Different scenarios call for different headphones. To simply put it, a gamer’s needs are far different from an athlete’s so the headphones they would use would totally differ from each other. With that, it’s also a different story for professionals or office workers.
The problem is that people seem to think that buying any good pair of headphones would do the trick. But even though a simple all-around pair of headphones will perform satisfactorily, they won’t be able to address more specific areas of concern.
As a result, office workers are left desiring for more — more features, more tools, and subsequently resulting in more expenses.
You see, the trick is to buy the right pair for the job. Yet, you can take a whole day looking at user reviews of a particular product and still end up underwhelmed when you get it.
That’s why we’ve made this article to help you through this task! Here are a couple of key areas you’ll need to know in choosing a professional pair of headphones for the office.
Noise cancellation is now one of the biggest factors to consider when looking for professional headphones. After all, the point of wearing headphones is to dive into the audio and the job without getting distracted by the rest of the world, right?
For headphones, you have two options for this: passive noise isolation and active noise cancellation. Both of these can help you focus more on the job than your surroundings. But they do so using different methods.
Noise isolation pertains to blocking off external noise physically. This may mean using thick sound-proof headphones padding or having deep earphones that will seal your ear canal. To give an idea, noise isolation works the same way as when you put your hands on your ear to block out noise.
Noise cancellation, or Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), on the other hand, takes soundproofing to a whole new level. Instead of just passively preventing noise from entering the headphones using physical features, they actively block it using advanced technology. These headphones have a mechanism that can emit sound waves to counter incoming sounds, thus canceling them.
Of course, it’s safe to say that ANC headphones cancel more noise than noise-isolating headphones. But it’s also a bit more expensive. So if your priority is to block out noise and don’t mind spending more, then you won’t go wrong with a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.
If you’re someone who’s constantly on calls, you’ll also need a good microphone to come with your headphones. Everything is going digital now and even if you’re in the office, chances are you’ll be attending a virtual conference from time-to-time.
Clear audio during meetings is undeniably important. The last thing you want to happen is finding out a communication error caused you a fortune, all because your audio was not clear.
Most headphones today come with built-in microphones called micro-electromagnetic systems or MEMs. But, these MEMs usually won’t compare with a dedicated headset boom mic.
Boom mics are microphone systems that stem out of the ear cups. Because they are bigger and are placed closer to your mouth, boom mics are known to detect sound a lot better than built-in mics.
Now, if headphones themselves have Active Noise Cancellation, so do the headset microphones. These are usually known as Clear Voice Tracking (CVC) — a software usually integrated into headset microphones that detects your voice, amplifies it, and filters out the noise. When looking for headphones, make sure to not interchange ANC with CVC. Just remember: ANC is for you, and CVC is for the person you’re talking to.
Now, this doesn’t mean that buying any headset with a boom mic and CVC automatically equates to having a great-sounding mic.
In order to determine the quality of the microphone, you could use mic monitoring or perhaps a sound recording test. Mic monitoring is a function that allows users to hear their voices while speaking. The sound recording test, on the other hand, is a simple way to hear how you sound by recording your voice through the mic and listening to it.
Wired or Wireless?
For those looking for headphones for the office, choosing whether to go for wired or wireless headphones may not be that simple.
Choosing between wired or wireless is more than a question of preference, but also of capability and functionality. In the end, it will really depend on the device or devices you’re using for work.
Some office jobs like supplier relations or customer service reps may be in front of their laptops or desktops for the majority of the day. For them, call quality is of utmost importance and wired headphones will ensure that. They don’t really need to leave their desktop or laptop’s side so the wires won’t be a problem.
On the other hand, jobs like sales reps and account managers need to be on their phones and possibly on the go. For these types of jobs, mobility is a priority wireless headphones are preferred. Some wireless headphones can also easily switch from one device to another which is a nifty function for those working on their phones, tablets, and laptops at the same time.
Comfort and Fit
Finally, here is perhaps the most subjective factor to consider when looking for a pair of headphones for the office. It is also one of the trickiest to get.
Logically speaking, comfort and fit are things that you could only fully decide on after physically trying out something. However, if you break down these factors into smaller pieces, you would be able to find out what makes a pair of headphones comfortable or not.
For comfort, you would want to look into the materials and weight. Memory foam is one of the most comfortable but common ear cup materials. This material adjusts to the shape of your ears so you’ll feel less pressure than other materials.
When it comes to weight, technically, headphones under 0.55lbs are considered light while those at .75 lbs and above are heavy. And, trust us, even though these numbers are quite light, you’ll feel these weights when you use your headphones throughout your 8-hour shift. In short, the lighter, the better.
For fit, size and adjustability are the ones you should check. Some headphones are naturally large and may wiggle around your head. However, if you get something with adjustable headbands, you can easily customize the fit to your liking.
Additionally, you should check out the headphones’ reviews from people who wear glasses at work. You might think that this is a little factor but it is actually something that needs to be addressed.
Remember that your office headphones will be your desk partner. With that said, they should not cause you even the slightest bit of discomfort.
Undeniably, choosing a pair of professional headphones for work is an important decision. So, much like every important decision in your life, you have to put your time and your brains into this one.
The trick is to find the best and right pair relative to your wants and needs. To do that, you have to consider the following: noise cancellation, wireless connectivity, microphone quality, and comfort.
With these, you’ll surely get a perfect desk partner — one that will make you feel productive and invested in your work.
Interesting related article: “What is a Device?“