True wireless earbuds may be all the rage right now, but there’s another breed of specialized wireless headphones that are garnering attention. Bone conduction headsets have deep-seated roots in the hearing aid industry, but naysayers and die-hard fans abound. Let’s break down whether or not bone conduction headsets are a gimmick or something more
The idea behind bone conduction is to vibrate your skull with sound waves so that you can hear without having anything in your ears. The technology has been around for decades, originally being used as an alternative to hearing aids for those who have lost their ability to hear through their eardrums because of illness or injury. But how does it work?
How do bone conduction headphones work?
Ever wonder do bone conduction headphones work? We do too! Let’s dive into the science and engineering of this technology
Bone conduction is a form of hearing that doesn’t involve the eardrums. The vibrations from the bone-conducting headphone bypass your ear and head and go straight to your cochlea, which is where sound information gets translated into signals for the brain to decipher.
This technology has some advantages: it can be used by people with hearing deficiencies as it does not require any use of eardrums; some find it more comfortable than traditional headphones as they do not put pressure on the ears or cause soreness around them; some even say that there is a better bass response due to the direct contact with your bones.
The disadvantages are that this technology cannot be used in noisy environments as it is more difficult to hear external noises; and for people who wear glasses, it can be difficult to get a good seal around the bone conduction headphones. Also as you can imagine the audio quality can suffer too.
Despite these disadvantages, bone conduction technology is growing in popularity due to its many benefits. Headphone companies are incorporating this technology into their products and making it more accessible to a wider audience.
Why you should get bone conduction headphones
Many people are in favour of bone conduction headphones because they believe the technology is safer than traditional wired models. Others find it beneficial for those who have hard hearing, which makes outdoor workouts easier and more enjoyable with earbuds that don’t go all the way into your ear canal so you can hear what’s going on around you while running or exercising outdoors without bothering others nearby.
Bone conduction headphones offer a unique listening experience for those who are hearing impaired. Bone-conducted sound bypasses the ear canal and goes straight into your head, giving you an accurate representation of what’s playing at all times – whether that be music or voice messages. The lack-of interference with conventional devices makes them one great way to get around problems like jostling from other objects when using buds during physical activity, in addition, don’t have any negative impacts on quality either (unlike some headsets).
There is a time when bone conduction headphones are the best option for someone with impaired hearing. They provide clear sound quality and even do not have an effect on your ability to hear surroundings due to these being wireless or true-wireless earbuds that don’t require charging like most kinds usually do, so you can enjoy them anytime without worrying about running out of battery power!
Bone conductors might not be great at absolute loudness but they manage pretty well up until 80 dB, which makes it perfect if you want something near enough in range as what regular cans offer.
Why you shouldn’t get bone conduction headphones
Bone conduction nay-sayers harp on the importance of isolation, but it’s more than just repetition for its own sake; there are actually audible differences. Insulating your eardrums from outside clamour benefits clarity because a good seal mitigates auditory masking: what you hear will be less affected by sounds around you and therefore come through clearer with better quality audio playback in comparison to if they were transmitted via bone conduction instead.
If either one or both ears aren’t being used when listening then transmission accuracy is compromised – meaning that even though we get most of our information about media playback (the gist), since all frequencies cannot pass directly into our brain without issues caused due to interference between different types of waves and frequencies (phase cancellation, waveform translation and refraction), we lose a lot in the process.
If audio quality matters to you at all, avoid bone conduction cans.
Sound quality aside, the fit may be uncomfortable. Let’s take the Shokz Trekz Titanium, one of the more popular options; it rests atop your cheekbones and balances its weight on a small portion of your ears. It’s hard to maintain a stable fit when walking, let alone when doing more vigorous activities like running.
Those who fall into this camp believe you’re paying more for less. The concept is novel, but real-world use reveals many deficiencies. Of course, there are always two sides to a coin.
Bone conduction headphones are not for everyone. They can be uncomfortable; as they need to be tight against your bones, and the quality of sound is often less than what you would get with regular earbuds or over-the-head cans, but some people believe that these factors aren’t important enough to justify spending more on a product they’ll only use once every few months if at all (if ever).
This camp believes it’s paying top dollar when in reality many aspects about bone conductors disappoint even those who were looking forward most eagerly – namely me! I’ve tried out pretty much every type available so far including ones designed specifically around my needs which turned out disappointing after allowing myself too much hope since this technology is so new.
What are the best bone conduction headphones?
The Shokz Aeropex are a sleek and lightweight option for those looking to avoid bulky headphones. With an IP67 water-resistance rating, these bone conduction earphones will keep your ears dry in even the most challenging conditions!
They come with two physical buttons on their neck which allows you to control volume as well adjust mic settings without taking them off–a great feature when working out or doing other active things were removing one’s head isn’t possible because of how close together they sit atop our heads while worn normally (though not too tight). The noise-cancelling capabilities make this product perfect whether you’re trying to focus in a busy office or just want to drown out the sound of your surroundings on a plane ride.
The Shokz Trekz Titanium are our Editor’s Choice for the best open-ear headphones. They have a 6-hour battery life, which is about standard for this type of headphone, and are comfortable enough to be worn for extended periods of time. If you’re looking for bone conduction headphones that will stay in place while you work out, the Trekz Titanium are a great option!
For those who don’t mind spending more, we recommend the Bose Sport Open Earbuds. These earbuds have an 8-hour battery life and are completely waterproof, making them perfect for people who are active and outdoorsy. The Sport Open Earbuds headphones have a snug fit, ensuring that they will not fall off while you are working out.
Do bone conduction headphones work for hearing impaired?
People with specific types of hearing impairment, such as conductive hearing loss, mixed hearing loss, or single-sided deafness, may benefit from bone conduction headphones. These headphones work by sending sound vibrations through the skull’s bones, bypassing the outer and middle ear and directly activating the inner ear. Individuals with hearing loss may be able to hear noises that they would not be able to hear with standard headphones. However, bone conduction headphones may not be useful for people who have sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by injury to the inner ear or auditory nerve. Before utilising bone conduction headphones, always consult with an audiologist or hearing specialist to confirm they are appropriate for your specific type of hearing loss.
Don’t forget to look at our guide on why one headphone may be louder than the other
So, Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work?
In general, bone conduction headphones are not as good as regular headphones in terms of sound quality, but there are a few exceptions. If you’re looking for a lightweight and waterproof option, the Shokz Aeropex are a great choice! If you’re willing to spend a little more money, the Bose Sport Open Earbuds provide great sound quality and a snug fit.