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Choosing a headset

Headsets today look great, fit great and work well. But choosing a headset remains a personal decision, much like buying a pair of shoes... So remember to follow the following tips when shopping around.

1. If possible try your headset out before you purchase it or get a 48 hour swop out or upgrade commitment from your vendor.

2. Some people prefer over the head headsets, and others over the ear styles.
One type is not better than the other; it's a matter of personal taste and work environment or managerial issues.

3. Get an Amplifier between your headset and phone if it does not have built in amplification.
A Mute Switch and a Headset / Handset switch over between your headset and phone can be very handy if your phone equipment does not support these facilities.

4. A lightweight cord with Quick Disconnect feature (no need to remove the headset from your head if you move away from your desk) is a must on all Professional and Premium products.

Also consider the following factors when choosing your headset...

1. Near-end sound quality
Headset sound quality is usually good on your end. Check how well the earpiece muffles room noise, and test to see whether the amplifier provides sufficient volume to hear clearly over normal room noise.

2. Far-end sound quality
Quality on the other end of the line varies greatly. Make sure that the caller does not pick up a lot of background noise from your side & that your sibilants do not have a hissing sound to the callers ear.

3. Microphone type
Omnidirectional Voice Tube Microphones are flexible, cost effective and not as position sensitive as Noise Canceling microphones.
Noise Cancelling microphones cost more and are more position sensitive than Voice Tube types but are a must if you work in a very noisy environment.

4. Comfort and Hygiene
Your headset is going to be worn for most of the day, so make sure that it is comfortable and suits your hairstyle and office image.
If you are skin sensitive, make sure that non-allergenic substances are used for earpiece and microphone screens, ear molds and other parts of the headset that touch skin or lips.
Don't share headsets, or if you cannot avoid it carry a spare set of accessories - Viz ear buds, Foam Ear cushions and Microphone pop shield cushion.

5. Durability / Reliability
Headsets are reliable and durable. A two-year warranty on professional products is standard.
Make sure you are protected for at least this period.

Choosing the correct headset

Application or area of headset use

Benefits to the wearer

Need to confer with colleagues when on a call...

Sound in one ear (Monaural) allows you to interact with people in your environment.

Working in a front office / reception environment...

Over-the-ear styling is more discreet and unobtrusive

Headsets shared between shifts...

Headband styles with spare foam ear cushions are more hygienic when used by more than one person

Need total concentration when taking or making calls...

Sound in both ears (Binaural) cuts out noise, allowing far better concentration & makes you feel like you are face to face with your client

Working in a noisy environment, or calls are being recorded...

Noise Cancelling microphones cut out background noise & enable caller to hear you clearly

User not sure whether to buy 'over-the-head' or 'over-the-ear' styled product...

Convertible style allows the user to choose either configuration