Do Bone Conduction Headphones Leak Sound? (Answered!)

Bone Conduction Headphones are a true one-of-a-kind piece of technology. They are unmistakably distinct from any other earbuds on the market. On the other side, do bone conduction headphones leak sound?

When used at maximum volume, all headphones can leak sound. A certain amount of sound leakage is normal and tolerable. Bone conduction headphones do not leak as much sound like other types of headphones. On average, bone conduction headphones leak more sound than in-ear headphones.

Read on to learn why there’s sound leakage from bone conduction and all forms of headphones. We will also share a few handy tips that will help you reduce sound leakage.

Can Bone Conduction Headphones Leak Sound?
Can Bone Conduction Headphones Leak Sound?

WHAT IS HEADPHONE SOUND LEAKAGE?

The effect of music escaping from your headphones into the outside world is known as sound leakage (bleed). When others can hear your music, it bothers those who prefer silence and diminishes your sense of privacy.

It is more audible at higher volumes (high sound pressure level) and is heavily influenced by the type of headphones used. Over-ear headphones tend to leak more than on-ear headphones (but depend on-ear cups).

On the other hand, at low volume, it’s often impossible to hear. No headphones have perfect passive noise isolation (but in-ear headphones are usually the best). Therefore, all headphones “bleed” some of the music from the interior environment (your ears and inside of ear cups) to the exterior or outside world.

WHY DO HEADPHONES LEAK SOUND?

Headphones leak sound because some air vibrations pass through the ear cups and ear pads that are supposed to keep it out. The more volume there is, the more sound leakage there is. With the limited materials used to make a standard pair of headphones, it is physically impossible to stop all sound.

While many modern headphones employ thick sound-absorbing materials to improve sound isolation, some audio leakage is always present. Sound is essentially air pressure moving air particles that our ears can detect.

The maximum volume setting creates a high-pressure level that can cause hearing loss. The sound travels from the starting point all the way around until it gradually diminishes with range.

Physical objects made of plastics, wood, and sound-absorbing foam can be used to stop it from spreading. Nonetheless, some sounds will always be audible in the distance between your ears (when listening to music with headphones) and in a short-range around you.

To block sound to inaudible levels, an uncomfortably large amount of material would be required, making headphones cumbersome and useless.

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WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT SOUND LEAKAGE IN HEADPHONES?

When you don’t want other people to hear your music or videos, headphone sound leakage is a problem (it can be embarrassing). Furthermore, if the sound can leak out, it can also break-in. As a result, background noise can degrade your listening experience.

Would you like it if everyone in the office or on your commute knew what music you were listening to? Most people value their privacy when it comes to what they listen to.

We occasionally travel to strange places on the internet simply because we have nothing better to do. Consider how humiliating it would be if everyone knew what you were listening to. Purchase headphones with low sound bleed and listen to your music alone.

Alternative Video: Bone Conduction Headphones – Pros vs Cons

Bone Conduction Headphones – Pros vs Cons

WHY DO BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES LEAK SOUND?

All headphones, according to RTINGS.com, leak some sound; bone conduction headphones also leak sound because sound escapes from the sides of the transducers. The drivers in the headphones vibrate to produce sound.

The vibrations are strong enough to create small gaps between your skin and the headphones. There will be even more leakage if your bone-conducting headphones have vents. When you listen to loud music, the problem is exacerbated because the drivers produce even stronger vibrations.

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Because of this, bone-conducting headphones leak more sound than in-ear earbuds. To create a strong seal, some in-ear headphones or earbuds use silicone or foam tips. Bone conduction headphones, on the other hand, lack the ability to create a seal.

They sit directly against your skin and may even move slightly if they aren’t snug enough. When you combine this with loud metal slamming against your temple, you have a recipe for sound leakage.

BUT HOW BAD IS THE SOUND BLEED ON BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES?

It’s very similar to other types of headphones, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most people won’t be able to hear your music unless you play it at a very high volume, so you can listen to classical rock if you want.

When was the last time you heard someone on the street with their earbuds on? There is already so much traffic and other noise that it is difficult to hear anything. As a result, your music session remains private. If you want to be extra cautious, turn down the music a notch.

Only in extremely quiet environments will someone be able to hear the sound from your bone conduction headphones. Some music can also be heard by people sitting very close to you. Keep this in mind when you’re sitting next to strangers on an airplane, bus, or train.

HOW TO TEST FOR SOUND LEAKAGE IN HEADPHONES?

  • Borrowing a friend’s headphones is the best way to test for sound leakage.
  • Allow him or her to wear the headphones (properly, with a tight fit and appropriate ear tips – if earphones).
  • Then start the music and turn it up.
  • It’s best to test in a quiet area, and you’ll quickly notice when the headphones begin to leak.

