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I love headphones, but all the ones I owned before were definitely hard bass thumping versions which covered my ears and undoubtedly hurt my hearing along with my ability to hear actual outside events.
This is why when I heard about bone conduction headphones I was intrigued, these will save some stress on my ears and also provide the ability to hear natural sounds without interruption, so are bone conduction headphones better for your ears?
When you need normal hearing with headphones they are impressively better. They provide the ability to hear through your cheekbones while listening to conversations and details that you may otherwise miss out on with standard headphones. This lessens pressure on your head and ear area allowing longer wear without the irritation.
Now that we know they are generally better for your ears and comfort level I wanted to expand and cover this in more detail. I had some more questions when I looked up information and figured you may have these same questions in mind and I wanted to save you the time and effort if possible and get you answers.
Is Bone Conduction Better Than Typical Air Conduction?
This answer varies greatly when researched online as much of the use and needs differ between the two types of conduction. What you really want to answer to know if bone conduction will be better is your intended use.
For example: If you are a runner out on the streets and not on a school style race track then having access to your ear canals to hear cars and people can be incredibly important and vital. The usefulness of being able to hear but also listen to music or other audio are equally necessary to the task.
This is why evaluating the reason for your purchase is more important. Otherwise, you may be let down with your decision and may think that they are not good or useful.
I prefer the Aftershokz Trekz Air and the newer Aeropex as they are titanium and super light and work well for me to boulder and climb while listening to tunes and being able to focus on people around me.
If you want super loud with high bass then you may want to stick to traditional air conduction headphones.
Can Other People Hear My Bone Conduction Headphones?
The easy short answer is yes they can be heard in almost all cases. Though they won’t be loud like a traditional headphone could be they are typically very low and under the level of background noise so as to be pretty silent, so can others hear your music with bone conduction headphones?
In most typical use cases, they are totally silent to other people around you as they vibrate on the bone sending the information without the sound being created. The only time this can be heard is on very loud volumes and higher bass as this causes vibrations.
In reading about Aftershokz brand they appear to rely on bone conduction for the lower to lower-mid sound frequencies. Then they utilize regular tweeters for the higher frequencies.
I’m not 100% certain but I would believe that the build and design rely on the proximity to the ear possibly to transmit higher frequencies like a normal speaker. If this is what occurs it would also explain why some people complain about a sound leak.
I have frequently used them while on the phone with someone and no one on the call could hear them even though they sit next to the phone mic.
If you were to crank up the volume though I believe you can get to a audible level where others on the phone would be able to hear it and ask the question.
Are Bone Conduction Headphones Dangerous?
Like any audio device they can cause damage if they are set to high for too long. The conduction still sends to your Cochlea inside your head and it is possible to damage it similar to air conduction.
Since bone headphones don’t sit inside your ear canal the chance to deal damage to the ear canal is drastically limited and less possible.
Unlike AirPods, earbuds, earphones, and other in-ear style headphones, you don’t have to worry about them being jammed into the ear canal and causing actual physical damage to the internal tissues of the ear.
Most of the danger of headphones regardless of delivery method of the sound will fall into the transmission and how large an impact it has on the receiving side in your cochlea. We cover that in much more detail below.
Can Bone Conduction Headphones Damage Hearing?
Anyone who uses bone conduction headphones or traditional air conduction headphones are at risk of cochlear damage. This is possible from all earphone types when over utilized and overused.
Just because an earphone uses bone conduction transducers doesn’t make them any safer for use by default, anyone who says so is selling something.
Any earphones, such as a bone conduction sound is still transduced in your cochlea just like standard air conducted sound.
Final Thoughts About Are Bone Conduction Headphones Better For Your Ears
Are bone conduction headphones better for your ears, undoubtedly it feels like a yes to me. Just take the time to understand your use and needs before making the decision to purchase, unlike most other headphones there is not an easy place or store with them available to try on.
I think if you do an outdoor or outside high energy activity but need access to your hearing ability then they are a no brainer and you should make the investment in the purchase as the performance benefits will pay off almost immediately.
If you just want to sit in quiet with noise canceling and want the ability to shut off the world then I would tell you instead to focus on something like the Bose QC35 II, I have them specifically for noisy environments like airports, large conference areas.
I would love to hear from people who have bone conduction headphones and what they feel has been the benefits to their ears and hearing along with what activities have benefited from the use of them.
Please share with friends if they are looking into these or if you know someone who could benefit from grabbing a pair of these headphones.