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What is a Mono Earpiece?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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A mono earpiece is an audio listening device designed to be used with a single ear, as opposed to a stereo earpiece, which is used with both ears. This particular device is commonly used with mobile phones, mp3 players and other radio listening devices. A mono earpiece enables users to engage in listening activities while only using a single ear, which leaves the ear not in use free to hear other sounds. Some devices also feature a microphone for recording or communicating with others, but not all do.

As a radio accessory, a mono earpiece is often found where electronic instruments are sold. Such instruments can also be purchased through Internet vendors and auctioneers. Often, a mono earpiece is included with the purchase of a new mobile phone so as to enable hands-free operation, which is particularly useful while driving and talking on the telephone. In some jurisdictions, a single earpiece is the only legal way to engage in phone conversations while driving, as these devices do not completely block sounds that need to be heard, such as sirens or railroad crossings. Single ear devices also enable a person to use a telephone while keeping both hands on a car’s steering wheel.

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Radio earbuds are frequently used for listening to music or other digital recordings. While many are designed for stereo listening, a mono earpiece is sometimes preferred for times when an individual chooses not to completely block out other sounds. A mono earpiece may be featured in a wireless design or may contain a cord, which connects it to the main listening device.

Other uses for a mono earpiece include communication headsets, such as those used by telephone operators, as well as a radio headset commonly used by broadcasters. These devices enable workers to engage in hands-free operation while multi-tasking. At the same time, an individual using one of these devices can also hear sounds and communicate with others while relying on the ear not occupied with an earpiece.

Technical engineers sometimes use a versatile radio headset that can be used by both ears or switched to only produce sound in one ear, as necessary. Most also include a microphone so as to enable two-way radio communication. Such devices operate as a mono earpiece at times, but are not considered to actually be a single earpiece since they are capable of converting to a double earpiece when needed.

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