Can’t figure out why is Alexa having trouble understanding? It’s really simple!
Alexa has a microphone. That microphone is set to recognize human voices, but both factors from the inside and outside could damage Alexa’s hearing.
It’s important to understand what could exactly go wrong with the microphone of your Alexa, and avoid these things!
If Alexa is having issues understanding you, it could be due to loud background noises and not pronouncing the commands clearly.
Pending software updates, issues with the software, and failed connection will also cause hearing Alexa issues.
To learn how to read the problem in depth, proceed further with our guide!
Why Is Alexa Not Understanding?
Alexa’s hearing could be obscured by both environmental and functional factors.
It’s of great importance to pronounce the voice command clearly, to make Alexa understand you easily.
Quick Fact: People with speech defects might have trouble communicating with Alexa!
Let’s go over the causes that could cause a hard time for Alexa to understand you:
- Loud Background Noises
- Not Pronouncing a Command Clearly and Loudly
- Wireless Connection Problems with Alexa
- Outdated Software of Alexa
- Alexa is currently doing something (update)
If all of the following things might overlap, which would intermittently obstruct Alexa’s microphone and prevent the device from recognizing you.
Keep reading to learn how to address the problem and most importantly how to do it in a matter of minutes!
Alexa Having a Hard Time Understanding – Fixed!
In the upcoming guide, we’ll be going over multiple methods to address the understanding problem of your Alexa.
We’ll start with simple things and build our way up in the troubleshooting ladder, to start identifying more difficult issues with your Alexa.
Let’s jump in with the guide straight away!
Solution #1 Reduce Background Noise!
At first, when Alexa stopped understanding you, we’re assuming you’d tried reducing the background noise around you before narrating a command again.
Yes, this is one of the most common factors that could prevent the speaker from understanding you.
All background voices, such as loud TV volume, other people speaking around you, or a vacuum cleaner, for instance, can prevent Alexa’s hearing.
You must make sure that the environment is quiet enough! The next step is to make sure that you’re pronouncing the command loud and clear to Alexa.
You can recognize that Alexa is listening when the ring on your Echo lights up in blue.
Tip: Check if your wake word is “Alexa” and if not, set it by default.
Solution #2 Unplug the Alexa Speaker
The next thing we’ll be attempting is to Power Cycle your Alexa Speaker!
Perhaps, the good old power cycle will restore the microphone functionality of the speaker and help Alexa hear and understand your voice.
Unplugging Alexa must be done in a specific way, to provide the device with enough time to discharge.
Here’s how to properly unplug your speaker:
- Press the Power Button on the top panel of your Alexa speaker.
- Unplug the Power Adapter of the speaker.
- Wait for 5 minutes, while the speaker is unplugged.
- Re-attach the power cable of Alexa back into the power source.
- Turn on the speaker.
Once again, we shall mention that keeping the Echo Dot speaker unplugged for at least 5 minutes is essential. Otherwise, the entire operation might not be helpful so be patient.
Note: While the speaker is unplugged, try to spot damages on the speaker’s hardware!
Solution #3 Restore Alexa’s Wireless Connection
If your Alexa has lost its connection to the Amazon servers, it’ll not be able to either recognize or understand your voice.
The way to approach this problem is to check if the speaker is connected and restore the device’s WiFi supply from the home network.
Here’s how to reconnect your Alexa’s wireless connection in easy steps:
- Launch the Amazon Alexa app.
- Enter the Devices tab.
- Select the Alexa speaker that is having issues understanding you.
- Scroll down and select “WiFi”.
- In the next tab, you’ll see all available WiFi connections.
- Select your home network from the list.
- (Optional) Insert a WiFi password, if the network is not in auto-connect mode.
Make sure that your network device (router, modem, or router/modem combo) is online, by the time you’re hooking up your Alexa. Otherwise, the WiFi won’t even appear in the menu.
Note: You must be in possession of the WiFi password, in order to hook up your Alexa.
Solution #4 Teach Alexa your Voice
Users who had the same problem with Alexa (the speaker didn’t detect their voice), were taught the device to recognize their own volume specifically.
This is an option that Amazon offers, for users with speech defects and worn-out voices, to communicate with Alexa.
Here’s how to train Alexa to specifically recognize your voice, using the Amazon app:
- Launch the Alexa app on your mobile device.
- Press the Menu Button.
- Navigate to Settings.
- Select “Alexa Account”.
- Scroll down and locate the “Recognized Voices” tab.
- Enter the tab and press “Automatically Recognized Voices” to toggle it on.
- In the same window, tap “Your Voice”.
- Proceed with the instructions to set up using your own voice with Alexa.
Once the setup is finished, Alexa will start recognizing your voice in particular, along with other people communicating with the speaker. Alexa will become highly sensitive to hearing your voice and she’ll be able to hear you from afar.
Note: If the changes hadn’t taken effect, restart the Alexa speaker and try again!
Solution #5 Ask Alexa for a System Update
If there is a pending system update, chances are that your Alexa must be updated, in order to resume its functionality.
Especially if a system update couldn’t be installed for one reason or another, you’ll have to apply manually before using your Alexa assistant…
Updating the software of the speaker will not only answer why is Alexa having trouble understanding, but will provide your device with more opportunities.
- While standing next to the speaker, say “Alexa, check for a System Update”!
Alexa will go into “Update Detection Mode” and if an update has been recognized by the system after all, Alexa will ask you whether you want to apply it or not.
All you have to do to start the update is say “Yes”, as a result of Alexa’s question.
Note: If Alexa still can’t hear you, perform the update from the Alexa app!
Solution #6 Full Reset the Alexa Speaker
If nothing worked so far, your only way out of this problem is to perform a Full Factory Reset on the Echo Dot Speaker and Alexa assistant.
It’s easy to trigger a factory reset on the speaker, but doing so will result in all settings and configurations being wiped out.
In addition, the voice setting you’ve established back in the guide so Alexa could understand you will also be erased.
That means you’ll have to go through the instructions again, once Alexa has finished its reset sequence.
Let’s learn how to factory reset your speaker:
- Launch the Amazon Alexa app.
- Navigate to “Echo & Alexa” by pressing the icon at the top.
- Choose the speaker you wish to perform a factory reset on.
- Scroll down and press “Factory Reset”.
- You’ll be prompted to confirm the process by tapping “Reset”.
- Wait out Alexa’s full factory reset process duration.
Once the factory reset on your Alexa speaker has begun, stop interacting with the speaker and wait out its full duration.
Pressing any buttons on the device, may interrupt the reset and leave your Alexa with its settings, without resetting.
Note: Once Alexa has finished resetting, it’ll disconnect from the Amazon Alexa mobile app.
Thus, the reason why is Alexa having trouble understanding is that you haven’t taught the speaker your voice or there is a pending update.
It could also be due to loud environmental sounds, command pronunciation issues, or software problems.
Contact Amazon if you’re still experiencing issues with Alexa’s understanding!
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Kevin has over five years of experience working in various Tech startups and providing Technical solutions. He has contributed to many Tech publications and websites.