Whether you’re an audiophile or you’ve just been looking into the different kinds of headphones out there, chances are you might have stumbled upon a type of headphones known as “bone conduction”.
This style of headphones has gained popularity in the last few years, and while the listening experience is certainly unlike more traditional styles of headphone, many people have become diehard fans of bone conduction headphones.
To help you decide whether bone conduction headphones are the right option for you, we’re going to first, explain how this kind of headphones and technology works, and then we’re going to answer the most common questions people are asking about bone conduction headphones.
Keep reading to learn about bone conduction headphones.
What is bone conduction technology?
Let’s start off by saying that bone conduction isn’t anything new. In fact, back in the 1800s, Beethoven actually discovered it. But what exactly is it?
Many of the sounds we hear every day is via air conduction. The sound vibrations travel through the air and into the ear canal which causes it to vibrate. Our brains then do the incredible work of processing these vibrations and interprets them as sounds.
This is the most traditional way that we hear things. However, there is another way – which is bone conduction. In the case of bone conduction, the sound wave actually bypasses the eardrum, and instead is heard directly by the inner ear (cochlea).
So, how does Beethoven come into this? Well, while he was in his prime and writing incredible symphonies, operas, sonatas and everything else, he was also experiencing a loss of hearing.
Instead of backing down and accepting his fate, he furiously searched for options to allow him to keep making and hearing the music he was making. One of these options, and the most successful of which, is when he discovered bone conduction.
A wooden rod became Beethoven’s trusty sidekick and allowed him to hear the notes he was playing. He attached the rod to the piano and clenched in his teeth around the other end of the rod, while he played. When he played the piano, the vibrations of the sounds travelled up through the rod and allowed him to understand what he was playing.
Incredibly, his “Ninth Symphony”, which is one of his most famous pieces, was created using this new invention. Interestingly, he first played this piece in front of an audience who absolutely loved it; however, he didn’t realise until he was taken to the front of the stage and could see the audience members clapping and giving him a standing ovation because he couldn’t hear the sounds of the audience!
Bone conduction technology is now commonly used in the hearing aid industry, offering another way for hearing aids to work. And of course, it’s found it’s way into the headphones and audio industry.
How do bone conduction headphones work?
So, when it comes to bone conduction headphones, the concept is the same as Beethoven’s, just the execution is slightly safer and less invasive than clenching a wooden rod with your teeth.
Bone conduction headphones transmit the sound vibrations directly to your inner ear, through the bones located in the upper cheek and jaw. The cochlea doesn’t know that the sound is coming from your bones and not your eardrum. And your brain processes these sound vibrations in the same way it would if they were directly in your eardrum, which allows you to hear the sound clearly.
How good is the sound quality of bone conduction headphones?
The sound quality of bone conduction headphones is very good, and probably a lot better than you expect. It is important to note that it is definitely a different listening experience.
Traditionally, most styles of headphones (basically all of them except for bone conduction ones) block or provide a pretty big barrier between your eardrums and the outside world. Headphones that offer sound cancellation often insulate the eardrum to completely block out any sounds of the outside world. So, traditional headphones are focused on providing a mainly isolated listening experience, which if you are wearing the headphones for pure sound clarity, then bone conduction ones may not be right for you.
With bone conduction headphones, while are listening to your podcast or playlist your ear canal is still open, so you’re going to hear sounds from the world around you – which allows you to be aware of your surroundings.
Are they comfortable to wear?
Do you ear find yourself with sore ears, whether it’s your ear canals from having headphone buds shoved in them all the time, the outer parts of your ears might be sore from ill fitting over-ear headphones, your might have a sore head from the weight or tight fit of your headphones, or you might even experience blockages in your ear from having them sealed off so often.
With bone conduction headphones, don’t sit in your ears, so you don’t have to worry about having sore ears for any of these reasons. They also stay put pretty well as they rest along your cheekbones and are held in place as they go over your ears, not inside them.
If you have a hearing aid, depending on the kind that you have, you might have some difficulties with the fit, or getting used to the fit, but this is dependent on the kind of hearing aid device you have.
Are bone conduction headphones safe?
Yes! Bone conduction headphones are super safe in a lot of different ways.
To start, bone conduction headphones allow you to be aware of your surroundings better than other kinds of headphones. While this is still somewhat dependent on the volume of the music or sounds you are listening to, as your ear canal remains clear and open. This means that you can jog, walk, cross the road, and basically interact safely with the world around you being more likely to hear car horns, tram bells, trains, bikes, traffic, or whatever other real-world things you may encounter. We all know how dangerous being deeply immersed in our playlists can be.
In addition to increasing your situational awareness, bone conduction headphones are also a lot more hygienic than standard headphones, particularly the earphone buds that go inside your ears. Headphone buds that go inside your ears can easily build up and harbour bacteria, especially if you sweat while you’re wearing them. That’s because bacteria really like a warm and wet environment, and the ear canal is warm. This bacteria can increase your chances of wax and dirt building up in your ears which can then increase the chance of your ears becoming blocked. Bone conduction headphones sit outside your ears, so you can certainly eliminate that problem.
Can hearing impaired people use bone conducting headphones?
Bone conduction headphones are a very viable option for people who have hearing loss or difficulties. Ear buds and over-ear headphones can get in the way of some kinds of hearing aid devices and make it difficult to use both. For people who may have lost hearing in only one ear, bone conduction headphones can also allow them to experience stereo sound.
Bone conduction headphones may provide some discomfort for some hearing aid users; however, this is not necessarily about their ability to work and is more about the comfort of this style of headphones and where your hearing device sits.
Get your bone conduction headphones with Auditech
Now that we’ve answered your questions about bone conduction headphones, chances are you might be looking to get yourself a pair!
Well, if you want to experience the benefits of better situational awareness, flexible listening options, extreme comfort and, of course, a more hygienic pair of headphones, then shop with us here at Auditech. We offer a variety of bone conduction headphones from the leader in this space – AfterShokz – you can shop their entire product range with us from anywhere in Australia. We offer Australia wide FREE express shipping for all AfterShokz gear. We also offer a great range at super low prices.
In addition to our range of AfterShokz bone conduction headphones, we also offer other styles of headphones from the leading brands, as well as mobile phones, accessories for your phone and even wearable tech devices.
Shop with Auditech today!