Technology has evolved immensely over the past years and the advancements have been a huge blessing for us. Bone conduction technology is one such incredible technology that has helped people in different fields and industries. It has been nothing less than a miracle for people who have impaired hearing. Looking back just 5-10 years, we see that bone conduction has taken over in various other fields other than just medical. Sports, music and a lot of other industries have taken advantage of this technology.
We get to see wonderfully polished products in the bone conduction market. There are different incredible bone conduction headphones available which are indisputably eye-catching and have been designed attractively as well. However, there is a lot to know and understand about bone conduction and how it works. Thus, in this post, we will be unveiling almost everything that you need to know about bone conduction and where it all did the formation of bone conduction headphones started from. We have also reviewed some of the best bone conduction headphones in this post so that you can make your best pick as well. These headphones are now trending a lot and they are beyond the usage of just hearing aid; if you are a music lover and you are looking forward to a different music experience then these can be really incredible to invest in.
Let’s dive deeper into bone conduction technology to understand it in a better manner and also have a look at the best bone conduction headphones that you can invest in. Our team has tested some of the top-notch headphones for you and we have reviewed them in this post!
How Do We Hear Normaly?
A lot of people don’t understand how bone conduction works because they don’t go into a detailed understanding of it. In order to know about how bone conduction works, it is crucial to understand the ways in which we hear sounds.
The sound waves which we hear travel through the outer ear canal and hit the eardrum. The eardrum vibrates accordingly. Those vibrations get transferred to the middle ear bones (Hammer, Anvil & the Stirrup – See the image above). And then to the snail-shaped bones (yellow colored in the picture).
This snale shaped “Semicircular canals” is the inner ear. (Called Cochlea). It has thousands of tiny hair cells and has fluid in it.
The vibrations cause the fluid to move back and forth and that makes those tiny hair move.
This movement is converted to an electrical signal and is transferred by the nerve to the brain.
What is Bone conduction? Its simply bypassing the eardrum.
In this case, the eardrums don’t vibrate and the vibrations affect directly to the inner bones. The Stirrup, Anvil and the Hammer. This is exactly how we hear our own sound.
So normally we hear through ear-drum
And with bone-conduction, we hear through our middle ear bones HAMMER, ANVIL & STIRRUP.
How Bone Conduction Works?
We hear sounds as they travel through the air into our ear. It moves around the various structures of the human ear before it is translated and transmitted via our nervous system to the hearing organ inside our ear. But we are all aware of this way through which sounds reach our ear. The second way the sounds can be heard is when they travel through our middle ear bones. The bones vibrate and thus the sound spreads to the cochlea. The rest of the process is the same as described above in detail. Vibrations travel through the middle ear, the eardrum and then finally the impulses are transmitted to our brain, resulting in the vibrations reaching the cochlea.
When sound reaches you through this manner, it is known as bone conduction.
Bone conduction technology has been around since the early 19th century. Beethoven suffered from hearing loss and he was the first person who used this technology to hear sounds. Therefore, bone conduction headphones are built around this same concept of making you hear music, by traveling through the bones and into the hearing organ.
Industries that have benefited from bone conduction technology
There are basically 4 industries who have gained advantages from the bone conduction technology
1. Hearing Aid Users
There 2 types of hearing loss.
- Conductive – Due to damage to eardrums. (bone conduction is very beneficial in this as eardrums get bypassed.)
- Perceptive – Due to the incapability of inner ear to transfer vibrations to the brain (see the image above) – Bone conduction doesn’t help in that.
Initially, bone conduction hearing aid technology was created for people who had some sort of hearing issues. Since 1977, around 100,000 patients have been given the bone conduction hearing aid to help them get over the issue. They are usually provided with the famous bone conduction hearing aid device BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) as it is considered the best choice for people who wear in-ear hearing aids.
These hearing aids have two parts, one is under the skin as shown in the picture above (from Medel). It is placed on the bone behind the ear and acts as bone conduction. The other part is placed outside on the top of ear mostly, which is a processor which acts as an eardrum, converting sound waves into vibrations. A hearing aid is different from the hearing amplifier (simply used to amplify sounds).
