How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work?[Answered!]

Although true wireless earbuds have received a lot of attention recently, there's another type of specialist wireless earphones that's gaining traction: bone conduction headphones. These have deep roots in the hearing aid industry, yet there are detractors as well as die-hard supporters.

While listening to music through traditional headphones is a terrific way to enjoy these activities, with busy traffic and potential hazards all around, they can isolate you from your surroundings and constitute a substantial safety risk. Fortunately, advances in listening technology can be beneficial.

Bone conduction technology employ an acoustic method to provide a novel way to listen to music while remaining aware of one's surroundings that can be good than your regular headphone, wireless headphones, or normal headphone.

To know more about how do bone conduction headphones work, read the whole article and leave us a feedback!


How do Bone Conduction Headphones Work?

The simplest explanation is that best bone conduction headphones employ vibrations against bones to transmit sound into the cochlea. These work differently than normal earbuds because the vibrations of music are transferred through the bone rather than the air. Passing the waves through the bone permits them to completely bypass the eardrums, allowing them to compensate for some hearing impairments.

How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work
How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work

How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work

This device dates back to the 1500s and has a history as fascinating as the science behind it.

Bone conduction headphones are simplified in that they lay directly on the listener's cheekbones. In contrast to standard headphones and earbuds, the eardrum does not vibrate to transmit information to the cochlea. Instead, vibrations from bone conduction headset make a beeline towards the cochlea.

This technology is beneficial for persons with hearing loss because it does not involve the eardrum, as the bone conduction vibration acts in place of the eardrum.

How Do Vibrations Reach the Cochlea?

Sound, like light, travels in waves through the air, but unlike light, sound can pass through much denser things.

This is how you can hear music from a neighbor's room and feel your walls tremble while not seeing their light on through the wall.

These waves are picked up by your ear by vibrating and passing the sound along inside, usually beginning with the eardrum.

The eardrum is a tiny flap of skin that vibrates in response to sound waves, causing other organs in the ear to vibrate as well. However, the vibrations picked up by the cochlea are an important aspect of hearing.

When the eardrum and other organs in your ear begin to vibrate, the cochlea begins to receive all sound vibrations and transmits them to the stereocilia. The stereocilia then convert this input into impulses that are sent to the brain.

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In summary, the vibrations from the eardrum travel throughout the ear, and the signals picked up by the cochlea are ultimately conveyed to the brain.

How Does Bone Conduction Get Around the Eardrum?

This is much easier to understand now that you know how the inner ear works. The eardrum is frequently where vibrations begin to spread throughout your other little internal ear organs, although it is not required to conduct those vibrations. All of the bones and organs inside your ear, however, would remain static if it did not provide information.

How can you avoid the necessity for the eardrum to vibrate in order for the other organs and bones to begin vibrating? By transmitting the vibrations through your skull rather than your eardrum, you avoid the necessity for that, triggering the vibrations in your ear's inner organs.

Because the cochlea cannot distinguish between these vibrations and those initiated by the eardrum, they would function identically.

The cochlea transfers these vibrations down the channels to your brain, same to how hearing begins with your eardrum. These noises are registered by your brain in the same way that they would be via a regular headset.

A prevalent misperception is that bone conduction headphones, waterproof headphones and open ear headphones are completely silent. This is not true; these best headphone are still audible, although far less so than standard earbuds.

The distinction is that they are intended to emit sound waves via your skull rather than through the air.

Is Bone Conduction Only for Deaf People?

This technology has been a game changer in the hearing impaired and deaf communities, but it is not unique.

When running, cycling, or working out outside, using a bone conduction headphone rather than a regular earpiece helps you to hear passing cars and be more aware of your surroundings.

However, the technique has an infinite number of applications. They've appeared in Google Glass, education, police enforcement, construction, and even scuba diving.

They're also regarded comfy to wear because to their open ear design, which adds to their long list of advantages.

Best Bone Conduction Headphones

AfterShokz Aeropex Headphones

The Aeropex is AfterShokz' flagship headset and the most robust of the three, according to its IP67 designation, which indicates dust and water resistance.

The Aeropex bone conduction headphones can be submerged up to one meter for 30 minutes at a time. These aren't specifically swimming headphones or sport headphones because they lack onboard storage; yet, it's a useful feature in case you drop them in the lake.

