In an open office, co-working space or cubicle setting, it's easy to get distracted by the hustle and bustle around you. Listening to music can really help you focus on the task at hand, or it can just brighten your day. Either way, consider using earphones so you don't drive your neighbors up the cubicle walls. In addition to playing music, some headphones and headsets can also be used to field phone calls, giving you some much-needed mobility and privacy. Choosing the perfect pair of headphones for work can be tricky if you don't know where to get started, so consider using this handy guide to help make an informed decision.
Take Your Tunes on the Go with Earbuds
A pair of earbuds can go anywhere with you. You can listen to music while you work in your cube, then toss them in your pocket and bring them to the gym. When you're traveling, they fit in your laptop bag with ease, and when you're not using them, you can stash them in your desk drawer. They're much more discreet than other styles, staying out of the way of hair, earrings, glasses and hats, which makes them more suited for professional environments where appearance matters. The main downside is that some earbuds don't provide the same sound quality and bass response as comparable larger headphones. For added mobility, you can choose a pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones. Some Bluetooth earphones even have features for making and answering phone calls, ideal for when you need to escape a loud room or have a private conversation.
Isolate Outside Noise with Over-Ear Headphones
Over-ear headphones are the type you see DJs, producers and other music-industry professionals wearing. Over-ear style forms that seal around your ear can help to eliminate external sounds and also seal your music in so it doesn't bother other people. As you can imagine, it's an ideal design when you're working in close quarters with other people and you don't want to be disturbed or disturb others. The sealed-in design can also provide good sound quality and a robust bass response. The drawback is that they're larger than other headphone options, so you may want to leave them in your cube at the end of the day.
Keep Comfy With On-Ear Headphones
If you're looking for a good middle ground between earbuds and over-ear headphones, on-ear headphones should fit the bill nicely. They rest comfortably on your ear, providing good sound quality in a relatively compact design. They don't isolate external and internal sound as well as earbuds or over-the-ear headphones, but that shouldn't be a problem unless you work in a fairly loud environment. They're not quite as portable as ear buds, but they aren't a burden if you decide to take them with you on the go.
Field Calls and Listen to Music with a Headset
Phone headsets are an ideal choice if you spend a significant amount of time on the phone throughout your workday. They have integrated microphones so the person you're speaking with can hear you crystal-clear. Of course, when you're not using the phone feature, you can still listen to music on them. There are many different types of headsets available, including USB headsets for internet phone calls, traditional phone headsets, and Bluetooth earpieces for your smartphone and even wireless headset models for standard phones so you can enjoy freedom of movement while you talk. You're probably not going to bring these headphones outside of the office, and that's okay. They're designed specifically for professional use. If phone call quality is your first priority, consider opting for a headset.
If you're still not sure which type of earphones to choose, focus on specific attributes, such as comfort, noise cancellation, mobility and phone call quality. With those factors in mind, you can select the style that fits your criteria. Each type of headphone offers its own unique benefits, but there may also be overlap. For example, noise-cancelling earbuds are portable, and they also drown out external noise. Consider which features are most beneficial in the context of your work environment. Finally, consider having multiple pairs of headphones for different occasions and settings.
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