The military is the second industry that has availed the bone conduction technology for their communication purposes. This industry is said to be the earliest adopter for bone conduction technology as they used the behind the ear headsets for making communication easier on the battlefield.
Designed by the BAE Systems, the bone conduction technology is embedded within the helmets so that the soldiers can hear the radio and can talk to each other. The main benefit of it is that the military can hear each other out clearly while maintaining the situational awareness (as there is no device blocking the ear) as the “sound” travel through bones bypassing the eardrum.
Bone conduction headphones have become very famous in the music industry for some years and are considered a very different way of listening to music. Audio Bone was the first bone conduction headphone that entered the sports industry back in 2008. It promised to bring the same high-quality music while allowing runners and sportsmen to hear the noises from around them too as the bone conduction earphones never covered the ears entirely. After that, the bone conduction technology made its space in the sports industry rapidly and is now used by runners and cyclists thoroughly as they enjoy music along with their practice.
4. Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is the 4th industry that decided to utilize the bone conduction technology. It is magical to use bone conduction headphones underwater. Casio was the first one to introduce this technology in scuba diving with the help of their Logosease device. These allow you to communicate underwater too.
Bone Conduction Headphones as a Safety
Regular headphones and earphones can be harmful. They may cause damage to eardrums if too loud. They even block the ears and makes them vulnerable to bacterial infections. Bone conduction headphones, on the other hand, are completely harmless.
Another main safety issue with the regular earbuds/headphones is that they are mostly canceling/blocking the outside world. And the situational awareness is highly minimized, due to which many people suffer from accidents.
A research found that the number of annual accidents with headphones doubled from 24 in 2004 to 48 in 2010.
With bone conduction headphones, this is not the problem, as people can enjoy their music whilst keeping the outside world awareness.
It almost seems like magic as the music seems so natural and yet you can hear everything else that’s going on.
Throwback of the bone conduction technology advancement
In the 20th century, creators staring using this technology for creating bone conduction hearing aid for people who suffered from hearing loss. They also focused on people who had to work in an atmosphere with a lot of noise. For instance, in 1953, Edgar Hand created bone conduction hearing aid for people and we have some inventors that date back to 1940’s too. In 1957, Clairdon Cunningham created a communication helmet based on the bone conduction technology rules. This helmet was basically invented for a pilot who had to communicate over the noisy engine of the jets.
The advancement of bone conduction earphones has been pretty gradual and slow but they are now taking over the music and sports industry rapidly. They starred of as bone conduction hearing aid and now you can get a variety of bone conduction earphones, like bone conduction headphones AfterShokz and Titanium.
Do they deliver the same high-quality music?
A lot of people get confused when buying bone conduction headphones because the music quality is still doubtful. Being honest, you should not expect high quality from bone conduction headphones as that of regular headphones. You are unable to get a perfect transmission of the sound which unfortunately makes the sound quality poorer than the normal good headphones that you use for listening to music. But don’t get me wrong they are still good, but the if you like bass and high-volume way too much then these are not for you. But if you are ok with a sound quality, that of decent cheap earbuds and cool sensation then these are definitely for you.
And again, awesome sensation. You get this weird feeling of somebody poking your head with a pen or something, reminding you that sounds are actually really vibrations (not in a bad way, but in a weird way, which grows on you). And of course you can hear everything else that’s going around you, and you never miss out on anything. But if you want to block out the outside world, then these headphones are not on the top.
There are a lot of bone conduction headphones which are capable of rendering great sound quality but you will always feel a massive difference between your regular headphones and these. If you are not looking forward to exactly the same, top-notch quality of music then you might not be much disappointed.
We have also rounded up the top 3 bone conduction headphones for you below which have been a major game changer in the world of bone conduction technology. They are a little high priced but they have literally offered a great sound quality to the users and have changed the way people think about bone conduction headphones.
Side Effects of Bone Conduction Headphones
There are a lot of different perspectives about the safety of bone conduction headphones.
Some people say that they are totally safe to use and they actually shield the ear from harm. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who consider bone conduction headphones harmful and not completely safe to use.
