There is a very similar question to this, but all answers and discussion pertain to just the PC headphones, and not headsets (the headphones with microphones). Gaming headsets have a boom mic and cable with dual connectors (pink/green), both 3.5mm, one stereo (for headphones), the other mono (for the mic). Standard smartphone headsets have a mic on the cable and a single 3.5mm TRRS (tip-ring-ring-sleeve) combo connector. There are plenty cheap ones with active noise reduction, decent audio quality on both headphones and mics, and more importantly, many people already have them. There are also plenty of Bluetooth headsets (with mics).

A possible solution would be building a Bluetooth adaptor that could plug into the intercom, and then pair with the passenger’s headset to allow them to communicate with others. Bluetooth frequencies are well outside the range of any of the nav/com systems, and even so, they would give the pilot a good excuse to avoid passenger distractions during departure /approach (by turning the Bluetooth transceivers off). Resourceful home builders could easily get the necessary electronics for the Bluetooth transceiver (and adjust the impedance as needed).

If the mic (and headphone) impedances are reasonably close, wouldn’t a simple cable adapter be all that’s needed to enable connection?

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    $\begingroup$ Does this answer your question? Can normal PC headsets replace 'aviation' headsets? $\endgroup$
    – zymhan
    Jan 10 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ Something to note is that an adapter for the prong size would be required to even get the gaming headset to plug into aircraft jacks. Aviation jacks are not 3.5mm. Although, many audio panels have 3.5mm aux jacks for music, they are input only stereo jacks. As far as powering the microphone, the gaming headset would need its own power source for active noise canceling like ANC headsets have. But, whether the normally panel powered microphone set up of an aviation audio panel would work with a self powered mic is doubtful. There would need to be some type of circuitry in the adapter. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Jan 10 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ The answers to the prior question mainly focus on headphones (without a mic), rather than headsets (that include a mic). There are many quite cheap noise cancelling headsets with a microphone, with the only possible difference being the lack of noise cancelling on the mic itself. These may be perfect for passengers, if they could be properly be connected to the intercom. Nobody is making an adapter that will have a female 3.5 mm TRRS connector on one end and two plugs (6.3mm and 5mm, for aviation-standard headphones and mic) on the other end. These couldn't be that expensive to make. $\endgroup$ Jan 11 at 18:07

This is an interesting question. But, I don’t see what this solves. There are aviation headsets as cheap as $50. That is as cheap as gaming headsets. But, they are specifically designed for aviation to include passive noise reduction. There would be no advantage to using a gaming headset in aircraft.

The primary purpose of aviation headsets for the pilot is to provide clearer communication between the pilot and ATC. But, that purpose shares equal importance with the goal of hearing protection.

Small, General Aviation aircraft are very loud. But, aircraft have speakers and microphone handsets that make communication with ATC still possible. In decades past, headsets were not even worn in enclosed cabins. And, it has only been recently that the effects of noise has been considered a factor in fatigue. Unless the headset addresses the concern of noise reduction, it is of little benefit in the aircraft.

For passengers, noise reduction can be accomplished with industrial or firearm hearing protection. Non-crew member military personnel function with only standard earplugs aboard aircraft. Communication between personnel in the aircraft even with the doors open is accomplished through shouting over the ambient noise. As far as the pilot turning off a Bluetooth device to enforce “sterile cockpit” practices, that can already be accomplished as a built in function of the aircraft audio panel.

So, although a very simple adapter could be built to enable gaming headsets, cellphone headsets, and earbuds to be used in aircraft, it does not truly solve the problem you posed so far. And, it is not truly better than purpose-built aviation headsets. However, my purpose-built aviation headset is Bluetooth enabled, and can be used with a Bluetooth enabled computer like a gaming headset.

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    $\begingroup$ Foam earplugs are very poor in GA airplanes because the dominant noise is 70-90 Hz where foam doesn't don't work well. You think you're getting a decent noise reduction but your lower frequency hearing is getting hammered. I use 3M Push-Ins, the little yellow ones with the blue peg, with the shaft wrapped in few inches of lead foil tape, used to ballast golf clubs, then heat shrink tubing shrunk over the tape. The lead tape provides the required low freq damping, and they are VERY effective. If I have them on under my headset, I can turn my ANR off and can barely tell the difference. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Jan 10 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @JohnK. Although, it has been decades since I had to use military earplugs, that is good info to know. Now, I use Bose and Lightspeed. For shooting, I use purpose-built earmuffs. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Jan 10 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ Being cheap, I bought a Headsets Unlimited ANR retrofit kit for the Dave Clarks I've owned since about 1976, but I've been thinking of dropping the cash on one of those newfangled ones. They seem to perform about the same, but the Lightspeeds seem to be more robust (mostly metal construction). $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Jan 10 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ There are many very cheap noise-cancelling headsets out there that connect with a 3.5mm TRRS (smartphone) connector. This would work quite well for the passengers in the back seats, allowing them to hear the pilot, and if necessary, respond. $\endgroup$ Jan 11 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ The main idea is, people already have these headsets at home. If they can plug them into the intercom (as passengers), I wouldn't need to have extra headsets, for all the passengers. I wonder if the "helicopter adapter" would actually work (it has the 3.5mm female on one end and the two large male plugs on the other). $\endgroup$ Jan 11 at 18:20

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