(Additional talent) I need music to run, but I don’t want to block out the rest of the world while I do it — the AfterShokz Bone Conduction Headphones try to tackle this problem by bringing the sound from your music player to your ears using bone conduction technology.
But exactly what are bone conduction headphones? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using bone conduction headphones? Do they follow through on their promises, and which AfterShokz product is right for you?
To find out, we put on a pair of AfterShokz, read a lot of research, and learned everything there is to know about bone conduction technology and the AfterShokz devices that employ it.
What Are Bone Conduction Headphones and How Do They Work?
Sound is essentially a series of vibrations that enter the ear and are sent to the cochlear via the eardrum. This converts them into electrical impulses, which are subsequently picked up by neurons in the brain and converted into what we perceive as sound.
The eardrum element of this process is missed when using bone conduction.
Bone conduction headphones, unlike traditional headphones, sit on your face directly in front of your ears rather than in or on your ears (see look carefully at the pic of the sporty girl above).
The music is then sent to your cochlear via vibrations picked up by your skull’s bones — a method purportedly stolen from military technology.
This enables you to hear not just your music, but also what is happening around you.
Bone Conduction Headphones Have a Lot of Advantages
- There are no wires, yet it is difficult to lose.
When I first used Aftershokz in 2012, there were no AirPods – or any other type of in-ear headset; you had corded headphones and that was all.
As you’re surely aware, cables may be vexing (I spend time untangling my headphones before getting on a machine at the gym), but losing an Airpod is a pricey error – and one that’s all too simple to make, which is why I won’t invest in in-ear headphones.
These are ideal for when you’re in between jobs. There are no tangled wires, yet they’re big enough not to get lost in your kitbag or on the gym floor.
- 2If you have hearing loss, you can use them.
This is a great benefit. They are appropriate for those who suffer hearing loss owing to eardrum injury since the sound is sent straight to the cochlear of the ear, bypassing the eardrum.
You will be able to utilize bone conduction headphones if you have a cochlear function – they also work for persons who use hearing aids.
- They’d be fantastic for events.
Many races now prohibit the use of headphones entirely, but for those that do, bone-conduction headphones provide the best of both worlds: you can listen to music while still hearing marshal instructions, conversation from others around you, and any applause from the audience or entertainment you might pass.
- They do not erupt.
Unless my iPod earphones are perfectly positioned, I may find myself fussing with them for hours. This solves the problem.
- You Actually Have a Better Understanding of What’s Going On
When you use bone conduction earbuds, you are definitely more aware of what’s going on around you, as you’ll see in the testing section of this piece lower below.
According to a 2017 study from the Georgia Institute of Technology, you are still more distracted than you would be if you had nothing in your hand.
They discovered that participants wearing bone conduction headphones while listening to a tale were less able to discern where a sound was coming from than those who did not.
So, while they’re far superior to using earbuds or over-ear headphones, they’re not ideal, so don’t get too comfortable.
- They Could Be Preferable to Your Ears
According to a recent Indian study, earbuds collect germs, which can cause ear infections if not cleaned regularly. That isn’t going to happen since they don’t go in your ears.
instructions, conversation from others around you, and any applause from the audience or entertainment you might pass.
Bone Conduction Headphones Have a Negative Impact
I’m not sure if this should be classified as a scam. Bone conduction earbuds are more expensive than a basic set of headphones – but the AfterShokz entry-level costs are actually rather fair – and the premium model is priced similarly to AirPods.
- They are audible to those around.
This won’t issue if you’re running outside with them, but if you’re riding on the train, be mindful that sound does radiate from headphones – so either owns your goofy playlist or keep the level low in calm inside settings.
- Too much noise can still be harmful.
Are bone conduction headphones healthier than in-ear headphones for your ears? In theory, sure, but don’t be tricked into believing you can turn things up extremely high with no consequences; some hearing specialists warn that using bone conduction earbuds too loudly poses a risk.
Gradual hearing loss happens when the hairs that line the ears are destroyed, and powerful music vibrations transferred through the bone can still cause this.
Furthermore, if you crank up the level too much, you will feel the vibrations of the music more powerfully on your face – which may get pretty exhausting after a while.
- The audio quality isn’t as good as it might be.
For all the amazing musos out there The Boyfriend, who listens to music through speakers that shake the house, complains that the bass quality isn’t great.
- They must be recharged.
This is not an issue if you are well-organized; however, if you are like me, it may result in quiet midway through your workout.
Their battery life is likewise restricted. Most of the time, this won’t matter because it’s between 6 and 8 hours, but if you’re a slower runner running something like a marathon (I have a 5.40 marathon time) and everything isn’t completely charged at the start, you could run out of steam when you need it the most.
To be sure, most of the Aftershokz product reviews I’ve seen mention that the battery life is understated.
- Passers-By, You Hear?
And if you live near a school full of jerks, as I do, the nice comments regarding the appropriateness or not of your boobs for jogging do not go unnoticed. To reduce the risk of embarrassment, I recommend wearing them with a Panache sports bra.