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What is a Wired Headset?

By Di L.
Updated May 16, 2024
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A wired headset is a set of headphones attached to a microphone and connected to either a telephone or a computer using a wire connection. The connection is usually made via a headphone jack or a USB plug. A wired headset allows the user to both listen and speak using only one piece of equipment. In some instances, the headphones and microphone attach to the electronic device using a single connection, while some wired headsets must use separate wires for the two components.

A wired headset can be worn either over the head, around the back of the neck, or looped around the ears, much like the variety of headphones that exist on the market. There is often confusion surrounding the function of two devices. The major difference between headphones and headsets is that, whereas headphones are meant for listening to audio, headsets are designed for two-way communication.

Wired headsets can come with one or two headphones; the former is known as monaural and the latter, binaural. Monaural headsets mimic the act of speaking on the telephone while binaural headsets provide stereo sound and are favored by video gamers. The microphone may be either noise-canceling or omni-directional. Noise-canceling means that the wired headset will only pick up sound from two small regions directly in front of and behind the microphone. Omni-directional means that sound from all directions will be captured. The first type will transmit more specific sound, making it the best choice for someone who is having a conversation in a noisy environment, while the second type will transmit higher quality sound. Depending on the intended use of the headset, the difference between these components should be taken into consideration.

People who work at telephone call centers commonly use a wired headset to minimize strain on their neck from speaking while tilted over the telephone receiver. A wired headset is also commonly used with cellular phones when hands-free communication is required or preferred, usually via a USB port. Other users include individuals who use VoIP, also known as voice over internet protocol or internet telephony, and online video gamers who like to chat with other players while keeping their hands free for gaming purposes.

The term wired headset is used to distinguish these headsets from their more advanced wireless counterparts. Some examples of wireless headsets include those that use the same technology found in cordless phones, as well as others that use Bluetooth® technology.

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Discussion Comments
By golf07 — On Sep 22, 2011

When I first started making videos to post online, I used a wired microphone when speaking. While this worked, it was certainly not the best quality.

My next step was to buy a wired usb headset which made the job easier and also produced better quality results. It is also to have your hands completely free for whatever else you need to do.

The microphone picked up every little sound, but it is easier to have more control over the background noise with a headset.

By Azuza — On Sep 22, 2011

@KaBoom - That sounds like a good language software package. You have to practice on else you'll never learn.

I work in an office and I make a lot of phone calls all day. I have to say that I prefer wireless headsets to wired headsets. I fidget a lot when I talk on the phone and the wired headsets never seem to have long enough cords for me!

By KaBoom — On Sep 21, 2011

I bought a language learning software package awhile back. It came with a wired headset that plugs right into my computer's USB port. It allows me to speak into the microphone so the program can judge my pronunciation.

I've found it very helpful so far. The only thing is, I prefer to make sure I'm alone when I use the software and the wired headset. I'm still a little unsure of my pronunciation!

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