I am old enough to remember when a long-distance phone call (from my grandparents' house in Boston, where I would stay for a week every summer, to my home about 30 miles away) sounded like you were talking through a tunnel; and a thunderstorm would interfere with the connection and sound quality. Then by the time I was an adult, you could talk to people anywhere in the world and the quality was fantastic. Reliable, clear, sounded like they were in the next room.
Now we mainly converse on our cell phones. And I spend so much time straining to hear what is being said. I feel like I am always saying, "Sorry, bad sound quality. Can you repeat that?" Connections fade in and out. You miss half a word here and there. It's not my age, it's not my ears - it's just crappy connectivity. Seems the worst is when my daughter calls me from her Google phone (she has Project Fi for her provider). Typically atrocious quality. And often when she calls me I can't hear her - I only hear my voice repeating back what I just said. I have to say, "Sorry, honey, only getting the echo. Hanging up now, try again." Second try is usually fine.
I just feel like we have given up a lot for the convenience of carrying the little computer around in our pockets. And you can argue that being available by phone 24/7 is a blessing or a curse. Sometimes both at once.