Earpiece microphone headsets allow for virtually hands-free operation when communicating in a variety of settings, whether talking on a cellphone, a computer or a two-way radio. Configured in a variety of styles, the devices generally consist of at least one earpiece and a microphone, which may or may not attach to the receiver or transmitter. With the development of Bluetooth® technology, inexpensive, wireless earpieces, complete with microphones, are preferred by many over traditional devices.
Send-only earpieces are typically combined with portable devices used for listening to music or watching videos. These sets usually consist of radio earbuds which fit into each ear and plug into the desired device. Many prefer comfortable earbuds to a radio headset when walking or jogging, as physical activity tends to displace conventional headsets. Security and some tactical earpieces consist of an earbud that fits into one ear with a coiled wire traveling down the back of the ear to the transceiver. An incorporated push-to-talk (PTT) microphone typically clips onto a garment lapel.
Another type of earpiece microphone used for tactical or aviation purposes includes a conventional headset with cushioned send-receive earpieces and a boom mike. This device plugs into the two-way radio for total hands-free communication. Many use modified, corded, lightweight headsets with boom microphones for communicating through voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology. Some sets contain an earbud with an over-the-ear loop and a boom mike. Tactical technology and radio accessories have progressed from wired into wireless technology with the introduction of Bluetooth®.
Using a Bluetooth® compatible device, individuals wear an earbud attached to a miniature transceiver. Within the transceiver lies the microphone, which allows users to engage in conversation with a PTT button. This singular earpiece microphone may be worn with or without an ear loop for comfort.
Following this technology was the Jawbone®. Also containing Bluetooth® technology and functioning in the same manner, the rectangular device follows the natural curve of the jawbone and comes equipped with special noise cancelling features, which enhance communication for parties on both ends.
Persons should refer to the particular device instructions before acquiring an earpiece microphone, as not all corded headsets are compatible. Those for use with phones typically have 2.5-millimeter (mm) jacks, while those used in conjunction with other devices generally have 3.5 mm jacks, and two-way radios usually require a plug having two jacks. Headset prices vary depending on functionality and quality.
A wireless earpiece microphone typically contains a rechargeable lithium ion battery that, in some models, provides up to eight hours of use. Battery chargers use a computer’s USB port, a charging station that plugs into a wall socket, or chargers that plug into a vehicle’s cigarette lighter. These sets also vary in price according to design.