nexVortex BLOG

How VoIP Headsets Could Be Affecting Call Sound Quality

Chuck Harris

Maybe it’s all in your head… set.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service has become more and more popular with businesses in the US and abroad. The ability to run all communications over IP networks (like the Internet) means employees are no longer tied to a specific desk or location.

It’s amazing technology, but sometimes we forget that VoIP has many moving parts and that they all need to work properly in order to deliver a quality voice experience

We wanted to talk about one element that is easy to overlook in voice quality and that is your choice of headset.  Headsets have an earpiece and built-in microphone which allow hands-free use and they are quite convenient; but don’t overlook their importance in contributing to a having clear conversation.

Headsets – so many choices.

Headsets can be monaural (meaning one ear is free) or binaural (worn in both ears). Monaural allows the user to hear outside noises from the environment, while binaural headsets block out the surrounding noise.

The choice of headset will depend on the environment in the office. In a large call center, it might be desirable to block out other sounds so as not to distract service agents. However, if it’s important to know what’s going on in the office, having one ear “open” might be required and therefore a monaural headset would be a preferred choice.

Headsets can also be wired or wireless.

  • Wired connects directly to a computer or handset through .…well…a wire. These can be restricting as the person is tethered and isn’t free to move around. Many people like to walk and talk and choose wireless.
  • Wireless headsets of course don’t use any cords, thereby giving the person freedom to move around while they talk. They can be more expensive than wired but the advantage of being able to move around makes them a popular choice.  There are two types of wireless – Bluetooth or DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications).  DECT headsets can be slightly less expensive and work in greater ranges than Bluetooth ones.  A DECT headset will provide good performance while roaming around a large space (range = 330 feet).  Bluetooth comes in three classes, each with a different range (Class 1: 330 feet, Class 2: 33 feet, Class 3: 3 feet).  If you choose Bluetooth, be sure to double check the Class type.  Most office Bluetooth base stations are Class 1.

You need to consider that wireless headsets sometimes don’t always deliver consistently clear sound quality when compared to their wired counterparts.  This can be due to distance, interference, and other factors. You may want to test a few choices before committing the entire office to a single solution.

5 questions to ask when deciding about headsets for your business:

1).   Do you want sound in one ear or both? (Consider: office noise level)

2).   Do your employees mostly sit or do they need to move around and interact with others? (Consider: employee interaction)

3).   How much time a day do your employees use their headsets? (Consider: comfort)

4).   What is the battery life — can it last for an 8 hour day? (Consider: convenience)

5).   What is your budget? (Consider: affordability)

Common problems than can arise with headsets

You’ve chosen the right headsets or perhaps you’ve had them for some time and now there are issues with sound quality, distortion, or an echo. There are common solutions to these problems.

First, obviously headsets can become worn-out or damaged.  They might also have thin, poorly insulated cables that reduce audio clarity, especially if the headset has been used for a long time.  If you start having issues with sound quality, change headsets and see if it improves before spending too much time chasing down an assumed network or service issue.

Echo can be another problem. According to VoIP Mechanic, “The number one cause of echo is from voice traveling out from the earpiece or speaker back into the mouthpiece or what is referred to as acoustic echo. Turning down the volume of the phone can greatly reduce this cause for echo.” It is prudent to have the volume set to medium as opposed to high and to have the microphone position set below the lower lip.

It is important to remember that voice quality can be impacted by many factors – even the headset choice you make.

As a cloud communications service provider, nexVortex is committed to delivering high quality voice whether you own a PBX and subscribe to our SIP Trunking Service, or whether you decide that our Hosted Voice Service, delivered from the Cloud, is the right solution for your business.  To learn more about what makes us the leader in delivering voice quality, contact us today.


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