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I've seen interpreters use lots of different types of headphones (and not the ones supplied in the meeting room).

What are the pros and cons of the different types and models?

I found this article on the Verband der Konferenzdolmetscher blog on the BDÜ site (CIs, members of the German Federation of Translators), but I'm also interested in your opinions.

Edit after reading some initial answers below:

  • What about the headset, over the ear vs. ear buds vs. In-ear; is the one less damaging to the ear than the other?
  • Does anyone know of any medical paper that studies the long-term effect of using in-ear headphones 20 days/month?

asked 12 Oct '11, 20:00

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

edited 02 Nov '11, 13:32

Delete's gravatar image

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After you've had to contend with some of the old-fashioned heavy or tight-fitting material still doing the rounds, anything lighter will be welcome.

I've only used the kind that loop over your ear - the Bang & Olufsens and now a Sony model.

B&O - pro: light, great sound, extension cord, beautiful design, easy to put on and adjust; cons: price, inconvenient fiddly leather pouch (that's easily remedied!), temptation for thieves (yes, mine are gone).

Sony - pro: light, ok sound, stay on my ears; cons - not adjustable; somehow not as easy to put on as B&Os, short cord

I believe low impedance helps sound quality as a rule, depending on the console, but don't quote me on that one... or at least do get some input from a sound expert.

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answered 12 Oct '11, 21:52

LingoJango's gravatar image


For somebody like me that sits nearly 20 days per month in the booth, headphone and sound quality is essential. Our standard headphones can literally give me a headache because they can be too tight which is why I bring my own B&O's to work. They are light, allow you to listen with just one ear or both ears, and you can keep the volume button turned if not down at least lower than with the standard headphones. An added plus especially for us women is that the B&O's do not restrict your choice of earrings :-).

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answered 13 Oct '11, 00:09

Sirpa's gravatar image



+1 for the earrings comment!

(13 Oct '11, 00:12) Vincent Buck

Good for your earrings, but less good for your hearing. :-( Please check with your doctor. In-ear-headphones can gradually dammage your hearing. B&O are not as near to the eardrum as other in-ear headphones, but still...

(14 Oct '11, 19:53) Angela

Angela I can assure you that the B&O's sit further away from your eardrums than over-the-head-earphones which are sit glued to your ears. You can adjust the B&O's at a suitable distance, even one closer to your ear than the other if you like, or just wear one. - As to my earring comment, I guess I ought to have made it gender-neutral so perhaps admin can delete the words "especially for us women"...

(30 Oct '11, 09:40) Sirpa

Erläuterung von Claudia Krüger (Tomatis Institut Köln:

Erklärung über die Anatomie und Physiologie: Bei In-Ohr-Kopfhörern wird der Gehörgang "verstopft", das Trommelfell kann zwar zurückwerfen, was ihm zuviel wird, aber das nützt nichts, weil es ja vom Kopfhörer wiederum zurückgeworfen wird...

Dieser Vorgang wiederholt sich insbesondere bei den "langwelligen" tiefen Frequenzen, die also lange erhalten bleiben und dem Cortex, der Gehirnrinde, die ja für schnelles Entscheiden, sofortiges Handeln gemacht ist, die Energie entziehen. Der Cortex bevorzugt nämlich hohe Frequenzen für sein Handeln...

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answered 16 Oct '11, 10:55

Angela's gravatar image


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answered 06 Oct '13, 22:27

Cyril%20Flerov's gravatar image

Cyril Flerov

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question asked: 12 Oct '11, 20:00

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