Because you are unlikely to have the necessary equipment to objectively measure sound bleed, you should rely on your senses. When testing, try different types of music because some may leak more than others. Play with the volume and keep the leakage starting point in mind.

After you get a good sense of where the critical point (if you find it) you can swap the roles and let your friend tell you what he or she thinks.

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR HEADPHONES ARE LEAKING SOUND?

Aside from the above-mentioned test with a friend, you can also use a microphone to record the leakage.

  • Set up the microphone to begin recording (like a smartphone)
  • Put on your headphones.
  • Experiment with volume.
  • Play the recording.

Another method for determining whether your headphones are leaking sound is to use another method to simulate sound isolation as if you were wearing them (for on-ear and over-ear headphones).

You can use your hands, other body parts, or objects. Even if the results aren’t as precise, you’ll be able to tell which headphones leak the most sound.

Do Bone Conduction Headphones Leak Sound?
Do Bone Conduction Headphones Leak Sound?

WHAT TYPE OF HEADPHONES LEAKS THE MOST?

  • Due to their open-to-air design, which does not block air vibration, open-back headphones have the highest leakage.
  • Semi-open headphones come in a close second, performing slightly better than fully open headphones while still omitting a significant amount of music.
  • Closed-back headphones have the least amount of leakage.

Nowadays, most headphones are closed-back because that is what the majority of users prefer. Nonetheless, great open-back headphones can be found, particularly for home use, where sound quality can be enjoyed in a relaxing environment.

HOW TO REDUCE BONE-CONDUCTING HEADPHONE SOUND LEAKAGE?

Because of sound leakage, you do not have to stop using bone-conducting headphones. They are, after all, the most secure, convenient, useful, and comfortable way to listen to music outside.

Furthermore, as we frequently discuss in our headphones articles, Bone Conduction Headphones are one type of headphones we use depending on our circumstances and what we are doing. While you can’t completely eliminate sound leakage, there are a few things you can do to reduce it.

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1. Lower the Volume

Because of the stronger driver vibrations, the louder the volume on your headphones, the more sound leaks. To counteract this, you might want to turn down the volume a notch. However, keep in mind that you can hear your headphones much louder than the people around you.

So you don’t have to completely silence them. It is sufficient to reduce the volume to 60-70 percent. Of course, you might not want to listen to loud music, to begin with. Constantly listening to loud music damages your cochlea, resulting in hearing loss. In this regard, bone conduction headphones are no safer.

2. Use Better Bone Conduction Headphones

Have you ever noticed how bad earbuds are always extremely loud to bypassers? Bone conduction headphones are no exception. A cheap pair will always have more leakage, whereas bad earphones will often allow you to crank up the volume far beyond what is considered safe.

As an example, consider AfterShokz. They were among the first to develop bone-conducting headphones, so they had plenty of time to perfect their technique. Their most recent earphones feature LeakSlayer technology. In a nutshell, the headphones cancel out the outside noise.

It’s the same principle that noise-canceling headphones use. A separate driver plays the opposite soundwave to the main driver, which causes the sound to cancel out.

You might want to check out the AfterShokz Titanium from Amazon.com. These bone conduction headphones have built-in LeakSlayer technology. Also, they’re very comfortable and IP55 certified.

3. Get Better Fitting Bone Conducting Headphones

To reduce sound leakage, earbuds must fit perfectly into your ear, which is why they come with a variety of different size silicon tips. Your bone-conduction earphones should also be snug against your skull. They’ll slide around if it’s too loose, which can significantly increase sound leakage.

But you can’t just slip on a new pair of ear tips. The standard size should be sufficient for the majority of people. However, if your head is too small, the earphones will move around a lot.

Before you buy the headphones, determine the length you require. You should double-check the dimensions in the product details.

The AfterShokz Aeropex Mini from Amazon.com is perfect for smaller heads. They have the same great sound as the standard Aeropex, but the band is 0.5″ (1.27 cm) smaller.

HOW DOES SOUND LEAKAGE AFFECT HEADPHONE PERFORMANCE?

Headphones with high sound leakage (open-back, semi-open) have a larger and broader soundstage, providing a more spacious sound experience.

This is why many audiophiles prefer them, but they bleed the sound. Low sound leakage (closed-back) headphones, on the other hand, provide a smaller soundstage but greater privacy (keep the music to yourself).

