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Headphone Jargon Explained


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Connection Type:




The standard connector at the end of headphones or earphones - used by most MP3 players, phones and PCs



A larger, largely historic connector for headphones.  These are often seen in Coomber boxes





Some computers now don't include a soundcard, or if they do, the connection is at the back of the computer.  If you don't have anywhere to plug in a 3.5mm jack, or you don't want pupils fiddling behind a computer, then having headphones with a USB connection can be required.

4 Pole


Whilst most computers have both a headphone socket (for sound to come out of computer) and a microphone socket (for sounds to go into computers), items such as tablets often only include one 3.5mm socket, for both sound out (headphones) and sound in (microphone).  Whilst normal 3.5mm headphones will work in these devices (to work solely as headphones), a special connection (4 Pole) enables a device to work not only as a headphone, but also as a microphone, when plugged into such a socket.




If you want to (almost) completely avoid the need for wires, bluetooth headphones can be used.  You plug a small USB dongle into the computer, and the headphones connect automatically via bluetooth.  However, to charge the headphones, they need to be connected via a wire to a USB socket!



Microphone Type:



Many headphones with microphones have the microphone built in to the cable.  This makes the microphone very unobtrusive.

Boom  boom.jpg

Boom microphones, on the other hand, stick out from one of the earpieces of the headphones, so that the microphone is positioned nearer to the user's mouth.  Some boom microphones are fixed in place - others are either a flexible design or can be swung out of the way when not required.  



Noise Limiting


Younger pupils are more susceptible to hearing damage if they are listening to loud noises.  For this reason, some headphones have been designed that limit the maximum volume played through such headphones to 85 decibels, to help protect the hearing of younger children.