This article is a review on Bone Conduction Headphones. Bone Conduction Headphones are different from the conventional headphones that most people are using.
The unique thing about this type of headphone is that you do not insert the earpiece into your ears, instead it is position around your cheek and near to your ears. Sound travels to your ear not through the air, but through the vibration of the bone on your face, which is usually your jaw bone or cheek bones.
The reason why this type of headphones is getting popular is because it allows you to hear the sound from the surrounding environment and still get to enjoy the music from your music player. It is also loved by those who have a challenge in hearing because this type of earphone allows them to hear the music which they would not be able to if they are to use the conventional earphone.
I will talk more about the bone conduction technology as well as recommendations on some of the popular brands for you to consider.
About Bone Conduction Headphones
Bone conduction is a technology that allow you to hear sound through the vibration of the bones of your face (jaw bones and cheek bones) instead of the usual mechanism that transmit sound waves through the air. This means that the sound waves are bypassing the outer and middle ear (where the eardrum is located) and directly stimulating the inner ear (hearing organ).
Bone conduction technology has been around for years, and it has been used as a tool to help those with hearing challenge. It is also an ideal choice for people wearing in-ear hearing aids, meaning it is possible to wear headphones while wearing hearing aids, what an invention!
Popularity of Bone Conduction Headphone
Bone condition technology is also used in sports headphones and have become increasingly popular in the music industry. Reason for the popularity is in the unique design that on one hand it allows the person to enjoy the music, it also allows the person to hear the sound from the surrounding environment since the headphone didn’t cover the ear.
This technology has become increasingly popular among the joggers or cyclists who want both music and exposure to surrounding sound (e.g. cars driving by) for safety.
Office workers also love this because they no longer have to worry about not hearing the ringing sound of the desk phone while enjoying music. It also allows them to engage in a conversation without having to remove the headphone.
How Bone Conduction Headphone Works?
Traditional headphones usually send sound through your eardrums over the air. However, Bone conduction headphones send sound through the bones of your skull. Instead of speakers, Bone Conduction Headphones have transducers that send vibrations through your cheekbones to your cochleas, so your eardrums are free to take in your surroundings.
Normal sound waves are actually tiny vibrations in the air. The vibrations travel through the air to our eardrums. The eardrums in turn vibrate, decoding these sound waves into a different type of vibrations that are received by the Cochlea, also known as the inner ear. The Cochlea is connected to our auditory nerve, which transmits the sounds to our brain.
Bone Conduction bypasses the eardrums. In bone conduction listening, the bone conduction devices (such as headphones) perform the role of your eardrums. These devices send sound waves and convert them into vibrations that can be received directly by the Cochlea so the eardrum is never involved.
The “sound” therefore eventually reach the ears as vibrations through the bones (or skull) and skin.
That’s why people who could not hear due to eardrum injury is able to enjoy listening to music using Bone Conduction Headphone because the eardrum is not necessary to help to transmit the sound to the Cochlea.
Why Should You Switch to Bone Conduction Headphones?
There are various reasons why you should try to switch to Bone Conduction Headphone and ditch your usual ear buds type of headphones. One of the reasons is that most earbuds are uncomfortable to wear since everyone’s ear hole is unique in shapes and sizes. Therefore it is very difficult for any manufacturer to have a once size fits all type of ear buds that will suit everybody.
Maybe you’re sick of them falling out the moment you step on the treadmill or work up a good sweat which can be quite annoying.
Some people who have a challenge in hearing as it sends sound into your ear not in the conventionally method, but through your cheek bone into your cochlea via sound vibration. This is extremely helpful to those who could not hear well due to injury to the external eardrum.
Most cases of hearing loss are due to damages to the eardrums. Since bone conduction does not use the eardrums to transmit the sound, those with hearing challenge would be able to hear clearly again with bone conduction, provided that their cochlea is in healthy and normal condition.
Last but not least is the main reason for using Bone Conduction Headphones, it’s about safety. Statistics have shown that high number of pedestrians, joggers, cyclists or any users of the roads have been injured or killed in accidents while listening to music on earphones that make them separated from the outside world. Hence Bone Conduction Headphones is the solution to this. While it allows you to enjoy your usual music by sending the sound into your ear through your cheek bone, it frees your ears to also hear the sound from the environment that you are in. This allows you to be alerted of any dangers if any.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will bone conduction headphones work for me if I have a hearing loss?
Generally Yes. If you have a conductive hearing loss or unilateral hearing loss, then yes. Essentially as long as you have one cochlea that is working.
