Talking on the phone while typing at the computer can literally be a pain in the neck…and the back…and the shoulders. A good solution to this problem is to use a headset on your phone. Headsets not only allow you to talk without cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder, they also allow you to type, write, or even walk around while on the phone. Before purchasing a headset, however, there are several features to consider:

Type of earphone

Since most headsets are worn for many hours a day, choosing a comfortable headset that is appropriate for the job is critical.

Type of Earphone Pros Cons
(covers both ears)

Helps block out background noise

Allows for greater focus on the caller

Headband may be convertible, allowing it to be worn on top of or behind the head

Makes external conversation difficult

Heavier than other types of earphones

(covers one ear)

Allows for off-telephone conversations and greater awareness of surroundings

Can usually switch between left and right

Different types of ear connections

More difficult to hear in noisy environments
(worn in the ear)


Does not irritate the outside of the ear

Allows for good sound transmission

May be uncomfortable for long-term wear


Look for earphones that are easily adjustable and offer replacement ear cushions, ear loops, or various sizes of earbuds for different sized ear canals. Also, make sure the earphone allows you to wear the headset with glasses, if worn. Another useful feature is an indicator light on the headset to tell others that the user is talking on the phone.


Most headsets are connected to the telephone via an amplifier. The amplifier may have volume controls, both incoming (earpiece) and outgoing (microphone), mute buttons, and switches to go from the headset to the handset. Amplifiers that are attached to the headset with a cord often have a quick disconnect feature to allow the user to easily move away from the workstation. Some amplifiers may be cordless, allowing the user to answer and talk on the phone while not in close physical proximity to the base. This is an excellent feature to have if the user will be moving around the work area. However, this type of headset may lose the signal as it is moved further away.


Microphones should be unobtrusive and easily adjustable while offering good sound quality. Noise-canceling microphones reduce the transmission of background noise, thus greatly improving sound quality to the person receiving the call. Noise-canceling headsets cancel up to 70 percent of the background noise and are especially effective for offices where workers work in close proximity to one another.