They claim that they do have side effects and can actually cause hearing loss issues to people who have normal hearing. The manner in which the sound is transmitted through the bone conduction headphones is not considered that safe. It is said that it can cause harm to the cochlear cells and can result in hearing loss.
Therefore, there is no definite answer to whether the bone conduction headphones are safe to use or not. And surprisingly, the biggest confusion for the buyers is not about its safety but is regarding the sound quality that it has to offer and its cost. The paramount trouble for interested buyers is that bone conduction headphones which are capable of offering impeccable quality are highly priced and it is certainly an issue that the makers need to address.
Even though the bone conduction technology came into existence years and years ago, it actually surfaced in the consumer market in the early 2000’s. After that time onwards, the bone conduction earphones gained a lot of appreciation and popularity. However, even with such great advancement, a lot of potential customers look forward to all the details as to how does bone conduction work or does it even bring any protection from damage or not.
For such consumers, who want to know that does it really protect your ears from damage, the answer is YES. Deborah Price, a doctor of audiology and vice-chair of the Audiology Foundation of America, declared bone conduction earphones as “very safe” in 2004.
Top 3 Best Bone Conduction Headphones in the Market
Bone conduction headphones are initially for people who suffer from hearing loss but this technology has evolved immensely over the past few years. It basically focuses on hearing loss issues. Whether the condition of the issue is moderate or mild; bone conduction headphones are utilized for all types of hearing loss problems.
There are a lot of best bone conduction headphones that one can invest in and this technology has trended over the passage of time immensely. Through a bone conduction headphone, you are able to listen to sounds, via the vibrations of your face bones (cheek and jaw bones). We have researched and found two top bone conduction headphones. Our team tested some of the best bone conduction earphones for weeks and came to discover
After weeks of research and testing we had a tie between the AfterShokz Trek & The AfterShokz Mini.
AfterShokz Trek Titanium bone conduction headphones are exceptional and the ultimate choice to make. They are a wonderful amalgamation of technology and style and are one of the most durable headphones to pick.
Why did we like the Aftershokz Trek?
There are several reasons why we heavily adore the AfterShokz Trek Titanium headphones. Here is why these pair of headphones is our ultimate choice to make and we will definitely recommend you to invest in them; you won’t regret it a bit.
- These headphones are perfect. They have been designed impeccably and the construction is super durable. The titanium band is coated with soft silicone rubber which makes it easier to wear for a longer time span.
- Quality is a major issue when it comes to bone conduction headphones but with AfterShokz Trek Titanium headphones, the worries are set away. This pair of headphone is capable of offering a good sound range and quality in comparison to a lot of other headphones that are available in the market these days. This model is an upgraded version which automatically makes its quality superior and better.
- Our team loved the fact that it has 4 different color options. The color variety is very jazzy and feels vibrant and joyful. These give the headphones an athlete accessory vibe.
- AfterShokz Trek Titanium is water resistant which means that people who love scuba diving can use these under water too.
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Mini Wireless is the best bone conduction earphones of all. You will fall in love with the sound quality and it will certainly become your all-time favorite.
Why did we like the Aftershokz MINI?
AfterShokz Trekz Mini is a great bone conduction headphones for a lot of reasons. Here is why we chose this one as our ultimate choice. This is a great invention by AfterShokz and although they have a lot of different headphones, this one has won our hearts overall.
- The testing point for us with these earphones was the sound quality. It is the most important feature in any headphone. We have been thoroughly impressed by the sound quality of these headphones as it is impeccably amazing. The quality remains intact on low volume as well as your complete jamming session too. Even when the music is blasting; you have nothing to worry about as the sound quality deliverance is top notch and incredibly enjoyable.
- The second reason why we adored it the most is that it is mini in size. The fitting is really well. We feared that as they are mini, they wouldn’t be able to fit in really fine; but there was nothing disappointing about them fitting just perfectly. Also, we would recommend you to pick the headphones by measuring the back of your head. If the measurement matches the size of the mini earphones; then go for them because there is literally no better choice than these amazingly best bone conduction headphones.
- Also, these are so lightweight that you don’t really feel anything clinging to your ears or the back of your head. This brings in ease of use and extreme comfort while listening to music for long hours.
