In recent years, bone conduction headphones have grown in popularity. Because of its unique open-ear design, many manufacturers and advertisers promote it as a miracle device that will cure us of the dangers of wearing headphones outside and hearing loss caused by headphones.
Others, however, disagree. Are bone conduction headphones safe?
Many people are interested in the novel technology behind bone conduction headphones. However, there is ongoing debate about its safety. Which side do you support?
If you’re one of those caught between the two camps, don’t worry! This article should answer all of your questions about the safety of bone conduction headphones and more.
HOW DO BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES WORK?
Before delving into the safety of bone conduction headphones, it’s critical to understand how they work. To provide context, the most common types of headphones produce sound through speakers, also known as drivers.
Sound is transmitted through vibrations in the air and into the eardrum using these speakers. Bone conduction headphones, on the other hand, employ a completely distinct technology. Sound vibrations pass through the jaw and skull bones when using bone conduction headphones.
They then travel directly into the cochlea, where they are transmitted to the brain. This means that the sound bypasses other ear structures such as the eardrum. The sound is then heard from within the ear rather than from outside.
WHAT IS BONE CONDUCTION TECHNOLOGY?
This seems like a good place to start; we didn’t know the answer to this question not long ago. That is, until we conducted extensive research.
The goal of bone conduction technology is to take advantage of how the human body detects sound. Our ears receive sound in two ways: through air conduction and through bone conduction. There is a distinction between the two.
1. Air Conduction
Most sounds are heard through air conduction; our eardrums detect vibrations and sound waves in the air and direct them to the cochlea, which converts them into the sound we hear.
The cochlea is the organ within our inner ear (the part that resembles a snail) that is in charge of our sense of hearing. It converts sound waves and vibrations into nerve impulses, which our brains can interpret.
2. Bone Conduction
The second method of hearing sounds, and the most important for this blog, is bone conduction. The main difference this time is that the sound rumbles its way into our inner ear by reverberating through our bodies.
More specifically, through our bones, such as our skull, jawbone, or spine. These sounds still end up in the cochlea, but unlike most sounds, they do not pass through the eardrum. Instead, it vibrates through our bodies until it is detected by our cochlear.
In terms of sound technology, bone conduction is a method of ‘feeling’ sound rather than simply hearing it. The vibrations reach our cochlea from all around us, rather than being transmitted directly into our eardrum.
SO, ARE BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES SAFE?
Bone conduction headphones are a relatively new consumer technology. However, bone conduction has a long history of use for people who have certain types of hearing loss.
In fact, it is widely assumed that Beethoven used this technique when he suffered from hearing loss later in life. He could hear the music through the vibrations in his mouth if he put a metal rod between his piano and his mouth.
Despite its history of use in hearing aids, this does not necessarily imply that they are safe or will not cause hearing loss, as many companies claim. Although these companies would like to claim that bone conduction is completely safe, this is not entirely true.
The issue of headphone safety is complicated. True, headphones and earbuds have a bad rep at times. However, whether they are safe for hearing loss or not is largely dependent on how they are used. The same is true for bone conduction headphones.
Aside from hearing loss, there is one unmistakable way bone conduction headphones are safe. They have an open-ear design that allows users to hear what is going on around them. This promotes safety because any warnings or dangers can still be heard.
It is entirely up to you whether or not to use bone conduction headphones. However, knowing the advantages and disadvantages of these headphones can assist you in weighing your options and determining what is best for you.
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Hearing Aids History
Some claimed that Beethoven used this method when he suffered from hearing loss in his later years. If he put a metal tube between his mouth and the piano, he could hear the sound through the movements of his lips.
Although hearing aids have been used for a long time, this does not necessarily imply that they are safe or will not cause hearing impairments. While some companies would have you believe that bone conduction is completely safe, this is not entirely true.
Safety Of Bone Conduct Headphone
The issue of bone-conduction headphone safety is a difficult one to address thoroughly. Earbuds and headphones do have a bad reputation at times. However, whether or not they are appropriate for the hearing impaired problem is largely dependent on how they are used.
Bone conducting headphones are in the same category. While bone-conduction headphones have numerous design and safety advantages over traditional headphones, they can cause hearing problems when played at excessively loud volumes.