AfterShokz Headphones Air

This under-$100 training headset is thinner than the others and incorporates reflective strips to keep listeners visible during nighttime walks or jogs. The battery life of the AfterShokz Air is listed at six hours, which isn't amazing but should last you a week of working out and has a good sound quality!

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Another difference between the Aeropex and the Air is that the Air uses Bluetooth 4.2 software, which could explain the relative decrease in battery life. Embedded microphones are useful for taking calls. However, it is just IP55-rated, so don't put it in your neighborhood pool.

AfterShokz Titanium Headphones

The AfterShokz Titanium was my first venture into the realm of Bluetooth bone conduction headphones, and it's an excellent headset for anyone who's unfamiliar with the technology. It's one of the more economical options, and it's IP55-rated, Bluetooth 4.1-enabled, and has a six-hour battery life.

Nothing about this headset will impress you, and if you have the option, we recommend opting with one of the other AfterShokz models, which have a more stable connection strength than the Titanium. Check out our coverage of other excellent bargains on headphones here.

When to Buy Bone Conduction Headphones

How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work
How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work

1. If you have a hearing Problem

Okay, so many who support bone conduction headphones do so for safety reasons and because it benefits those who are deaf.

Furthermore, if you have hearing loss or use hearing aids, bone conduction headphones are a possibility.

Conventional earbuds and headphones may interfere with or disturb hearing aids, whereas bone conduction headphones do not. Furthermore, listeners who are deaf in one ear may benefit from stereo sound that is not possible with standard in-ears. Bone conduction headphones provide certain listeners with a feeling of hearing that they would not have otherwise.

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

To declare them the best thing since the TRRS plug, though, would be an exaggeration. If you have normal hearing, there are many of fantastic wireless and true wireless earbuds available that deliver greater audio quality. If you have hearing loss, bone conduction headphones are an excellent choice.

2. If you are a Biker and Runner

In terms of the former, being aware of your surroundings during outdoor workouts is essential, particularly for runners. These headphones can be a workout headphones rather than using your normal headphones.

Because these bone conduction earphones do not seal around or even contact the ear canal, you can hear other pedestrians, passing cars, and other possible threats.

When to Avoid Buying Bone Conduction Headphones

If you're looking for noise-cancelling headphones or an audiophile experience, bone conduction headphones aren't for you.

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1. If You're a Music Enthusiast

If you're all about bass and treble, bone conduction headphones might not be for you. They just do not deliver the same listening experience as typical in-ear or over-ear headphones.

So, if you consider yourself an audiophile who can't take not hearing every single note and subtle sound in your music, you should invest in higher-quality headphones.

2. If You Want Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Bone conduction headphones allow you to hear what is going on around you. While this is excellent for some, it is not for everyone.

If you want your headphones to shut out everything except what you're listening to, bone conduction headphones aren't the way to go.

Final Thoughts on How do Bone Conduction Headphones Work

Bone conduction headphones are not new, but the technology is extremely beneficial in both the diagnosis and treatment of hearing disorders.

Because of technological advancements, there is now another—often safer—option for both runners and bikers.

Though they offer the same “danger” to the cochlea as standard headphones, they leave the ear open to other input while remaining silent.

Overall, this technology was able to aid bypass the eardrum for persons with hearing impairments and everyday users who need to be able to hear both the audio of the headphone and the world around them at the same time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What are the prices of bone conduction headphones?

The majority of bone conduction headphones cost $150 or less. The cheapest pair I've seen was around $50.

Coros is a firm that incorporates bone conduction audio systems into helmets for outdoor sports such as bicycling. Each of these devices costs between $180 and $220. (see more below). Other firms incorporate them into other types of equipment, like as ski goggles. Prices for some items will rise as a result.

Can they cause hearing loss?

Bone conduction audio, like any other form of audio, can cause hearing impairment if played too loudly. Having said that, there isn't a lot of supportive study on this subject. It's usually preferable to safeguard your hearing by merely listening at normal volumes.

Can onlookers hear the noise emanating from them?

Yes. People passing by may be able to hear your audio because bone conduction headphones are not silent. It is determined by the volume of your headphones, the presence of other ambient noises, and other things.

When someone hears your headphones, it usually sounds tinny and unclear. It's comparable to overhearing someone with crappy over-ear headphones blaring music at full volume. It could also sound like you're overhearing someone in the distance using their speakerphone.

Trina Oralde

I'm a tech writer and contributor who covers the latest in gadgets and technology. I keep my finger on the pulse of the tech world, so you don't have to. Stay up-to-date on the latest with me!


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