Comparing the Two
Why Mini is Better?
Here are some reasons why these are not the ultimate best bone conduction earphones for us:
- Unlike the Titanium mini headphones, these open ear headphones lack fitness. They do not fit in really well and have a loose neck strap. This can be pretty annoying for runners as they always seek the best bone conduction headphones which fit in well too. However, this one isn’t such a great pick if you want a proper fitting earphone.
- Also, the battery life is pretty disappointing. It is short and not good for people who have to use these for long hours.
- The sound quality varies a bit. It is not as constant as the Titanium mini headphones at all. We experienced sound leakage sometimes which can be super annoying for music lovers.
- We also did not like the dual noise canceling feature at all. Yes, you would love to listen to music and shut off the world from around you but when you are on a run, walk or jog, or you are simply driving, then these headphones can be super dangerous. They tend to cancel the noise from around you completely which is not safe.
Why Mini is not better?
But what makes this one land into the list as one of the top bone conduction headphones? Here are some reasons why we think that the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Open Ear headphones are a good choice to make:
- These are equally lightweight as our ultimate choice headphones. They feel very light while you are wearing them and don’t really seem disappointing in terms of weight.
- Also, it is good for people who have to wear them for a short time span. For example, you might want to listen to music while you are studying or maybe you are at work. If so, then this is going to be a good choice for you.
- The wireless range is also good as these headphones work at a distance of 10m from your connected device easily.
Who is the Mini Version for?
These are the best bone conduction headphones for all the runners out there! If you have to wear these wireless headphones while you are outdoors, then we would highly recommend this one. It stays in its place and delivers great music experience that is indisputably unmatchable.
Who is the Non-Mini Version for?
We recommend these headphones to people who have to wear them for a shorter time span. For example, it is good for office and gym use where you don’t have to bother the loose neck strap much and the battery life won’t give up on you too early either. You can fully charge it and enjoy your favorite music for some time. If you are a runner and you want the top bone conduction headphones then this one is not the best choice for you to make.
AFTERSHOKZ BLUEZ 2 (Our 2nd best choice)
The 2nd runner-up in the list of the best bone conduction headphones is the AfterShokz Bluez 2. These are stereo bone conduction headphones and are considered as one of the high-quality headphones that AfterShokz has created.
Why is it not our ultimate choice?
Our first choice is also from the same company but what makes the Bluez 2 fall down to the 2nd place? Here are some reasons why it could not beat the Trek Titanium.
- The sound leakage in this pair of headphone is massive. You won’t be impressed by the sound quality at all. It is a downfall after the Trek Titanium really.
- Two guys in our team wear spectacles and they complained that it wouldn’t fit in properly with their specs on and was a bit uncomfortable with them. So if you wear specs, this might not be your best friend.
Why is it still a good choice to make?
But we still appreciate these headphones and here is why we think you can still make it one of your picks.
- These headphones are good for workouts or running sessions. The open ear design makes it good for people who have to go for a run or jog every morning.
- The OpenFit design is perfect for people who have hearing loss issues.
- The battery life is also very impressive.
- If you don’t wear spectacles, these are comfortable to wear for a long time as they have breathable foam.
- Constructed with titanium
- Premium Pitch technology
- Amazing and heavy bass
- Open Fit design
- Dual microphones
What’s inside the box?
- Carrying pouch
- Adjustable tension band
- USB Charging cable
- Reflective stickers
Pros. & Cons.
- Open ear design
- OpenFit and Premium Pitch make it an impeccable choice for people with a hearing problem
- Incredible for workouts and running
- Great battery life
- Breathable foam
- Massive sound leakage
- The sound quality is poor
- Not too comfortable for people who wear spectacles
AFTERSHOKZ AS450 SPORTZ M3 (Our 3rd choice)
The 3rd runner-up is the AfterShokz AS450 Sportz M3 and these are perfect for people who are looking for bone conduction headphones within a budget. It is a steal for anyone who wants a pair of budget-friendly bone conduction headphones.
Why is it our 3rd pick?
Here are some reasons why it is our 3rd best choice and why it is unable to beat the Trek Titanium and the Bluez 2.