Hearing loss is at least a possibility with bone conduction, as it is with air conduction. The cochlea, where all sound waves eventually wind up whether they arrived via bone or air, gets harmed by the high loudness, not just the eardrum.
In general, we can conclude that using bone conduction headphones is safe. As long as the volume does not exceed the limit of your ears, everything will be OK.
Alternative Video: Are Bone Conduction Headphones Right For You?
BONE CONDUCTION OPERATES IN A DIFFERENT WAY
Because bone conduction technology operates differently than air conduction technology, it employs sound in a different manner.
Whereas traditional headphones direct sound directly into the eardrum, that noise becomes absolute, which means it becomes the dominant sound we hear, drowning out other noise. Noise-cancelling headphones work by blocking out other noises, surrounding the eardrum, and blasting sound directly through it.
Bone conduction headphones work differently because they do not isolate noise. Because the eardrum is bypassed, noise does not enter the cochlea from a single direction. This means that the user is still able to hear other noises.
This doesn’t matter as much in a quiet environment, but for those listening to music or spoken audio while running or cycling, it can have a lot of safety benefits. It enables the user to continue listening to their preferred audio while maintaining a high level of awareness of what is going on around them.
Some cyclists and joggers are concerned about using headphones while exercising because it can cause a loss of situational awareness. Bone conducting headphones eliminate this issue and are almost certainly safer in this scenario than noise-cancelling headphones.
CAN BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES DAMAGE HEARING?
Any sound that enters your cochlea as a result of a stimulus has the potential to cause hearing damage, but this is greatly exaggerated in almost every post I read.
Because loud sound into your eardrums is the most common cause of hearing damage, bone conduction is one of the safest ways to hear due to not utilizing your eardrums, so are bone conduction headphones bad for your ears?
Because of their design and implementation, bone conduction headphones are safer than traditional headphones. Because they don’t force air into your ears, they have less of a chance of causing hearing problems directly related to your eardrum than standard headphones can when played too loudly and for too long.
The majority of ear damage occurs when standard headphones sit over your ear and push and pull air against your eardrums. Anyone who uses bone conduction or traditional air conduction headphones risks cochlear damage.
This is possible with all types of earphones when they are overutilized and overused. Simply because an earphone uses bone conduction transducers does not make it safer to use by default; anyone who claims otherwise is selling something.
Any earphone, including bone conduction sound, is transduced in your cochlea in the same way that standard air conducted sound is.
THE CASE AGAINST BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES
No product is perfect. In the case of bone conduction headphones, there are some common concerns reported by users that you should be aware of.
1. False Advertisements
Have you ever had this happen to you? You are blown away by the amazing features of a product while reading its description. However, when you read the reviews, you will notice that they are all either negative or completely different.
Any company attempting to market a product will sell you on its fantastic features. They’d be less likely to share any negatives. Some people claim that bone conduction headphones do not cause hearing loss.
That is simply not the case. The real danger of hearing loss, according to the CDC, stems from potential damage to the cochlea in the inner ear.
Sustained exposure to loud sounds can damage the hairs and nerves in the cochlea. Because bone conduction headphones still send sound to the cochlea, they can still cause hearing loss if used improperly.
2. Headaches And Vertigo
When comparing bone conduction headphones to standard headphones, some negative side effects have been reported. Bone conduction headphones are typically worn on your temples. As a result, wearing bone conduction headphones may become uncomfortable or cause headaches.
When using them, some users have reported vertigo or dizziness. The vibrations used to transmit sound through the cheekbones are primarily responsible for these effects. Not everyone can adjust to hearing things in a new way.
Furthermore, as the volume of your music increases, the vibrations become more intense, leaving astrange sensation on your cheekbones. Ill-fitting headphones can also be the source of the problem. If they don’t sit properly or put too much pressure on the head, they may experience discomfort.
Nobody is the same, so your results and experiences will undoubtedly differ from those of others. If you’re one of those who has these issues, you can solve them by keeping the volume low and ensuring the proper fit.
3. Skin Irritation
Bone conduction headphones put pressure on the skin above your ears. Some people experience skin irritation when wearing them for extended periods of time.
It is natural for any product that is used or worn for an extended period of time to cause discomfort. If you’re thinking about using bone conduction headphones, you should give them a try for a while to see if you experience any of these side effects.