Will the sound quality be as good as “regular” headphones?
I’ve purchased one and experienced it myself. Although bone conduction may not be worse than air conduction, but the user’s experience is that the so called interference with sound from the surrounding may make it appear as if it has a poorer sound quality. But when I listen to it in more quiet place, then I would say that the sound quality is good.
Can bone conduction make your hearing worse?
I must be very cautious when answering this question. Yes, it may result in hearing loss just like any conventional headphones if you turn the volume up too high. Just like any appliances, any abuse will be dangerous. But with proper usage, this should not be an issue.
How different is this from the traditional “regular” headphones?
Other than not inserting the ear piece into the ears, this technology also requires a power source even for the wired versions.
Can bone conduction headphones be worn with hearing aids?
Yes, this is probably one of the reason why this headphone is popular amongst those with a challenge in hearing.
Recommended Brands and Model
There are lots of Bone Conduction Headphones in the market, but buyers beware. Not all are really conduction sound through your bone. Some are nothing but just a loud speaker that try to transmit sound to your eardrum over the air. Therefore I have chosen only 3 models to share with you.
Personally, I am currently using the Vidonn F1 Titanium one because I am on a tight budget and this unit is value for money. But if you can afford to pay for a premium one, go for Aftershokz product. Pls see below on a write up on each of the 3 models.
AfterShokz Trekz Air Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
AfterShokz Trekz Air is slimmer than the Titanium version. The new design is 20% lighter and a lot more flexible and when you wear it, you will find that it gives you a better fit than other model.
What I like about this model is that it supports Bluetooth v4.2 multi point pairing. Multipoint is a new development in Bluetooth technology that allows your Bluetooth Headset to be connected to two Bluetooth devices at the same time.
With that, what it means is that when a phone call comes in, the Bluetooth headset is intelligent enough to knows which device is ringing and will connect to the right one automatically, don’t you love this feature?
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
The Titanium use a silicone coated, titanium band that makes them fairly flexible without damage.
Similar to the Trekz Air model mentioned above, it is lightweight and comfortable to use, although it is not as light as the Trekz Air.
Trekz Titanium is sweat proof, secure, and will allow you to hear your surroundings.
Similar to the Trek Air, the Titanium also supports multi-point pairing. This would allow you to pair with your phone, and easily pair them with TV or laptop. This is something that you can’t do in most other headphones.
This product also comes with Reflective Strips for added safety when running, cycling, or exercising outdoors. If you are interested in this model, you can get it by clicking on the image below.
Vidonn F1 Titanium Wireless Sports Headset
If you are new to bone conduction headphones and do not want to pay too much to try it out, this model is a good one start with. It is 60% cheaper than the Trek Air and 40% cheaper than the Trek Titanium. Yet I wouldn’t say that the quality is inferior than the above 2 models.
Vidonn F1 material feels durable, solid but flexible at the same time. The frame of the Vidonn F1 is stiff on the side and flexible at the back. The side stiffness is not a problem because the headphones clamp neatly against the head so they don’t move when shaking your head.
I personally own the Vidonn F1 and it produces good quality sound despite the low price tag. The quality is acceptable to me. When using a normal volume, the sound leakage is minimal although my family said that they can hear the music sound when they are seated near me. But this is still within the acceptable range and is not disturbing or annoying.
Vidonn F1 beats the above 2 models due to the low price tag without compromise in quality. If you are budget conscious, this model will not go wrong. If you are interested in this model, you can get it by clicking on the image below.
There are critics who generalized that bone conduction are nothing but a loud speaker who claim that the sound is coming from the side microphones/speakers. I tested with the Vidonn F1 and put my fingers in both ears so that no external sound can be received via the ear transmitted through the air. You will soon noticed if this is a genuine bone conduction headphone because I could still hear music transmitted via my cheek/jaw bone.
If you need a pair of headphones that allow you to enjoy wonderful music and yet need to be cautious of the surrounding sound, the bone conduction headphones is for you. Even if you don’t have such needs, it’s still good to get one as I personally feel that it is less harmful to the ears than the conventional one.
All 3 models are good, as for which one is preferred would be determined by your budget. If budget is not a constraint, you may want to go for Trek Air Model. And since bone conduction headphone requires battery to operate, my personal advise is not to buy any brand/model that is wired. Otherwise the battery that is hanging over the ear may be annoying.
Thank you and hope you enjoy this Bone Conduction Headphones Reviews. I hope this would help you to make an informed decision on which Bone Conduction Headphone to buy.
Thank you and have a nice day.