Headsets are becoming a popular addition at the University of Ottawa. Prior to the University purchasing its own PBXs, there was a limited requirement for headsets. The most popular models today are monorial headsets. These are lightweight, adjustable headband and have one-ear listening capability. Typically these units have an umbilical cord attaching the headset to the amplifier base.
Though these units are comfortable to wear, allow you to direct the control of volume and to "mute" a call, they also restrict the movement of the person wearing the device.
The disadvantage of headsets with umbilical cords is that they tend to result in tangled cords and require an "operator" or "customer service representative" to remove the headset to be able to move from their work area.
Headsets with cords are not particularly useful in areas where:
- the operator is moving from a desk to a counter area or
- to areas where filing cabinets are located in the office.
In these instances, cordless headsets are more useful.
Recent developments in headset technology have resulted in the availability of cordless headsets. Units vary significantly in the areas that they can cover. "Satellite" units, for example, give you the freedom to walk while you talk within a 150 foot (50 metre range of the base unit). It transmits at a frequency in the 900mz range, similar to top-of-the-line portable phones. Units operating in this frequency range tend to allow for greater coverage area.
One product that has been implemented at the University has specifications which claim potential for operation in an office area as large as 50,000 square feet (8000 metres). The method in which this is accomplished is using "radio waves" to transmit. Features, such as multi-channel scan, automatically select the best of 40 available channels.
The typical battery life on the cordless units being used at the University is six hours of continuous talk time on a single charge. We recommend that users of these devices obtain a second optional battery for their units. Doing so will increase the availability of the unit to 12 hours of continuous talk time.
Cordless Headsets Using Infra-Red
Some of the cordless headsets currently on the market use infra-red as a method of communicating between the base unit and the headset. These systems allow for hands-free operation. These units are short-range systems that provide privacy and high transmission quality.
Infra-red is a technology similar to the one used in television, remote-control units. Cordless headsets using infra-red technology are designed to be used in enclosed, walled work spaces up to 12' x 12'. To ensure quality of service between the base unit and the headset, obstructions should be removed.
If you move out of range while using an infra-red cordless headset, the system automatically puts your call on hold until you are back within range. This can be really annoying to callers.
Cordless units using infra-red typically require line of site to operate effectively. The signals that are produced using infra-red do not penetrate walls, go through doorways or down hallways.
Care should be taken when requesting headsets. Coverage areas vary substantially between various models and manufacturers. Cordless means freedom from cord not freedom to wander without restrictions.
Troubleshooting Your Cordless Headset
There is no sound in the speaker's headset
- Check that all cords and jacks are connected as shown in the User Guide
- Make sure that the Quick Disconnect is fully inserted into the belt-pack, that the AC adapter (power cord) is plugged in and has power.
- Check that the ON/OFF switch is in the ON position and the ON LED is lit.
- Ensure that the battery is properly installed in the belt-pack and that it has been recharged.
Your headset isn't loud enough; you can't hear the person at the other end.
- Adjust the volume control on the belt-pack until you reach a comfortable level.
- If your telephone set is equipped with volume control, you may have to increase the volume on the set.
- If you are operating in a noisy environment, placing foam cushions over the speaker portion of the unit will reduce room noise
- If room noise persists, there may be a need to use a binaural (dual-speaker) headset model. (Consult the Service Desk)
The person at the other end can't hear me
- Check that the headset is properly connected to the remote unit
- ensure that the MUTE button on the belt-pack is in the OFF position and that the MUTE light is not lit up.
- Ensure that your battery has sufficiently charged.
- If the previous checks do not remedy the problem, contact the Service Desk at extension 6555 or online.
The person at the other end can barely hear me
- Try adjusting the transmit level using the transmit (TX) volume wheel on the back of the base unit.
- Ensure that the Mute button on the belt-pack is in the OFF position and that the MUTE light is not lit up.
- Check the position of your headset microphone and ensure that it is near the corner of your mouth.
Your headset produces a buzzing sound
- This could result from the base unit being too close to your telephone and, therefore, causing interference. Try moving the base away from the phone.
- If problem persists, contact us at extension 2433 or electronically.
My headset produces a howling sound
- Either your transmit level is too high for your phone or your phone's volume control is set too high.
- Try adjusting one or both controls to an adequate level.
I can hear my voice in the speaker
- This is a normal occurrence. If you believe that the tone is too loud, adjust the signal by adjusting the transmit (TX) control wheel at the rear of the base to a lower level.
- Turn down the volume on your telephone if it is equipped with a volume control. On the MITEL sets, volume controls are indicated by up and down arrows on the sets. For Superset 420s, the keys are labelled with arrows and labelled "Volume Tone Contrast".
General Facts About Headsets
- At the University, we program a button on your telephone set for headset use. When you wish to use your telephone without having to use the headset, you can disable the headset using the key that has been programmed on your set.
- In call centre environments, the system can be programmed to allow additional functionality such as automatically picking up the next call without having to physically press any buttons. Care should be taken when implementing this feature. When in use, this feature results in a short tone being broadcast to the headset followed by the incoming caller being on the line. If you are not careful and conscious of the tone, you could have a caller on the line without realizing it .
- At the University, we tend to use headsets in areas that have a high number of calls.
- In a call centre environment, we use a combination of headsets and PBX features to compliment call handling.
Troubleshooting Your Non-Cordless Headset
Non-cordless headset combinations consist of two primary components including an amplifier, and a headset. To supplement these components, an adapter, that connects at the back of the (amplifier) unit and plugs into the wall, is required.
The units installed at the University consist of a base (amplifier) unit with one rotary dial for volume control and two buttons: one which controls availability of the headset and a Mute button which can be used as a method to interrupt conversation.
Many of the Troubleshooting tips and techniques outlined under "Troubleshooting Cordless Headsets" apply to non-cordless models. As a matter of reference, please review the preceding section of this document.
Questions and Answers
If you disconnect the Quick Connect plug on the headset cord will it disconnect the call?
- If you need to walk away from the telephone during a conversation, you can disconnect the Quick Connect plug without being disconnected from your call. It is, however, recommended that you use the Hold Key to place the caller on Hold. To re-establish the call, press the Hold Key again to get the caller back on the line.
Can using a headset affect my hearing?
- Some manufacturers claim that their headsets have features such as "Automatic Gain Control" with a Quick Cut feature that protects hearing from sudden unexpected blasts of volume (like those caused when accidentally dialling a fax machine or modem).
How Can I Obtain a Headset?
- Computing and Communications Services has evaluated and implemented both cordless and corded headsets at a number of locations on campus. Should you wish to obtain technical specifications, demonstration of the product or pricing please ask your administrative officer or administrative assistant to the contact us.