get "on hold" on the screen of your phone even. This is not always the case, some types of interconnect lose the signal, but in many cases this gets all the way to the far end phone system.

What this means is that the music on hold this person heard was his own phone system's hold music.



  1. I am surprised that there are not a lot more queries about people hearing music on hold. In your case you are playing audio and signalling that the call is on hold. When this reaches the BT network it would normally be translated to ISUP SUS/RES which is exactly the same as what is generated when someone with an analogue phone puts down their handset and picks it up elsewhere.
    I wonder how many people actually know that you can do this. I best the vast majority of people leave the first phone off hook (the minority who don't have cordless phones anyhow).
    The problem is if the callee puts the call on hold then you don't really want the SUS/RES going back over the BT network as the hold music will be lost and the T6 suspend timer starts (10-32 seconds with a suggested 32 seconds) so they may get cut off. It might be something you want to investigate.
    On the other hand if someone with an analogue phone hangs up and the caller stays on the line they are likely to hear music on hold for 30 seconds or so if they initiated via SIP or another system which supports generating its own music on hold.

  2. This would have the side effect of callers to you potentially hearing their own "Thank you for calling , your call is on hold and we will return to you as soon as we can. Did you know that we " and could be very confusing :P

    Entertaining. eheheee.

  3. Can you setup a test number, I'd like to try calling it from my various systems and see which are sent the signal :P

  4. It does make me chuckle when I am put on hold by A&A, and hear my own voice asking me to ensure that I have "rebooted all affected pieces of equipment before calling." :)

  5. I suppose that does make sense to a degree, it's essentially treating yourselves as an extension of their PBX.

    I don't think that's a good idea going forward, who is going to listen to our on hold marketing messages? Ourselves?

    1. Well, ultimately you are in control of that (not that I am impressed with marketing messages on hold) - but you can set your own phone system to do whatever on-hold sound/music you wish for your outgoing calls!

    2. Except for the phone system that one of my customers has.. It only has one input for hold music and no setting for outbound vs. inbound on if the source should be used.

    3. When someone is put on hold if you are playing your own hold music and managing it yourselves then the signalling should not be sent back to the BT network. If you do then any music is lost as the call is suspended and if you don't pick it up within about 30 seconds the call gets dropped automatically.

  6. problem solved, I have installed a loud speaker in the support department playing the said "blondie song" at a volume that is unbearable, strangely enough, they picked up on the problem, dropped the gain on the hold music WAV file and I've taken my big speaker home again ... :-) I had to eat humble pie with this one.


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