What Headset is the Right Fit for Me?
Imagine picking up the phone and holding the handset to your ear for about 15 minutes. Easy. Imagine doing that a few times an hour all throughout an eight-hour shift (or more). Difficult. Your arm will fatigue, your hand can get sweaty and youíll be a very cranky person after only one or two hours of this.
A headset is an ergonomic alternative to the handset. It rests on the userís head and keeps his or her handsí free to type on a computer or search through paperwork. Headsets let users overcome the limitations of the human body. Think of it like becoming a bionic personóif youíre into those kinds of comparisons.
Wearable Styles and Earpieces
Headsets come in all shapes and sizes to be worn on the userís head in a variety of ways. These ďwearable stylesĒ include the common over-the-head style that uses a headband to cradle the top of the userís skull. Over-the-ear headsets use an earhook to sit on the userís ear, and behind-the-head headsets use a neckband to rest behind the userís head. Self-explanatory, right? There are also convertible models that let you reconfigure the headset from one wearable style to another.
You might also notice headsets with either one earpiece or two. Single-speaker, monaural headsets leave one ear free so the wearer can communicate with coworkers and managers without having to remove the headset. Stereo or binaural headsets cover both ears, which serves users in more distracting environments around chatty coworkers or in a busy call center.
So far so good. To sum up, you can picture which wearable style youíll find most comfortable and whether one or two speakers will suffice. Need to experiment? There are convertible models for that.
Finding a Connection
Now take a look at your desk or workspace. How many telephone sources do you have? You might have a desktop phone, a computer and a cell phone. Thereís also conferencing equipment thatís compatible with headsets.
Headsets are generally segregated into wired headsets and wireless headsets. Wired headsets come with connector types like quick disconnect, USB, direct connect and 3.5mm. Wireless headsets typically feature DECT or Bluetooth interfaces.
Problem: How do you connect a headset to your telephony source?
Solution: match the connection typesÖ except thatís not as easy as it sounds.
General Uses for Wired Headsets:
USB headsets → PCs, computers
Direct connect → phones
3.5mm → audio equipment
Quick disconnect headsets solve the problems associated with having multiple telephony sources. These headsets do not connect directly to the phone, computer or telephony source. Instead, the manufacturer builds adapters that connect to the source. The headset then connects to the adapter.
One example of quick disconnect being an advantage is when a business wants to swap their current phones with newer or different models. Letís say that the current phones are compatible with headset connector type A, while the new phones will use headset connector type B (fictional connector types). Only new adapters are required, not new headsets, saving the business a lot of money.
Quick disconnect provides longevity and flexibility to the headsetís lifespan.
General Uses for Wireless Headsets:
DECT headsets → phones, PCs, computers, audio equipment
Bluetooth headsets → mobile devices, phones, PCs, computers
Wireless headsets arenít anchored to the desk by a cord. The user can remain mobile throughout the day without having to remove the headset. Not having to remove the headset can be a real point of convenience, especially when the answer to a callerís question is on the other side of the office. Cords can also get in the way when they tangle the userís hands, clutter valuable workspace or drape over the keyboard.
DECT headsets connect to the telephony source (phone, computer, etc.) through a base station. The base typically includes a dock that charges the headsetís battery. DECT technology is highly secure and offers a wide radius, making it a popular choice for not only headsets, but also cordless phones and other communications devices.
Bluetooth is a much more interoperable technology than DECT. Industry experts from all over the globe contribute to its continued development. Through this collaboration, Bluetooth can support a wider range of audio, video and data formats. This is why Bluetooth is standard in most mobile devices, and is steadily becoming an integral part of home and business equipment.
A Bluetooth headset has a shorter signaling range than a DECT counterpartóit cannot be as far from the source. The advantage comes from Bluetooth headsets that are capable of transferring calls from your desktop VoIP phone to the smartphone in your pocket. A user can remain in-call from their office to their car. Bluetooth, in a sense, provides much broader telephony by utilizing many sources.
All Micíd Up
Wearable styles, speakers and connector typesÖ weíve covered a lot of the hardware. The microphone is another major part of the headset.
A microphone receives audio from the environment. No matter how close the microphone is to the userís mouth, it can pick up more than just their voice. Noise cancellation is a popular feature because it suppresses or reduces background sounds from being transmitted to the caller.
