Headsets or headphones are actually miniature speaker systems. They are stereo hearing systems that are wearable, thus providing mobility to the user. Traditional headsets were bulky and large with two speakers for both the ears encased in padded ovular ear cups. These ear cups were attached to a headband in the shape of an arch that went over the head. Each of these ear cups had a signal wire joined down together as a single wire, which was connected to the audio player/ radio through a headphone jack.
Today's headphones are technological wonders-extremely lightweight with no irritating cords, almost negligible in appearance, with built in savoir-faire like noise canceling, sound quality, durability and comfort. These headsets are no longer meant for just listening to music or for professions like aviation or the military. Headsets today are making even activities like video conferencing, computer gaming, talking on the cell phone in noisy environments, and other activities extremely comfortable. Besides, these headsets also provide extreme flexibility to the user to do other things simultaneously like walking or even skating or skiing. Some headsets are so advanced that they cancel out external noise discriminately by eliminating only the undesirable noises. These are highly useful for recording studios and other musical environments.
Modern headsets also contain microphones for headsets that are meant for telephone or computer use. These are extremely useful in offices like contact centers where the main activity is to speak into a phone for hours. They enable hands-free operation and thus prevent stress on the neck, shoulder and hands.
There are different kinds of headsets available depending on the style (over-the head/ on-the-ear/in-the-ear/ behind-the-ear/ convertible), the options available (standard/voice tube/ noise canceling), the solution type (telephone use/mobile use/ headset adapter/ headset accessory), the mobility allowed (wireless/corded), the kind of ear piece (monaural/binaural), the kind of phone/computer connection to be used with the headset (Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm/ Analog), the compatibility (to music), the kind of computer usage (VoIP, Computer Gaming), the range of bass/treble, the power of the speakers etc. Manufacturers also provide the support of online specialists to help you purchase the best headset, including discounts and warranties.
When buying a headset ask yourself the following: is it comfortable? Does it stay securely in place for long hours? Is the microphone flexible and unobtrusive? Is the cord long enough for easy movement? Are the volume and other controls easily accessible? Is the sound quality on both the lines clear?
The leading manufacturers of headsets are Plantronics, GN Netcom, Headsets.com, Sennheiser, Jabra, and Sony. Headsets are also very inexpensive, depending on the kind of model. A good pair of headphones costs around $10 though an extremely advanced model with all the works may be priced at $150-$200 or higher. The Internet is a good source for locating the ideal headset. There are several web sites that provide comprehensive information about the wide range of headsets available in the market today.