- The battery life of AfterShokz AS450 Sportz M3 is a fail. The saddest part is that they claim that the battery life is good but it really is not and that makes it go down our list. Why claim for something when you are unable to provide it to the buyers?
- Also, the cord is very thin which makes it prone to damage more and we literally don’t admire that at all.
Why is it still a good choice to make?
Well, the AfterShokz AS450 Sports M3 is not a complete bummer now. There are some reasons which make it our 3rd best choice and are a good steal for a lot of you out there. Here is why you can still invest in it and you won’t regret it either:
- The sound quality is amazing and that is what really matters when you are buying headphones, right? It is balanced and quite clear. Also, the sound leakage is very low in these pair of headphones which make the sound loud and clear and enjoyable.
- Also, it is very affordable and is a perfect pick for anyone who wants AfterShokz bone conduction headphones but within a budget.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty which is a major perk for such an affordable price tag.
- Also, it is sweat resistant and very comfortable to wear.
- Open Fit design
- Premium Pitch technology
- Nano technology coating
- Light weight
- Noise-canceling microphone
- In-Line Controls
- Claims 20-hour battery life
What’s inside the box?
- You get the following accessories along with the product:
- Storage case
- USB Charging cable
Pros. & Cons.
- Clear and balanced sound quality
- Very low sound leakage
- Bass is great
- Comfortable to wear
- Sweat resistant
- 2-year warranty
- Headband is light
- Battery life is poor
- Thin cord
AFTERSHOKZ TREK TITANIUM (Still if we have to pick)
Our best pick is the AfterShokz Trek Titanium bone conduction headphones as they are the best amalgamation of style and technology into one. This upgraded version has super sound quality and brings in a wonderful, pain free experience. The bud free comfort takes the experience up a notch and makes it the ultimately best choice to make.
The Trek Titanium is extremely light weight which makes it very comfortable to wear and you don’t really feel anything heavy. The Premium Pitch technology enables a very amazing sound quality which a heavy and clear bass. These bone conduction headphones have been designed specifically for athletes and come in 4 different and exciting colors. They are water resistant which makes them suitable for a lot of different kinds of activities too. You can work out with them as well and not worry about the sweat at all.
- Open Fit design
- Premium Pitch technology
- 4 different, jazzy colors
- Water resistant
- Designed for athletes
- IPX5 rated headphones
- Multipoint pairing
Pros. & Cons.
- Very durable
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- 2-year warranty
- low sound leakage
- Good battery life
- Multipoint pairing is a major perk
- Connecting a lot of devices simultaneously might not work each time
These top bone conduction headphones are capable of delivering an amazing sound which balances all the highs and lows and frequencies. The equalizer is perfect which delivers a remarkable sound quality; it is unbeatable. Also, we consider these as the best bone conduction earphones because they fit in really well. You can run for hours and they will stay in their place. They are not a disappointment at all. We are totally in love with these headphones by AfterShokz.
Bone conduction technology has gone through different stages and has managed to survive in the tech market. With the passage of time, this technology has taken over in different industries and now, we get to see a variety of bone conduction headphones being adored. Our team ultimately loves the AfterShokz Trek Titanium as it doesn’t fail to impress one at all. It is capable of providing a good sound quality and is very comfortable to wear. The battery life is impressive and the Premium pitch and Open Fit design add to its amazingness all the more. It is an impeccable combination of design and technology and you will certainly fall in love with these headphones as soon as you set your eyes on them.
However, if you are in search of something that is within a budget but is still capable of providing you with a good sound quality (clear and loud) then the AfterShokz AS450 Sportz M3 is a very good choice to make. It is budget friendly and has a lot of goodness packed within it. We didn’t appreciate the fact that they claim to provide a 12-hour battery life which they clearly could not live up to. Other than that, these are a good pick to people who are looking for bone conduction headphones for the money.
We have covered up almost everything that you would want to know about bone conduction technology and the best bone conduction headphones that you can invest in. it is now your choice to make the best pick from angst the top 3 best bone conduction headphones that we have reviewed above. It is indisputably amazing how the bone conducting technology has taken power and has evolved through the years and has successfully made its place in the tech market these days.