What is a Bluetooth&Reg; Earpiece?

N. Madison
N. Madison

A Bluetooth® earpiece is a type of wireless hands-free headset. The earpiece usually fits over or in a person's ear and allows him to hear and communicate over the phone, completely hands-free. An earpiece like this is called Bluetooth® for its type of technology, which uses radio waves. This allows for things like phones, computers, printers, PDAs, and GPS devices to communicate with each other, without using wires or cables.

A Bluetooth® earpiece.
A Bluetooth® earpiece.

One of the most popular uses of a Bluetooth® earpiece is for talking on a cell phone without having to hold the phone to the ear or deal with wired headsets. For example, a person may purchase a Bluetooth® earpiece that fits in the ear, much like the type of ear bud used with headphones. With this device, he can talk on the phone, fix his eyes on the road, and keep his hands firmly on the wheel. This is important not only for avoiding accidents, but also for staying on the right side of the law. Some places have laws that render it illegal to talk on a phone while driving, unless you are using an earpiece or headset that allows you to keep your hands totally free.

Some people may prefer to use over-the-ear Bluetooth® headsets instead of earpieces. The preference may be based on style, comfort, or a combination of both. This type of Bluetooth® earpiece hooks over the ear and positions the hearing device right in front of the ear's opening. Some over-the-ear models actually combine a Bluetooth® earpiece with an over-the-ear model, both hooking over the ear and sticking into it.

Buying a Bluetooth® earpiece may seem like an easy job. However, there are many factors to consider besides which color and style to purchase. For starters, a person has to consider his type of cell phone, as some cell phones, especially older models, may not be compatible with Bluetooth® technology. Sound quality is also important, and some models offer better overall sound and noise canceling than others. Even battery life is a factor with Bluetooth® earpieces; some manufacturers advertise more talk time between charges than others.

Range is another important factor, as it determines just how far you can roam from your phone; many Bluetooth® headsets allow you to get around 30 feet (9.14 meters) away from your phone without impaired function. This is the most common range. However, there are some that work as far away as 300 feet (91.44 meters) or more. The type you need depends on what you'll be doing while you talk on the phone. If you just plan to use your earpiece while driving or walking around with your phone in your purse or pocket, extended range probably won't be a major concern.

N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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