3 Types of Listen-Only Earpieces for Two-Way Radios

Listen only earpieces pair well with speaker mics to mute radio transmissions from being broadcasted out loud and bring it directly to your ear. Just like the name suggests, these earpieces are “listen only” meaning it doesn’t have a push to talk button or microphone so you won’t be able to respond back on the earpiece itself. To respond you’d need to use the push to talk and microphone on the radio or speaker mic.

FBI agent listening to radio on an earpiece in ear

Listen only earpieces are popular for staying covert and being able to listen in loud environmenrts. These earpieces are not just for portable radios, their 3.5mm or 2.5mm jack can plug into any device that has that port size.

The three most common types of listen only earpieces are as follows:

In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each so you can decide which style works best for you.

Acoustic Tube Earpiece

FBI agent wearing acoustic tube earpiece

The clear acoustic tube earpiece wraps around the back and over top of your ear with a traditional mushroom style ear tip placed inside your ear canal. You won't see a speaker on this earpiece because sound is traveled through the acoustic tube. This style of earpiece is most widely used by public safety including FBI, Law Enforcement, and Security Guards.


  • Most popular style of listen only earpiece.

  • Let's you swap out the traditional ear tip with a foam or custom molded ear tip to improve comfort and block noise.

  • The clear acoustic tube is perfect for staying covert.

  • The acoustic tube is removable making it easier to replace and clean.


  • The mushroom tip sitting inside your ear can cause ear fatigue when worn for long periods. Ear tip replacements are available like Comply Canal Tips and Custom Molded Ear Tips for better comfort.

  • Oftentimes moisture and earwax can sit in the clear acoustic tube making it hard to hear radio transmissions so proper cleaning and care is suggested.

  • The ear tip can fall out of ear if not properly placed.

D-Shape Earpiece

D-shape earpieces wrap around the back of the ear. Instead of having an ear tip go inside your ear canal, the speaker rest right along the outside of your ear. Because of this, this style of earpiece can be more comfortable than the acoustic tube earpiece.


  • Works well with people who wear hearing aids.
  • Better for people who experience ear fatigue from the traditional ear tips.
  • Speaker rests right outside of ear so it’s easier to hear.


  • This style can be uncomfortable if worn for long periods.
  • Not easily adjustable to ear shapes or when listening to the speaker

Flexible Foam Earpiece

The flexible foam earpiece is similar to D-shape because it wraps and rests behind the ear. This earpiece has an adjustable speaker that turns and moves up and down to adjust and contour to the person’s ear. This earpiece’s speaker also rests outside the ear, rather than inside the ear canal.


  • Adjustable speaker to fit any ear shape and size.
  • The foam cover over the speaker makes for better comfort.
  • Made with silicone so its more comfortable than plastic for long wear.


  • The speaker might move around which might require constant adjusting.
  • May take a few tries to adjust the speaker to be able to hear loud and clear.


When choosing a listen-only earpiece for your two-way radio, it is important to consider your specific needs and preferences. Whether you prioritize comfort, flexibility, or customization, each type of earpiece has its own advantages and limitations. It is recommended to try different options and seek expert advice if necessary to find the one that best suits your requirements.

This is where we come in...

Waveband Communications is the primary provider of OEM comparable two-way radio accessories. Our listen only earpieces enhance radio clarity and ensure covert communication. Discover the popularity of our listen only earpieces by trying one today. Shop now.

Listen-only earpiece

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