  • Noise isolation is linked to sound leakage.
  • Passive noise isolation prevents sounds from entering and leaving the room.
  • Music leaking out is also known as sound leakage.
  • Nobody wants a lot of “bleed,” but if it means better audio quality, many people are willing to accept it.
  • Because open headphones do not block the music inside their ear cups, it sounds more natural and gives the impression that it is coming from a different direction.
  • When listening to orchestral music, you can clearly hear the instrument positions. It simulates listening to music in a concert hall (instead of your home living room).
  • On the other hand, closed headphones try to keep the air vibrations (sound) inside the ear cups, which alters what you hear in the end.
  • Also, it hurts soundstage and positional accuracy. Everything sounds like it’s originating in the middle of your head.
Sound Leakage On Bone Conduction Headphones
Sound Leakage On Bone Conduction Headphones

HOW DO BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES WORK?

Bone conduction headphones work by transmitting sound through your bones rather than through the air. Instead of the eardrum picking up vibrations, the sound travels directly to your cochlea. It’s a true engineering marvel.

But where did the idea for bone conduction headphones come from? You, on the other hand, use bone conduction on a daily basis. When you speak, sound waves are transmitted to your ear via the skull. That’s why we cringe when we hear our own voices on tape.

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We usually listen to ourselves through our bones. Bone-conducting headphones use our bones for the same purpose. The sound travels from the temple to the cochlea, which is located in the inner ear.

ARE BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES WORTH IT?

Because they don’t block out any ambient noise, bone conduction headphones are worth the investment if you want to be aware of your surroundings. They’re an excellent substitute for traditional in-ear headphones.

Furthermore, they are usually not more expensive than regular Bluetooth earbuds. Since the first time I saw them, I’ve been a huge fan of bone conduction headphones.

With the headphones on, you can continue to use your ears, making cycling or running while listening to music significantly less dangerous.

BONE CONDUCTION HEADPHONES FOR SWIMMING?

If you’ve always disliked having in-ear headphones shoved down your ear canal, bone-conducting headphones are for you. There’s no reason to pass up this opportunity. You can use them in the same way that you would regular earbuds.

Wear them to the gym, the trail, the street, and public transportation. And did you know you could wear them while swimming? Because they don’t require air to function, they sound identical underwater.

If you enjoy swimming, Amazon.com has the Aftershokz New Xtrainerz Bone Conduction Wireless MP3 Swimming Headphones.

They are IP68 Waterproof, which means they can be submerged, and the sound quality is excellent. They are not Bluetooth-enabled, but they have 8-hour battery life and a surprisingly punchy bass.

Because the headphones are in an MP3 format, they have Internal music storage that allows for a library of 1,200 songs, audiobooks, or whatever suits your taste.

WHY IS REDUCING HEADPHONE SOUND LEAKAGE IMPORTANT?

If you value your privacy and don’t want to bother others with your music, reducing sound leakage is critical. For example, choosing headphones with low leakage for office use is critical if you don’t want to annoy your coworkers (it impacts focus).

You may have witnessed a coworker arrive at the office wearing headphones. And then blasting loud music for everyone to hear. It was most likely having a negative impact on your productivity.

CONCLUSION

Some sound is emitted by bone-conducting headphones. They are, however, not significantly worse than traditional earbuds and leak less than open-back headphones. Most people will not be able to hear your music unless they are very close to you.

Reduce the volume if you’re concerned about sound leakage. Bone-conducting headphones provide a one-of-a-kind experience. They are about the same price as other earbuds, so they are well worth the money.

Are Bone Conduction Headphones Worth It?
Are Bone Conduction Headphones Worth It?

FAQs About Bone Conducting Headphones Leaking Sound

Do bone conduction headphones make noise?

Are Bone Conduction Headphones Noise Cancelling? Bone conduction is less audible to those around you, but it is not completely silent. Others cannot hear it because there are no drivers producing sound vibrations that can escape your ear canal.

Is the AfterShokz leak audible?

Some sound is emitted by bone-conducting headphones. They are, however, not significantly worse than traditional earbuds and leak less than open-back headphones. Most people will not be able to hear your music unless they are very close to you. Reduce the volume if you’re concerned about sound leakage.

Can the deaf hear through bone conduction?

People with conductive hearing loss, however, can still hear through bone conduction, unlike those with other types of hearing loss, and many use a bone conduction hearing aid.

Is bone conduction a ruse?

Although audiophiles are unlikely to endorse bone conduction headphones anytime soon, they do serve a purpose for those with impaired hearing. To call them a gimmick would be to oversimplify the technology and its various applications.

Barry Moroney

Hi, Barry here. I'm a tech writer and blogger. I write about the latest technology, gadgets, and software. I also provide the best how-to and guides on the latest sound systems. I'm always excited to share my knowledge with others!

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