Noise canceling headsets are standard in call centers or loud offices. They ensure that callers arenít distracted by the voices of other agents or workers. Callers arenít subject to fatigue from trying to decipher the userís voice from the noise and chatter of the environment.
Another option to look for is whether the headsetís microphone has a mute function or not. Instead of placing a call on hold, the user can mute the microphone so the caller canít hear them.
Choosing the Headset
As you might guess, a call center agent would prefer a headset with noise cancellation. If they frequently engage with coworkers, managers or specialists, a monaural design and wireless connection might be ideal.
For working without distractions, a binaural headset can cover both of the userís ears. Noisy environments can disrupt callers as much as they can the headsetís wearer. Imagine trying to make a call from a construction site with a handset or monaural headset, for example.
There are many types of work environments and, not coincidentally, many different styles of headsets. The styles are designed to meet the specific requirements of the user.
More than adapters, EHS cables and remote hook switches are available to headsets. Manufacturers also offer products like amplifiers, dial pads, toggle switches and splitter cables. Sometimes itís necessary to look at what accessories are available before choosing the headset, especially when specific requirements need to be met.
Ending the Call
ďIf headsets provide hands-free telephony, then how do I answer a call from my phone?Ē
Most headsets require the phone to answer the call. The call is then transferred through the headset as if it were a handset. Some headsets include inline functions or are compatible with EHS (electronic hook switch) cables that feature call answer and end buttons. The phone must also be compatible with the headset performing these functions.
A remote handset lifter is another choice. It is a piece of hardware that is positioned underneath the phoneís handset. To answer a call, the headset enables the lifter, which raises the handset off the hook. The handset is lowered to end the call.
Technology and Software
Noise cancellation is at the top of the shopping list for many call centers and frequent phone users. It blocks background sounds caused by office chatter or interrupting coworkers, maintaining a level of professionalism throughout the call and reducing listener fatigue
User fatigue and ear safety are other important factors to consider. Headsets that can receive a broader range of sound frequencies, otherwise known as ďwideband audio,Ē can duplicate more lifelike sounds than headsets with ďnarrowband audio.Ē Wideband audio produces more natural sounds and voice conversations, which greater reduces how much the user has to strain to hear callers. Narrowband audio is preferred when bandwidth consumption is a problem, however.
Acoustic trauma is a medical condition that is caused by loud or sudden spikes in audio volume. For example, how an explosion can cause a personís ears to ring. It can occur in headsets, unless they are specially equipped to protect the user. The phone system may also have technology to protect the user from these sound spikes. The effects of acoustic trauma can be hearing loss and permanent damage, which is why ear safety is so important to frequent phone or headset users.
Headsets with digital signal processing can further enhance audio. Digital signal processing, or ďDSP,Ē can provide echo cancellation and higher quality audio. DSP is prevalent in graphic processing, radar imaging, mobile phones and guitar amps, just to name a few other devices besides headsets.
Wrapping it Up
IP Phone Warehouse makes it easy to find a headset with your exact specifications. Find headsets with different wearable styles, speakers, microphones, connection types, noise cancellation and more. We are certified and authorized to sell headsets from
Jabra, Logitech, Plantronics, Sennheiser, Snom, VXi and other industry-leading manufacturers.
Headset Guide to find a headset compatible with your VoIP phone. We stock wired headsets, wireless headsets and a full spectrum of accessories.
Contact IP Phone Warehouseís free pre-sales tech support channel to get started, available by phone or email. Or start browsing now!
Headsets are ideal for making frequent telephone use easier. Theyíre also great for listening to webinars, participating in video conferences or playing music. Home offices, small and large businesses, and enterprises all benefit from products that can serve multiple purposes and increase overall productivity. Headsets are a great choice for call centers, executives, managers, receptionists and any regular or heavy phone user.
Frequently asked questions about headsets, including connectivity types and other features. Use this guide to answer your questions about wired and wireless headsets. For any other questions, do not hesitate to contact IP Phone Warehouse by phone or email.
Do I need a Quick Disconnect QD cord?
