Do Bone Conduction Headphones Leak Sound And Can Others Hear Them?
Jan 06,2023 | Sylvia
Almost all bone conduction headphones have the problem of sound leakage, which is determined by its working principle. However, different headphones have different sound leakage levels. Some excellent headphones have handled the problem of sound leakage better. The problem of sound leakage has been solved perfectly. Other people cannot hear them within the normal social distance. Next, I will give a complete introduction to "what bone conduction headphones are", "how they work, and why they all have sound leakage problems".
What Are Bone Conduction Headphones
As the name suggests, bone conduction headphones are headphones designed based on bone conduction technology.
Bone conduction is a sound conduction method. The vibration of the sound source drives the bone to vibrate, and then transmits the sound to the inner ear, so that the sound can be heard. It transmits sound without passing through the air and eardrum, which also enables the sound transmission way of bone conduction to clearly restore the sound in a noisy environment, and will not affect others due to the spread of sound waves in the air.
The technology of bone conduction is very mature. In the 18th century, Beethoven used bone conduction technology to hear the sound of piano performance. We all know that music genius Beethoven was deaf in both ears. In order to hear the sound, he bit the baton with his mouth and put the other end of the baton on the piano when he was playing. The vibrations of the piano are transmitted through the baton to his teeth and bones, and then to the inner ear. This method helped Beethoven to hear the sound of the piano, and he also created a large number of well-known piano pieces.
Bone conduction technology has a wide range of applications. It has been used more in the military field and hearing assistance field in the past. But in recent years, this technology has been widely used in bone conduction headphones, making this headphone a fashionable product and becoming popular.
How do bone conduction headphones work?
To understand how bone conduction headphones work, you need to understand how the ear works.
The ear is divided into the outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, and auditory nerve from front to back. The outer ear is what we call the part of the ear that is visible from the outside. When sound enters the outer ear, it travels directly to the eardrum, and the sound that hits the eardrum vibrates the air in the middle ear like a drum, causing the air to vibrate and travel to the cochlea of the inner ear. Shaped like a snail, the cochlea contains lymph fluid and sound-sensing cells called hair cells. The vibration of the eardrum causes the lymph fluid and hair cells in the cochlea to vibrate. Hair cells convert this vibration into an electrical signal and transmit it to the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve carries the electrical signals received from the hair cells to the brain. The center of the brain processes the electrical signals it receives, resulting in the sounds we hear. This way of transmitting sound is the way of air conduction. Our common headphones use air-conduction sound transmission, but the working principle of bone conduction headphones is completely different. It uses bone conduction sound.
We can compare the difference between these two sound transmission methods:
The sound transmission path of air conduction headphones: outer ear → eardrum→ middle ear → inner ear (cochlea) → auditory nerve → brain
The sound transmission path of bone conduction headphones: temporal bone (skull) → inner ear (cochlea) → auditory nerve → brain
Compared with air conduction headphones, the sound transmission path of bone conduction headphones does not have several steps of "outer ear→eardrum→middle ear". When using them, the sound conduction process is that the sound source vibrates and directly transmits the sound to the inner ear (cochlea) through the skull. This working principle also makes the headphones do not need to be inserted into the ear, which better protects the ear canal and eardrum.
Do bone conduction headphones leak sound?
Bone conduction headphones will leak sound, but now some mature brands have found a solution to the problem of sound leakage, such as wissonly and Aftershokz have done a good job in reducing sound leakage.
The sound leakage problem of bone conduction headphones is mainly due to the fact that they convert sound into mechanical vibration through the sound unit, and vibrate the bone to transmit sound. When the headphone is working, the shell of the headphone will be vibrated together by the sound unit, and the shell will vibrate the surrounding air, so sound leakage will occur. In other words, the shell of the bone conduction headphone becomes the "amplified speaker" of the headphone, spreading the sound to the surroundings.
From the principle of the sound leakage phenomenon, we can easily see that all bone conduction headphones have sound leakage problems. Those headphones that claim to have no sound leakage at all are basically fake.
It's just that some bone conduction headphones may have made more efforts to reduce sound leakage. For example, some headphones use anti-phase sound waves to offset the sound waves of sound leakage, or through the integrated design of the body without holes, reduce the air vibration caused by the vibration unit, thereby reducing sound leakage. There are also some brands that optimize the structural design and increase the shock absorption function of the body to reduce sound leakage. It should be said that with the efforts of the entire industry, the sound leakage of bone conduction headphones has also been greatly improved.
