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What is a Hands Free Device?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated May 16, 2024
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A hands free device is an apparatus used with cell phones that permits the user to talk on the phone without holding it. Through the assistance of this device, the user can let the phone sit in one area while talking into a microphone attached to his or her lapel. Alternatively, it may incorporate a headband that places the microphone in front of the user's mouth. In order to listen to the person on the other end, the user has an earbud speaker placed in one ear.

This type of device has many benefits. For the multi-tasker, the hands free device makes it possible to easily move about and complete other tasks while talking on the phone. This can help while doing housework or completing office duties. It also makes it easier for the user to take notes or to type on the computer while talking on the phone.

One of the primary reasons behind the development of the hands free device was to free up the hands of drivers as they talk on the cell phone. There is, however, much debate as to whether or not this truly makes driving safer. Supporters contend that it allows the driver to keep both of his or her hands on the wheel. Therefore, the driver is in a position to drive more cautiously and to better control the vehicle.

Opponents of the hands free device claim that, while the device does free up the driver’s hands, talking on the phone is still a distraction, as the driver is unable to focus fully on the task of driving. Opponents also contend that the device may give drivers a sense of false security and may only free up their hands to complete other tasks that are not associated with driving, such as adjusting the radio, changing climate controls, drinking, and eating.

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Discussion Comments
By anon125066 — On Nov 08, 2010

Hands free devices are just as much of a distraction as it is to talk on the cell phone itself. Due to the way the human brain is wired, after gaining experience, driving begins to become 'routine.' This turns into a false sense of security, however, and people think that they can do whatever they want while they drive.

In reality, however, 100 percent of the operator's focus is needed to be able to drive effectively, efficiently, and most importantly, safely. Too many variables exist when you are out on the road.

Driving is a task that requires the human brain to process massive amounts of visual information. It also requires a person to make decisions based on predictions made of other drivers as well as to coordinate precise movements with their hands and feet to make the vehicle respond in an appropriate way to the current situation.

So everyone can say that driving with a hands free device is better than a cellphone (which it may in fact be), but the truth is that better or not it's still a distraction.

When you multitask, your brain splits priorities between talking on the phone and driving. It cannot completely focus on one or the other.

What are your priorities? Is it really worth it to make a call and risk everyone in your vehicle, everyone around you, and yourself in potential danger.

By Burlap — On Oct 20, 2010

My biggest gripe about the use of hands-free devices for my mobile equipment is the quality at which the audio is transferred to my ear. Now while some wired and wireless options have differing audio quality, the wired options will always win the battle of audio quality.

Bluetooth headsets suffer from degradation and audio quality due to the fact that spectrum in which they are using and the transfer rate at which the data is coming across the connection does not carry enough data to allow for high quality audio to be passed.

While some people do enjoy their Bluetooth stereo adapters, most audiophiles will tell you that the quality does not match up to what you can get over a solid copper wire. Because of this flaw and the technology I can never consider Bluetooth as an option for using my audio equipment in a hands-free fashion.

Until that are technologies developed to transfer audio wirelessly to an ear phone system, I cannot recommend the use of a hands-free device to any audio professional.

By spreadsheet — On Oct 20, 2010

In my opinion wireless devices are more useful than just in the vehicle and to avoid a hefty ticket for being a distracted driver. I use hands-free devices at my desk at home and in my office at work. Use of a hands-free device allows you more freedom and flexibility to move around and be comfortable in the environment in which you are.

I would recommend to everyone who has their doubts about using a hands-free device to step out of their conventional thinking even for just a little bit and give the tool that is used by so many a chance to make your work life more efficient.

By CoffeeJim — On Oct 20, 2010

I personally think that a perfect driver. Especially when I use my cell phone I am capable of driving just fine. People make such a big deal out of the lack of control when using a mobile device any demand and even now in legislation demand the use of a hands-free device while driving a vehicle.

This seems absolutely ridiculous to me and I completely disagree with the legislation has been passed in several states. Hands-free kits that are sold by retailers seem like gimmicks and ways to make money off of consumers. The best hands-free device you could have is the kind of mind that it takes to multitask while driving

It is a shame and I think it's an impedance on my freedoms to have to use a hands-free device look like an idiot talking to myself when I'm driving an automobile.

By FrogFriend — On Oct 20, 2010

I agree with evas53, most people consider the part of using cell phones the most fingers to be speaking in natural conversation that occurs during a legal conversation in the car. The reality is that it is a distraction from your eyes that occurs when trying to dial or text on your mobile device.

Most people are capable of carrying on a conversation with someone while they operated vehicle. This is been demonstrated numerous times by simply having people in the car with you. It is true that the use of one hand to hold up a cell phone to your ear can be extremely distracting, this is usually only the case if you are using a manually shifted vehicle.

What is distracting and absolutely dangerous to yourself and other drivers on the road is moving your eyes away from the observations that you need to make while driving safely in the car.

By evas53 — On Mar 08, 2008

Hands free, the most dangerous part of using the phone in the car is dialing and this should be the top priority in hands free. Answering the phone doesn’t take your eyes as dialing does. I feel when something is hands free should incorporate dialing too.

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