Yes, if your wired headset is quick disconnect, then you will need an adapter to connect it to a phone or another device. Adapter cords are available with different connectivity types, such as RJ9, 3.5mm and USB, letting you plug it into any device you want. Rather than only being able to plug the headset into one device, quick disconnect adapters give your headset more diverse use.
How do I know what QD cord I need?
For best results, use a quick disconnect adapter cord from the same brand as your headsetís manufacturer. Cords are available with specific connector types and might be designed for certain brands. If youíre unsure, contact our sales team to find the right adapter cable for your headset and devices.
Do I need an EHS cable or handset lifter?
EHS (electronic hook switch) cables and handset lifters let you remotely answer and end calls from your wireless headset. If you want to enable this ability, then you will need either an EHS cable or handset lifter. The cable can electronically pick up or hang up the call, while the lifter will physically move or lift the handset.
Whatís the difference between Bluetooth and DECT?
Bluetooth headsets and DECT headsets are both wireless. Bluetooth is a technology thatís popular in smartphones, tablets, and some phones and computers. Wireless headsets with Bluetooth can connect to other Bluetooth-enabled devices and USB dongles. DECT headsets include a charging base, which needs to be plugged into your phone or computer. The headsets can only connect to that or other compatible bases.
Whatís monaural and binaural?
A monaural headset features a single speaker, while a binaural headset includes two speakers. Monaural headsets leave one ear free, letting the wearer interact with coworkers and managers without having to remove the headset to hear. Binaural headsets offer stereo sound and fully encapsulate the wearerís ears. These headsets are perfect for wearers that are in noisy environments, have a difficult time concentrating or enjoy listening to music between calls.
How many wireless headsets can I use in a given area?
To avoid problems with interference, such as signals crossing and interrupting each other, do not overload your workspace with too many wireless headsets. As a rule of thumb, only use up to four Bluetooth headsets or 16 DECT headsets within a given area.
Can I use a USB headset with my desk phone?
Desk phones will have what is called an RJ9 headset port. The port is not compatible with USB headsets. You can use a device like the Plantronics MDA200 adapter to connect a USB headset to your desk phone, but we recommend using a headset with the correct connector type or a quick disconnect plug.
What is dual connectivity?
Dual connectivity means that the headset features two connection types. Wireless headsets, for example, include charging bases. The bases might have both USB and RJ9 connectivity, letting you switch between calls through your VoIP softphone and desk phone.
Do I need a headset amplifier?
Most modern VoIP phones have built-in headset amplifiers. Some phones do not have amplifiers, however. These phones require headset amplifiers to provide adequate loudness to a connected headset. Headset amplifiers can increase the volume in headsets used by people with hearing problems or that otherwise require the speakers to be louder.
Below are our latest and favorite blog articles about headsets.
Plantronics headsets were standard at the FAA, the Bell Telephone Company and NASA, just to name a few companies and agencies. Remember Neil Armstrongís famous first words as he stepped on the moon? You can thank Plantronics for that audio.
Over 50 years later, Plantronics is still achieving astronomical success. Now the technology is readily available to everyone, from headphones for audiophiles, to headsets for business professionals.
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Setting up one headset is a piece of cake (or at least you hope it will be). Mass deploying a hundred or so headsets, well, that isnít so sweet. Thatís why Jabra has introduced a brand new service called Jabra Xpress.
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The Jabra GN1200 is a very popular headset adapter. It provides connectivity between a Jabra quick disconnect headset and the RJ9 port on almost all third-party desk phones. Two versions of the GN1200 are available, one with a straight cord and the other with a coiled cord.
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Why should we let our customers have all the fun? We loaned out a Jabra Evolve 80 headset to our resident audiophile and let him go wild with it.
Jabra designed the headset as the perfect marriage of a call center headset with a set of entertainment headphones. Did it work? Our reviewer tested the headset with phone calls, online gaming and music. Hereís what he told us.
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Generations come and go, meeting new challenges and creating new opportunities. Think weíre talking about people? Introducing the Jabra BIZ 2400 II series, building on the success of the wildly popular Jabra BIZ 2400 series.
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Lync-optimized solutions include phones, video conferencing systems and headsets. Manufacturers like Jabra and Plantronics build a number of Lync-optimized headsets. The headsets offer features like on-device call controls including call answer and end, volume adjustment, and microphone mute.
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