Although bone conduction headphones have the problem of sound leakage, it has to be said that they have several outstanding advantages
Safer: Wear them without blocking your ears, which allows you to maintain awareness of your surroundings and make outdoor sports safer;
Healthier: They use bones to transmit sound and do not need to use the eardrum, which avoids damage to the eardrum and can protect hearing well;
More hygienic: bone conduction headphones do not need to be worn in the ear, even if worn for a long time, they can keep the ear canal clean and avoid the growth of bacteria;
More comfortable: They are very light, there is no feeling of weight when wearing them, and the wearing comfort is very high.
These advantages also make them popular among young people.So how to choose the right headphone? I think there are three key points to consider: sound quality, sound leakage reduction and comfort.Next, I will recommend some excellent headphones to you.
Reason for recommendation:
I noticed Wissonly bone conduction headphones when they were first crowdfunded online. And later, I saw that some otologists were recommending them on online forums, so I bought them. This Hi Runner is their flagship product whose overall functionality is also the most perfect. The headphone use the latest research from the Wissonly lab. It increases the vibrating area of the vibrator by 35% and optimizes the direction of sound transmission to make the sound more concentrated, resulting in a wider range and more spatial of the music. The brand claims that its sound quality is HI-FI level, and I actually tested it myself. I thought that the sound quality was very close to HI-FI level, but it did not reach this level. Of course, the current sound quality is satisfactory enough.
Wissonly Hi Runner bone conduction headphones are also equipped with a new Bluetooth 5.0 chip that has stronger anti-interference ability, that can easily cope with various complex outdoor scenes, and ensures the good mood during exercise is not disturbed by disconnection. At the same time, the stable connection also brings low latency performance, and there is no problem in listening to songs, following dramas, and playing games. What's more, they have 32G of built-in memory that can store 5,000 songs. This helps you to enjoy music when you are exercising outdoors without your phone.
In terms of comfort, the Wissonly Hi Runner performs well, it is very light, only less than 30g, and it does not feel any weight to wear. The body is made of titanium alloy which makes it have a good fit, and you don't need to worry about their falling off during sports.
The waterproof of the Wissonly Hi Runner deserves special mention, and it is IPX8 grade. It means that you can carry it underwater for up to 20 meters and still use it normally, which is crazy!
2.Philips 7607 bone conduction headphones
Reason for recommendation:
Its sounding unit adopt a large-size vibrator of 17mm, which makes it have the effect of high, medium and low triple-frequency balance in sound quality performance. The low-frequency dive is sufficient, the medium and high frequencies are clear and not harsh, but there will be some missing sounds. It is also equipped with an intimate LED night run lamp at the rear end of the body, which can turn on the LED by turning on the key three times in a row. It also has three modes, which is suitable for wearing at night, so that people around it can perceive their own position and ensure their own safety factor to a certain extent.Its IPX6 waterproof rating is not afraid of sweat in daily wear.
3.AfterShokz OPENmove bone conduction headphones
Reason for recommendation:
The surface of the AfterShokz OPENmove bone conduction headphones is made of warm and skin-friendly silicone material, and with open ears wearing style, it is very comfortable. With the help of CVC noise reduction algorithm, its voice is relatively clear in calling, and it is basically not affected by the external ambient sound. It also adopts Bluetooth version 5.0, which has high stability of Bluetooth connection and brings lower power consumption. Openmove specializes in "sports use", and music quality is not its core, which may be slightly worse.
4.Earsopen peace tw-1 bone conduction headphones
Reason for recommendation:
The wearing style of Peace TW-1 bone conduction headphones is very unique. It adopts a clip-on wearing method, has a certain stability in wearing, even if in strenuous exercise it can be stably clamped on the auricle. The weight of the body is 9g, during the wearing process, it will not feel heavy. IP67 waterproof rating helps it to be worn outdoors in rainy days easily, and daily sweating is not a problem at all to it, but it can not be used in swimming.
The disadvantage is that its clip-on wearing method may cause discomfort after wearing it for a long time.
5.Haylou PurFree bone conduction headphones
Reason for recommendation:
Haylou PurFree performs well overall, the headphone is only weighs 28g, there is almost no weight sense to wear. And the surface of the headphones is made of soft materials, and the wearing comfort is good. In terms of sound quality, it is also equipped with directional audio directional technology. It is a technology that allows the timbre to be concentrated and dive deeper at low frequencies, so that the rhythm of the song will be stronger. The battery life is good, and it lasts for 8 hours of music playback.
The waterproof grade is not high, and there is no built-in storage, which may be its disadvantage.
Among the several bone conduction headphones recommended above, my favorites are Wissonly and Philips. Philips is a famous brand. The quality of its products is good, but the cost performance is poor. Wissonly is a fast-growing brand created by senior engineers. Their team has more than 10 years of technology accumulation in this field,their products are well configured and cost-effective.