When you're choosing an earbud for on-the-job calling and listening, there are a few immediate necessities that might come to mind for someone in the warehousing, construction, or trucking industry -- things like the clarity of the audio quality and ease of use, for instance. But that's not all you need to consider when shopping for a quality audio headset.
The last thing you want with a pair of earbuds is for them to get in the way of doing your job. The following features are things you maybe didn't know you needed in an earbud, but once you experience them firsthand, you'll wonder how you ever functioned without them.
#1: Durability and Resilience
Earbuds that easily break have no place in a warehouse, truck, or construction zone. You need to be able to get your earbuds wet, drop them, step on them, and not have to worry about being too careful with them when you're using them on the job.
One of the top features to look for in a pair of durable earbuds is resistance to water, sweat, and dust. Look for something that is Ingress Protection (IP) certified to make sure you're getting the best quality. In addition, look for earbud cables that are reinforced with something heavy-duty. Rubber tends to break down and rip over time, so choose something that's braided or reinforced for ultimate protection.
And finally, know that water-resistant is not the same as waterproof. If you spend a lot of time around water, ensure you're reading your labels correctly and opt for a pair of earbuds that have been tried and tested in marine environments.
#2: Noise Protection
Warehouses, construction sites, and truck cabs can be noisy places, and most earbuds don't offer ample, if any, protection against loud noise. Not only can noise be harmful to your hearing, it can create a dangerous work environment if you're trying to listen and communicate over a radio while you drive or operate equipment.
When you're looking for earbuds with noise protection, keep an eye out for the Certified Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). An NRR of at least 20db will give you proper protection from outside noise influences that could potentially damage hearing over time. Also, look for a brand of headphones that doesn't require batteries for the noise reduction features. This will ensure you always have the noise protection you need and won't slow you down on the job for having to stop and charge your earbuds.
Sick of earbuds falling out of your ears? Do your current earbuds feel like they're poking and prodding your ear canal? Finding a pair of earbuds with a comfortable fit can be a real challenge, but it shouldn't have to be difficult. Here are a few materials and design features to look for that can help you find a pair of durable earbuds that still feel good and fit right:
●Silicon: Silicon is a soft material that feels comfortable in your ears. Compared to hard plastic, silicone will stay put in your ears and stick to fit the shape of your ears.
●Memory Foam: Some earbud brands will offer memory foam tips you can place over the earbud speakers. This creates a more customized fit as the memory foam will mold to fit the shape of your ears and will a provide a more cushioned feel.
In addition to these materials, look for earbuds with a wraparound design or with extra fins. These features add additional support and help keep earbuds on your ears, even when you're wearing sunglasses or a hardhat.
Hearing and listening are a major part of your job, so don't compromise on the tools you need to do your job well. Use these features to help guide you in finding the best pair of earbuds for your professional or recreational life. By prioritizing durability and resilience, noise protection and comfort, you'll find a quality pair of earbuds that will change the way you communicate.
Tom Buske is Director of Sales, ToughTested.