It’s a very common question that is asked by those starting out their career in transcription as well as seasoned veterans looking for the most comfortable tools of their trade. Long hours spent in front of a computer listening to audio files means wearing a headset for a good part of each day. Most headsets that are designed for transcription are made feather light for comfort as well as worn under the chin to minimize pressure to the wearer’s head. There are a variety of styles available and the question of comfort is actually a very personal one. Here are some guidelines about the most common types.
Stethoscope style headsets are just that. They look like a doctor’s stethoscope and are comprised of the the base cord along with a button that plugs into the stethoscope portion which is hinged. This hinge allows for easy readjustment of the fit of the “arms” of the headset. The ear pieces themselves are small, soft plastic tips that fit into the ear itself. One of the most popular styles of headsets for decades, this type is best used by those individuals who do not have sensitive ear canals. Another benefit of this style of headset is that both the button and the cord are replaceable, minimizing the cost of replacement headsets over time.
U-Bow Headsets have an under chin piece that is “U” shaped and provide a generous amount of room between the ear pieces. The ear pieces themselves vary by brand but are usually tube-shaped or dime-sized pieces that are designed to naturally sit in the outer portion of the ear, but do not go into the ear canal itself like the stethoscope style. Foam covers for the ear pieces add to the overall comfort level.
Wishbone style headsets look like the wishbone of a turkey and have curved arms that narrow at the upper section by the jaw and ear. These headsets are usually hinged as well and do allow for fit adjustment. The ear pieces are also tubular or tire shaped and include foam ear covers as well. Those individuals with a smaller head or jaw find this headset adjustable enough for a comfortable fit.
Spectra brand headsets have a more rounded under chin piece, are feather light and flexible enough for an extremely comfortable fit. The ear pieces are marble shape and sized with accompanying ear cushions. These ear pieces are some of the larger ones available in a headset and wouldn’t necessarily be a comfortable fit for those with smaller ears or ear canals.
If you’re not sure how a headset will fit you or how comfortable it will be, your best bet is to find a company with a return policy that allows you to return or exchange one if you find that you’re not happy with it or it isn’t a good fit for you. In the end, trying the headset out while you’re actually working is the best comfort test there is.