How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work and How About Their Safety?
Feb 01,2023 | Sylvia
Have you ever heard music with headphones on while walking on the road, when the car behind you honks to remind you, everyone around you heard it, but you didn’t know it; or when you listened to music while wearing headphones in the office at work, even if your boss yells next to you, it can't wake up your ears that were kidnapped by music. These awkward moments happen a lot in life, and they're always unpleasant. However, there is a kind of headphone that can perfectly help you avoid these embarrassments, that is, bone conduction headphones that have become popular in recent years.
What are bone conduction headphones?
Bone conduction headphones are headphones that are worn differently from traditional headphones. They don't have earbuds in your ears like common headphones do, and they don’t need the sound to travel through the air in the ear canal to the eardrum like common type do. They are generally hung on the auricle, so that the sound unit is against the temple, and the mechanical vibration signal of the sound unit is transmitted to the auditory nerve of the inner ear through the skull, and finally people hear the sound.
Bone conduction technology is widely used in the military, emergency rescue, hearing assistance and other fields. Bone conduction headphones are a new application of this technology in the field of consumer electronics. They are mainly positioned in the field of sports headphones. The existing products include running headphones, swimming headphones, cycling headphones and so on. They are becoming more and more popular due to the advantages that traditional headphones do not have, such as safety, health, hygiene, etc.
How do bone conduction headphones work?
Bone conduction headphones are a kind of headphones that uses bone conduction technology, they are placed close to the bones, and sound waves are directly transmitted to the auditory nerve of brain through bones.
To understand how do bone conduction headphones work, we must mainly understand the sound transmission method and path. We can first look at the working principle of traditional headphones, and then make a comparison. Then it is clear.
Under normal circumstances, traditional headphones are essentially "air conduction headphones" that use the air in the external ear canal as the main sound transmission medium. In the air conduction process, the micro-horn of the headphones vibrates. Then sound waves are transmitted through the air in the external auditory canal to the eardrum, the ossicle, the labyrinth of inner ear and other parts. The vibration of the internal and external lymphatic fluid in the inner ear helps the spiral organ to complete the perception of sound, and then transmit to the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve produces nerve impulses and presents signals to the auditory center, and the cerebral cortex help us to "hear" the sound after comprehensive analysis.
The biggest unique feature of bone conduction headphones is that sound waves do not pass through the air in the external auditory canal and eardrum, but directly use the human bone as the sound transmission medium. When using, we need to put the sound source of the headphones against the skull behind the ear. And when the sound source vibrates, it will drive the skull to vibrate together, so that the sound wave is transmitted into the skull. And then the sound wave is directly transmitted to the ossicles through the skull bypassing the external auditory canal and the ossicles. And then the ossicles transmit sound waves into the bone labyrinth, so that the sound information is transmitted to the cochlea and auditory nerve etc..
How about the safety of bone conduction headphones?
Bone conduction headphones are a new application of mature technology, and their safety has early been verified.
First of all, bone conduction headphones have very little damage to hearing. We all know that hearing damage generally occurs in the eardrum and inner ear. When we wearing them,sound do not need to pass through the eardrum, so they do not damage the eardrum. Because the oscillation of them is relatively moderate, the headphones also have less effect on auditory hair cells in the inner ear. Moreover, the electromagnetic waves of them are extremely weak that they will not cause harm to human brain nerves and hearing nerves.
Secondly, bone conduction headphones can still keep you paying attention to ambient sounds when worn, which can help you to avoid many accidents. They are not worn into the ear, Whether in running, cycling, walking or commuting, etc., wearing the headphones to listen to songs, you can still hear the surrounding sounds, and can communicate with others normally, so as to avoid the danger caused by not hearing external sounds.
In addition, bone conduction headphones that do not need to be plugged in the ear canal when worn, are very helpful for maintaining ear hygiene. They do not block the ear canal due to sweating for a long time to deposit a large number of bacteria, and so also reduce ear inflammation and other conditions.