THE CASE FOR BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES
As bone conduction headphones continue to gain in popularity and usage, there are clearly many who feel that the benefits outweigh the negatives. No wonder why there are many types of bone conduction headphones on the market today!
1. Help Make The Hearing Impaired “Hear”
As previously stated, bone conduction headphones have a unique application for people who have certain types of hearing loss, depending on the part of the ear affected. Sound waves can bypass areas that aren’t working properly by going straight to the cochlea.
Furthermore, they are not worn directly in or on the ear. They are often more comfortable to wear when wearing hearing aids and produce less feedback.
2. Keep Aware Of The Surroundings
How many times have you been completely engrossed in your favorite music, completely unaware that someone is attempting to get your attention? It’s a common problem to be unable to hear what’s going on around you.
However, with bone conduction headphones, your ears are free. You don’t have to turn off your music to hear what’s going on around you. The ability to be aware of your surroundings while listening to music is a significant benefit of bone conduction headphones.
3. Great Use For Different Professions
Many professions necessitate regular communication as well as situational awareness. Soldiers, for example, must be constantly aware of their surroundings. Wearing earpieces can be dangerous because they may prevent you from hearing and reacting to a dangerous situation.
They can communicate with their team while remaining safe and situationally aware by using bone conduction headphones. Athletes such as runners and cyclists can also benefit from bone conduction headphones.
To stay safe, these outdoor sports necessitate a certain level of awareness. Furthermore, using bone conduction headphones allows users to remain aware of their surroundings.
Plus, most bone conduction headphones can be worn with safety helmets and other gears. You won’t have to sacrifice anything just to upgrade your ride with some music.
CAN BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES CAUSE HEARING LOSS?
The majority of hearing loss is caused by long, continuous noise, which is common in a work environment with consistent noises such as aircraft engines, jackhammers, or other loud and consistent noises.
Because MP3 player earphones cannot produce levels high enough to cause eardrum perforation, users are not at risk of eardrum damage from any type of earphone.
Rather, overuse of any type of earphone puts listeners at risk of cochlear damage. The use of bone-conduction transducers in these earphones does not make them any safer than any other earphone, as bone-conducted sound is transduced by the cochlea in the same way that air-conducted sound is.
Fortunately for the majority of people, portable devices such as bone conduction headphones do not typically have the ability to reach this level of sound.
ARE THERE SAFETY BENEFITS TO BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES?
There are actually several safety benefits to using bone conduction headphones. Before it was commercialized the technology was actually used for several other purposes. As with many advances in technology it was initially used by the military to help transmit sound in a non-traditional way.
It has since been adapted over the years to aid in the advancement of hearing aid technology, allowing those who are deaf to pick up sound in a way that allows them to hear as well as anyone else.
There are several types of deafness, but bone conduction technology in hearing aids has been life-changing for those afflicted with eardrum deafness. These people pick up all of their sounds in this manner and have no complaints about the technology’s safety.
Everyone has different preferences and life experiences. Some people swear by bone conduction headphones, while others prefer to stick with more traditional options. Whatever style you prefer, protecting your hearing is critical.
If you want to keep your ears safe in the long run, avoid prolonged exposure at high volumes. This is true regardless of whether you are using traditional or bone conduction headphones.
What are your thoughts? Do you like bone conduction headphones, or do you prefer other types of headphones? If we missed any advantages or disadvantages of bone conduction headphones, please let us know in the comments section below!
FAQs About Bone Conduction Headphones
Can bone conduction headphones damage your hearing?
Long-term exposure to loud sounds can harm the cochlea’s hairs and nerves. Because bone conduction headphones still transmit sound to the cochlea, they can cause hearing loss if used incorrectly.
Are bone conduction headphones good for your brain?
The use of bone-conduction transducers in these earphones does not make them any safer than any other earphone, as bone-conducted sound is transduced by the cochlea in the same way that air-conducted sound is.
Are there any side effects to bone conduction headphones?
While bone conduction headphones bypass the eardrum, they can still cause inner ear hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), one of the most common types of hearing loss, occurs when the cochlea loses its stereocilia, which are tiny hairs that affect your brain’s ability to interpret sounds.
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