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How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work and Can They damage hearing?

Jan 10,2023 | Sylvia

In recent years, you may find that more and more people around you are wearing a kind of earphone clipped to the edge of the temple. Most of these headphones are bone conduction headphones.

Bone conduction headphones are sound transmission devices that transmits sound through the vibration of the skull so that people can perceive speech.

In physics, sound can be transmitted through solids, air, and liquids as media. Traditional earphones transmit sound through the air, while bone conduction headphones transmit sound through the solid of the skull.

Bone conduction device include conduction speaker and bone conduction microphone:

(1) Bone conduction speakers are used to listen to the sound.

(2) The bone conduction microphone is used to collect sound.

How do bone conduction headphones work?

How can you hear the sound without putting headphones in your ears? Many people have such questions. To understand how bone conduction headphones work, let’s first understand how humans recognize the sound.

You may think that humans hear sounds with their eardrums, but this is not accurate. The sound we normally hear is vibrations in the air entering the ear and hitting the eardrum causing it to vibrate. Humans perceive the vibration of the eardrum through the cochlea located deep in the ear and transmit this information in the form of sound to the brain to perceive sound. In other words, humans perceive sound through the cochlea. From this perspective, humans hear sound through the cochlea.

Bone conduction headphones make good use of the above-mentioned mechanism of the cochlea to perceive sound. They apply vibration directly to the facial bones, and the facial bones transmit the vibrations to the cochlea, where the sound is perceived by the cochlea.

We can compare the difference between bone conduction and traditional sound transmission paths to understand more deeply how bone conduction headphones work.

Bone conduction path: sound wave,cranium,bone labyrinth,inner ear lymph,Spiral organ,auditory nerve,cerebral cortex auditory center.

Traditional sound transmission path (i.e. air conduction path): sound wave,auricle,external auditory canal,eardrum,auditory ossicles,vestibular window,internal and external lymphatics,spiral organs,auditory nerve,cerebral cortex auditory center.

We can see that the sound transmission process of bone conduction headphones does not need to pass through the eardrum, its sound transmission path is shorter, and it will not damage the eardrum.

Can Bone Conduction Headphones Damage Hearing?

Bone conduction headphones do not damage hearing, in fact, they are the headphones that cause the least damage to hearing, and are very healthy and safe for the ears.

Bone conduction headphones do a good job of protecting the eardrum. Because the eardrum is not required to produce sound and transmit sound, it avoids possible damage to the eardrum caused by sound wave vibration. When they transmit sound, they don’t need to use the ear canal, and they don’t need to be plugged into the ear canal or wrap the ear canal when they are used, so they can keep the ear canal clean and hygienic, thereby minimizing ear diseases such as otitis media.

Bone conduction headphones do less damage to the cochlea. Because the vibration waves of bone conduction are relatively gentle and stable, they cause little damage to the cochlea.

In addition, bone conduction headphones have very little damage to the auditory nerve, because their electromagnetic waves are very weak, which is the same intensity as the electromagnetic waves existing in nature, so they will not cause damage to the human brain and hearing nerves.

Therefore, bone conduction headphones not only do not damage hearing but also protect hearing well. Compared with traditional in-ear headphones, they are healthier and safer for the ears.

In addition to health and safety, bone conduction headphones have many advantages, such as they are more comfortable to wear, have a high waterproof level, and can be suitable for more sports scenes, etc. These unprecedented advantages have also made the headphones more and more popular.

If you are also interested in bone conduction headphones, I will recommend some excellent headphones below.

1. Wissonly Hi Runner bone conduction headphones

Recommended reason:

Wissonly bone conduction headphones is the first brand I came into contact with. I first found it on the crowdfunding website. Later, I bought it after seeing many people’s recommendations in some online running forums. After my long-term comparative test, the overall function of this Hi Runner model product is very powerful, which greatly exceeds my expectations.

Their team is one of the best talents in the field of bone conduction. The product director was once the core engineer of a first-line brand, and has accumulated 10 years’ experience in the field of bone conduction technology. Wissonly Hi Runner increases the vibration area of the sound source vibrator by 35% through excellent structural design, which makes the music feel more spatial and immersive. It is also excellent in sound leakage reduction. The fully wrapped design reduces the vibration of the shell, and the structural optimization makes the sound leakage wave be offset, thus avoiding 90% sound leakage, which is much better than the bone conduction headphones of the same price on the market.

The fully-enclosed design of Wissonly Hi Runner bone conduction headphones makes its waterproof grade to IPX8, which means that you can wear it for bathing, swimming and even diving within 20 meters. Even better, the Hi Runner headphones has a built-in storage of 32GB, which can store 5,000 songs. It can still be used without the mobile phone. It supports both MP3 mode and Bluetooth mode. It is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 chip, which makes it superior to most bone conduction headphones in transmission distance, connection stability and power consumption.

2. Philips A6606 bone conduction headphones

Recommended reason:

Philips A6606 adopts the rear hanging design of titanium alloy frame, which can be stable no matter jumping or running. Its surface is made of soft and skin-friendly silicone material, which makes it comfortable to wear, and the body of it is relatively light, so there is no sense of weight to wear. The biggest feature of A6606 is that its headphones are equipped with LED night lights, which is a thoughtful design for people who like fun runs, and can remind pedestrians, cyclists and drivers behind them to avoid it at night. Very suitable for night running.

3.AfterShokz OPENRUN PRO bone conduction headphones

Recommended reason:

OpenRUN PRO is good at anti-sound-leakage, it uses LeakSlayer leakage cancellation technology to reduce sound leakage. It is equipped with Qualcomm QCC3024 chip that uses 5.0 Bluetooth protocol, that supports dual-device connection, and that performs very well in terms of stability, compatibility, effective range and delay time. It is IP67 waterproof grade, which is enough to allow it to be used in daily life. But you can not wear it to swim in the water. As a high-end bone conduction sports headphones this is still a pity. And it does not have built-in memory, can not be used as an MP3 player.

4.Earsopen peace tw-1 bone conduction headphones

Recommended reason:

Peace tw-1 is different from the traditional bone conduction headphones, and it adopts a unique ear clip form, which has certain firmness. However, the wearing process is a bit complicated, and it is impossible to finish wearing with one hand. IP67 waterproof level can easily cope with rainy days, but it is not suitable for swimming. The Bluetooth version of 5.0 keeps the connection stable during music transmission.

5.Haylou PurFree bone conduction headphones

Recommended reason:

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 five headphones above, Wissonly and Philips have the strongest technical strength. The sound quality and sound leakage reduction of the products are very good. If you pay more attention to product parameters and cost performance, wissonly is a good choice.