Choosing The Best Headphones For Transcription

Last updated on July 11, 2020

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One of the key tools that every transcriber needs is a good headphone.

I’ve received many inquiries from people who are interested in working online as transcribers, wanting to know which headphones are suitable.

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What factors should one consider when choosing headphones for transcription, and which are some of the best brands available?

Let’s take this away!

An important asset that every transcriber has is their ear. 

Transcribers need to have excellent listening skills, and they tend to spend a lot of time transcribing, and therefore it is imperative that they choose headphones that will not damage their ears

Transcribers generally spend about three to five hours transcribing one audio hour, and it’ll take a newbie double that time.

Seeing that so much time is spent transcribing an audio file, it is important that you purchase the right headphones. 

When you are ready to buy your transcription headset, you should essentially be looking at these three factors:

  • Comfort
  • Price
  • Your working environment


As I’ve stated above, you might be spending anything from four to eight hours wearing your headphones.

As such, comfort is key. 

If you’re looking for headphones for transcription work, look for ones that aren’t too heavy as this will create undue pressure on your head and neck.

If you wear spectacles like yours truly here,  you’ll need to be even more conscientious about the headphones you choose, as that will make the difference between your headphones pressing your spectacles or not.

Consider purchasing headphones that have ear cushions for more comfort.

Read Also: Awesome Tips for Transcribers


This is self-explanatory. You need to get headphones that are within your budget.

Note that the cheaper the headphones, the less features it might have.

For example,  it’s advisable to purchase headphones that allow you to reduce or increase the volume on the headset, rather than desperately having to reduce them on your PC when the speaker laughs at the top of his voice.

Closely related to price is durability. You don’t want to purchase headphones that will be of no use to you within a month or two.

Read Also: TranscribeMe – An awesome work at home opportunity for transcribers

Your Working Environment

If you live in a noisy neighborhood, or if your kids are around when you are desperately trying to get some work done,  you need to get noise cancellation headphones. 

This headphones muffle any background noises and help you better concentrate on the work at hand. 

If you think you will accurately decipher audio through computer speakers, you are mistaken, especially when you are working on low-quality audio.

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What Type of  Headsets Are Available?

Over-the-ear Headphones


These headphones are great for transcription work.

They are very comfortable, especially for extended wear.  Usually, the ear pads fit snugly and cover the whole ear. These headphones can help reduce background noise quite efficiently.

On-ear Headphones

These headphones usually don’t cover the whole ear, as you can see in the image. Comfort can vary considerably compared to over-the-ear headphones.



Earphones are quite affordable and if storage is an issue, they tend to not take up a lot of space.

However, these gadgets are aimed at mobile-phone users and I do not find them ideal for transcribers.

Still, it’s really a matter of personal comfort.

Wireless Headphones


If you love your freedom and flexibilty, and much prefer not being tethered like a cow 🙂 then you may opt to get wireless headphones.

Truth be told, the headphone cord tends to get all tangled up on the chair and can sometimes be damaged.  

But one major drawback of wireless headphones is they tend to be very sensitive and can be easily damaged when dropped, compared to the previous headphones that I have mentioned.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

One of the best headphones for transcription work are noise cancellation ones.

They have a device that monitors outside noise, making for a clearer more pleasant experience when worn.  

They are usually bulkier than ordinary headphones. You may also want to purchase headphones that have a mic.

This may come in handy when you’re having conversations on Skype or Google handouts.

Now that you have read about the factors that you should consider when choosing the best headphones for transcription work, as well as the types of ear gear that are available, let’s take a look at some popular brands.

Popular Headphone Brands

The following brands can be found in any computer accessory shop and in online shops like Amazon.

Bose Quiet Comfort 35 –  Bose headphones are known for their awesome noise-cancellation features, as well as for their reliability and comfort.  Well worth their ‘pricey’ price 🙂

Sony Stereo Headphones –  Great headphones with good sound quality. Affordable.  Lightweight as well.

Seinnheiser  Open Back Headphones –  These are headphones that will reward you with great sound quality.

Take your time when you’re choosing headphones for transcription work.

I hope you’ll find a headset that is suitable for you and comfortable for this enjoyable transcription career!

Over to you, what do you love about the headphones you’re currently using? Any more tips you’d like to share?

About the author

Virginia Nakitari is a work from home mom passionate about making money online. She's here to show you legitimate companies offering full-time, part-time and remote jobs from home! Stay tuned!

  • The one I’m currently using has adjustable features.. I can make them loose or tight to suit my comfort. However i have seen the need to upgrade to one of quality. Thanks for the eye opener 😊

  • Hi Sheeroh,

    Very informative read. I purchased mine in Dec for transcription purposes, i guess if i knew what i now know would have gone for something different. Am using on ear headphones- sound good, vol. adjustable but you can still hear slight background noise. Are these okay for a beginner?

    • Hi Sylvia. For a beginner yes. But plan on purchasing headphones, if not noise cancellations ones then get over the ear cup ones.

  • Hello. Am a glad you finally got around to doing this. I have been hounded by background noise and listening sets that leave me with nasty headaches and sore ears for ages. Thanks to this I hope I won’t have to revert to sound dampeners as I have been doing to aid my work, I live right next to a busy road after all.
    Do you have further advice for this issue?

    • Noise cancelling headphones will sort you out Edwin. If you are able to re-arrange your schedule and work at night when it’s quieter that would really help.

  • I have a transcription account but have never used it to make any cash because of unreliable earphones. I have wanted to get new earphones for long but the price ooohhhh……..

    • You can get headphones that are cheap as Kshs 500. But remember the saying, Cheap is expensive’? We need to take care of our ears..

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