Of course, The safety of any product is relative, and 100% safe products do not exist, and so are bone conduction headphones. Under the premise of long-term continuous use at high volume, they still have the risk of hearing damage. This point also needs to be paid attention to when they are used. It should be noted that any headphones will have hearing damage problems when used at high volume for a long time. Bone conduction headphones are still the safest and healthiest of all headphones.
To sum up, there is no problem with the safety of bone conduction headphones. If you are interested with them, you can buy them without hesitation. Now I will recommend some excellent headphones for you.
1. Wissonly Hi Runner bone conduction headphones
This is the fastest growing brand of bone conduction headphones in the last six months. The team are all engineers with 10 years of accumulation in the field of bone conduction technology. They started to develop bone conduction headphones that don't hurt ears as early as 2012. To solve the problem of sound leakage of bone conduction headphones, wissonly has made comprehensive improvement in the aspects of vibrator, body design and software optimization. The final result has been applied to Wissonly Hi Runner, and the final sound leakage can be reduced by 90% after laboratory test. I actually used the test myself. At a distance of 2cm, the volume reached 70%, but I still didn't hear the sound of the headphones, which protected my privacy.
Wissonly Hi Runner’s body is made of titanium, which can self-adjust the fitting position to ensure a good wearing experience for headphones, so that more people can wear it. As the core component of the product, the headphones plays a key role in the product experience. Hi Runner model is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 chip, which makes Bluetooth connection faster and more stable. It also has 32GB of built-in storage so you can use it as an MP3 player.
Other parameters of Wissonly Hi Runner are also excellent. For example, the waterproof level reaches IPX8, and you can wear it to swim or even dive. The battery life reaches 8-10 hours, which is very important to me, because I go out for sports on weekends, and I go out for a whole day.
2. Philips A8606 bone conduction headphones
A8606 are ear-clip-on headphones, so that they fit closely with the auricle during wearing. Because it is made of titanium alloy skeleton and wrapped with skin-friendly silica gel, it can not only keep the shape stable, but also cause no pressure on ears. It is easy to wear and can be used for a long time. This earphone adopts IPX5 waterproof design, so ordinary splashing water is not afraid, and sweat is a cinch. The disadvantage is that the sound quality needs to be improved, and there is a little missing sound.
3.AfterShokz OPENRUN PRO bone conduction headphones
This headphones focuses on the direction of the Bluetooth headheadphones, and the ergonomically designed ear-attached rear suspension helps consumers to do large-scale movements such as running and jumping without worrying about the headphones being dumped. Openrun Pro's bone conduction unit is designed with a 30-degree tilt technology, coupled with Aeropex suspension damping technology, which can effectively reduce the vibration generated during exercise and bring a more comfortable hearing experience. The waterproof level of openpro has reached IP67 level. If you sweat and rain during exercise, don't worry about it slipping or affecting the sound quality. The intelligent control button on the right side of the headset can realize blind exercise with one hand, easy song cutting and other functions only by raising your hand.
4.Earsopen PEACE bone conduction headphones
Unlike other bone conduction headphones, this one has a charging case. The "T" shaped structure makes it stable as long as it is clamped on the ear. But due to the design of the clip ear, it may be a little uncomfortable after wearing it for a long time. It adopts the Bluetooth version of 5.0, can connect stably in a short distance and without obstacles. It reaches IPX7 level in waterproofing, can be immersed underwater for thirty minutes. In terms of sound quality, the sound quality of the human voice is clear, and the extension of the high tone is also good, but it will still appear turbid at the low frequencies.
5.Nank Runner CC3 bone conduction headphones
Among entry-level headphones, the Runner CC3 still performs well. Its body is wrapped in a layer of skin-friendly material, which will not feel uncomfortable to wear during exercise, and the firmness is also good, which can firmly lock the headphones on the ears.
It also has an MP3 mode with 4G memory, which can save nearly 1,000 songs. You can enjoy listening to songs without a mobile phone. The waterproof level and battery life are average, and it is not suitable for swimming.
Among the above bone conduction headphones, Wissonly and Philips are my favorites, and these two brands have the strongest technology accumulation in the field. Philips is what I have been using last year. In the last half of the year, I have used Wissonly more, because its sound quality and noise reduction are very good, and the price is not expensive.