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New to Telephone Headsets? Here's our jargon busting guide
The world of telephone headsets can be daunting to those who have never ventured in before; all the technical terms can be confusing and navigating unfamiliar jargon is a chore in any new industry. To help you make sense of the various terms used in the industry, we have put together a jargon buster to help you translate into plain English.
Binaural simply means “two ears”. It is used to describe headsets which have twin earpieces and which may also offer stereo sound when used with music playing software.
Bluetooth is a type of near-range connectivity that is present in smartphones, computers and tablets, as well as in some cars. It allows for wireless connections between a telephone headset and the communication equipment for use in close range (up to 10 metres), so is ideal for remote and mobile users who may be undertaking repairs with support from a central technical office and need to be able to move around machinery unhampered by cables. Bluetooth headsets do not need a separate transmitter.
A Buddy Box is a connector that allows two headsets to be used on the same telephone or computer. These are used for training and monitoring purposes and allow a senior member of staff to supervise individual calls, offering advice and support to a new trainee. Both headsets can be muted as needed, allowing the supervising staff member to take over a call that is not going as planned, while the trainee listens in and picks up valuable tips.
Electronic Hook Switch cables allow desk phone users to answer and end calls without having to lift the handset to do so. Using one means an agent who may not constantly be on the phone, such as an inbound call centre worker who also schedules work and makes outgoing calls to engineers, can answer a direct line using their telephone headset and keep their hands free at all times. They are ideal for receptionists as well.
Monaural simply means “one ear”. It is used to describe headsets which only have one earpiece and leave the other ear free to hear fire alarms or other activity that may need attention. Monaural headsets may have an over-head band which secures the equipment in place, or they may fit over the ear like a hands-free car kit.
Noise Cancelling/Noise Isolating
Noise cancelling and noise isolating are terms which are often used interchangeably. They mean that the headset reduces unwanted noise and lower external distractions, but the method by which they achieve this is different. Noise isolating telephone headsets use the seal with the ear to keep out ambient noise, whereas noise cancelling models also use electronic sound processing to cancel out ambient noises. Noise cancelling technology works best with low continuous sounds like engines, servers and other machinery but often do not work well with mid-range and high-pitched sounds, like excited chattering or crying babies on a plane. Whether the expense of a noise cancelling headset is worth it depends largely on the types of noise that need to be reduced.
QD stands for Quick Disconnect and is used in relation to the cables which connect the headset to the device. They allow for greater flexibility in headset choice as they can be used with most devices, so do not constrict the choice of headset to models with a specific connection type. They also allow the user to mute or place a call on hold easily and then walk away from the station without having to remove the headset.
Bluetooth is one method of wireless connectivity, but it is hampered by the restriction on the range between the headset and device. Infra-red technology is used in some wireless headsets but they are typically designed for home use where there is a clear line of sight between the headset and the transmitter. Radio frequency wireless headsets are much better for mobile users as they offer a sturdier connection that will work through walls, although the quality decreases with distance and the channel is insecure, so should not be used for discussing anything of a commercially sensitive nature.