4th article in a series about classroom headphones and headsets.
Headphone cords vary between straight or coiled as well as in thickness. The decision as to which type to go with is often based simply on preference. Should educators want to make an informed decision, a better of understanding of the available choices can help them make the right choice when fitting students with headphones.
A coiled cord typically offers more flexibility as it can extend to allow for further reach for a student wearing headphones when using a media player or computer if need be. It generally is coiled only in the middle (with a straight cord at both ends) to prevent tangling when other cords are attached to a jackbox or boombox. Most of the Califone® monaural headphones in the 2924AV series (not including the AVPS model) and the Sound Alert™ 2985PG have coiled cords. The switchable stereo/mono 3068AV headphone has a hybrid cord which is coiled in the middle and straight at the ends. In terms of safety precaution, coiled cords can also minimize the risk of choking for smaller students who prefer to play around and twist the cords. However, in an effort to reduce the temptation of twisting coiled cords, the Listening First™ 2800 and 2810 headphones come equipped with straight cords.
Since straight cords tend to be a bit longer and thinner, this type, found most often on stereo headphones such as the deluxe 2924AVPS, multimedia 3060AV, and superior SA-740, may be a wiser choice for students who are more grown up as they are more likely to refrain from causing any damage or picking at them. All of the Explorer, Discovery, 610, and Odyssey series employ straight cords. The headsets with a USB plug (the 2800 and 2810 series, 3064USB, 3066USB, and 4100USB) have slightly longer straight cords to reach computer ports. Headsets with a 3.5mm plug (such as the 3064AV) also have straight cords.
Most headphone cords are permanently attached with a reinforced cord connection so that the cord won’t strain and can resist accidental pull out for classroom safety. A replaceable cord can be effective in heavy-use situations like computer labs and library media centers where equipment damage and cost is a concern.