How Does Headphones with Bone Conduction work and Do They Leak Sound?
Mar 09,2023 | David
I believe you also have the common experience that when we eat cookies, even if we cover our ears, we can hear the cracking sound of cookies. Or when we scratch our head, we hear the sound of fingers rubbing against our head. This is actually the most common example of bone conduction.The vibration of a cookie or the friction of the head is transmitted through the skull to our inner ear, which helps us to hear sound. This sound transmission method has also been cleverly applied by scientists to headphones with bone conduction, and in the past 2 years, they have become the most popular digital product.
So, what are headphones with bone conduction?
headphones with bone conduction are headphones that are worn differently from traditional headphones. And their don’t need to tuck earbuds into ears like that common headphones to help sound transmit to the eardrum through the air in the ear canal. They are generally hung on the pinna, so that the sound unit is placed 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 the sound is heard.
Headphones with bone conduction are actually a new application of mature technology. Because of its high technical maturity, its performance is very stable, and its reliability has been widely recognized. This is also the reason why headphones with bone conduction can become popular so quickly and are recommended by many professionals.
How does headphones with bone conduction work?
Before understanding the working principles of headphones with bone conduction, we need to review our middle school physics to understand the three mediums for sound transmit: air, solids, and liquids. Air conduction is what we know most about, such as ordinary conversation is the case that sound transmit through air. When your place ear to the railway, and when a train comes in the distance, you can hear the sound, which is the case of sound transmission by solid. When we dive, we can hear the sound of the engine of a ship in the distance, which is the case of sound transmission by liquid.
Headphones with bone conduction are a device that transmits sound through solid (bone) conduction. It transmits sound by vibrating your skull. This is unlike the air conduction of traditional wired and wireless headphones. headphones with bone conduction do not transmit sound through the eardrum, so even if the volume is slightly louder, it will not easily damage the eardrum.
We can compare the sound transmission paths of bone conduction and air conduction
Bone conduction pathways: sound waves, skull, bone labyrinth, inner ear lymph, spiral organ, auditory nerve, auditory center of the cerebral cortex
Air conduction pathways: sound waves, auricle, external auditory canal, periosteum, ossicles, vestibular window, internal and external lymph, spiral organ, auditory nerve, cerebral cortex auditory center
We can see that bone conduction has a shorter sound transmission path than air conduction, and that it takes a shortcut. And this shortcut helps headphones with bone conduction not to be stuffed into the ear or wrapped around the ear. So the headphones will not cover the ear canals and have no damage to the eardrums, and the damage to the auditory nerve is relatively low.
Headphones with bone conduction is very healthy, but it also has some disadvantages, such as sound leakage.
Do headphones with bone conduction leak sound?
Headphones with bone conduction 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 headphones with bone conduction 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 headphones with bone conduction have sound leakage problems. Those headphones that claim to have no sound leakage at all are basically fake.
It’s just that some headphones with bone conduction 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 headphones with bone conduction has also been greatly improved.
Although headphones with bone conduction 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: headphones with bone conduction 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.
1. Wissonly Hi Runner headphones with bone conduction
Reason for recommendation:
Wissonly headphones with bone conduction are the first brand I started to contact. When they recommended it on the online crowdfunding platform, I noticed it, after saw that many people were recommending, and I bought it. This Hi runner I used for a few months, and the overall performance was better than I expected.
Some headphones with bone conduction leak sound, and you know that I take privacy very seriously, so I’m very concerned about anti-sound-leakage technology. Wissonly Hi Runner does a very good job in the field. Its body is sealed, and through structural optimization and algorithm adjustment, its sound leakage is minimized. The official claim they can eliminate 90% of sound leakage. I do not have professional equipment to test, but I have tried and found that at 60%-70% volume, the sound is completely inaudible at a distance of 1.5 meters, which makes me very satisfied. I have actually compared it with other headphones with bone conduction, and the Wissonly Hi Runner has currently the best sound leakage reduction solution in headphones with bone conduction.
The Wissonly Hi Runner is also particularly comfortable in the wearing experience. Because the material of the whole machine is high-tech hypoallergenic silicone, and it is coupled with the ergonomic design that conforms to the structure of the human ear, so that users will not bring any burden to the ear under long-term wear.
Sound quality as the core performance is undoubtedly worth mentioning. Hi Runner uses a large-sized vibration unit, the sound range is wider, the sound is more three-dimensional and deeper, so the sound quality is undoubtedly very good. And it is also equipped with a Bluetooth 5.0 chip, the connection is more stable. And it will not be disconnected when used, which is a good experience. The Wissonly Hi Runner also comes with 32GB of built-in storage that can store 5,000 songs, so you can use it completely as an MP3 player to enjoy music without your phone when you go out for a run.
2. Philips A8606 headphones with bone conduction
Reason for recommendation:
A8606 headphones are made of titanium alloy skeleton, wrapped with skin-friendly silicone material, which can not only keep the shape stable, but also cause no pressure on ears. The body fits auricle tightly, so it is easy to wear and can be used for a long time. This headphones adopts IPX5 waterproof design, so there will be no problem in drenching and sweating. The disadvantage is that the sound quality needs to be improved, and the sound leakage is also serious.
3.AfterShokz OPENRUN PRO headphones with bone conduction
Reason for recommendation:
The light body weighs only 28g, it is like no weight in the hand, and it will not feel any weight when hanging on ears. Because of the characteristics of headphones with bone conduction, there is no need to be stuffed into the ears or wrap the ears. And there will be no swelling or squeezing feeling when worn for a long time, which keeps the ears fresh and breathable. Its sound leakage reduction technology is also good, which can effectively suppress sound leakage and better protect personal privacy. It has a high-strength titanium alloy rear hanger. Before each pair of headphones leaves the factory, the official will carry out repeated tests to ensure that the quality passes. The body has high toughness, and it can be restored to its original shape when bent at will. You can toss it during the exercise, and don’t have to worry about the damage caused by bending of the headphones.
4.Earsopen peace tw-1 headphones with bone conduction
Reason for recommendation:
PEACE TW-1 bone conduction headphone is a Japanese high -end headphone product. It is a rare ear-clip headphone on the market. It is directly clipped to the outer ear and worn just like wearing jewelry. Because the weight of its single body is only 8g, even if it is worn by ear clip, there will be no sense of weight bearing. After all, the weight of many earrings also reaches 8g. Of course, there will still be some discomfort when it is worn for a long time.
It adopts Bluetooth 5.0 technology, and the Bluetooth connection is more stable, with few disconnection cases. The sound quality and leak-proof treatment is good, and it is excellent for headphones with bone conduction. The only drawback is that the price is a little high. After all, it is positioned as a high-end brand.
5. Moing DG08 headphones with bone conduction
Reason for recommendation:
The DG08 headphones with bone conduction come with 8GB of memory, which can independently store about 2,000 songs. The battery life reaches 10 hours, and you don’t have to worry about battery problems for a full day of outdoor sports. Their non-in-ear design makes them more comfortable for the ears. They support life-grade waterproofing and are not afraid of sweat. It’s just that there are still some problems in sound quality and sound leakage, and if the budget is not sufficient, you can consider this one.
The above five bone conduction headphones are all products with good performance.Among them, Wissonly and Aftershokz are the most recommended brands because they both have core technologies in this field. Compared with the two brands, Wissonly’s product parameters is better and cost-effective.