What Are Bone Conduction Headphones and How Do They Work?
Jan 04,2023 | Sylvia
You may found that there are more and more people wearing Bluetooth earphones.In the past two years, the most popular one is bone conduction headphones.Today, I will introduce the relevant knowledge of them, hope you can choose your right headphones after reading the article.
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?
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..
After understand “how do bone conduction headphones work”,I will introduce the benefits of them to you.
What are the benefits of bone conduction headphones
Since bone conduction headphones do not require the use of both ears, they also bring some health benefits. They do not need to be stuffed into the ear when worn, they can keep the inside of the ear canal clean and hygienic. And the surface of them is smooth, easy to clean, and its body can keep clean. Traditional air conduction headphones are worn either into the ear or covering throughout the ear, which will cause bacteria to deposit inside the ear. So bone conduction headphones are of great help to the ear health. They use the principle of bone conduction to transmit sound that does not need to pass through the eardrum. So unless the volume is turned up too much, normal volume will not affect hearing when the headphones are used.
Bone conduction headphones are also very friendly to be used in sports scenes. Wireless headphones themselves are sport-friendly, and the non-in-ear characteristics make them more suitable for sports scenes than other headphones. They are also much more stable in wearing than traditional wireless Bluetooth headphones. Their integrated body structure is tightly fastened to the temples on both sides,and no matter how you move, they will firmly stick to the ears, following the rhythm of your body. So you do not worry about their falling off.
At the same time, bone conduction headphones can provide higher safety and security compared to common headphones. They are placed on the cheekbones in front of the ears when used. They directly conduct sound through the skull to the inner ear. Both ears are always open, so the phones will not affect any external environmental sounds into the ears. Users can even listen to music while chatting with friends around them. Therefore, in outdoor occasions, on the bus and subway, and when walking on the road, you can hear the sound of outside world, so as to avoid accidents.
Of course, bone conduction headphones are not 100% perfect, and they also have some disadvantages. For example, their sound quality is not as good as that of traditional noise-canceling headphones. And they have problems of sound leakage. Fortunately, the entire industry is working hard to solve these problems. And some excellent brands, such as Wissonly and Aftershokz, have improved the sound quality and sound leakage perfectly.
It can be said that bone conduction headphones are good for using, and the following i will recommends several good headphones to everyone.
1.Wissonly Hi Runner bone conduction headphones
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 A6606 bone conduction headphones
It is equipped with a night run lamp for safe lighting, which turns on the LED lamp when running at night, and showing the position and ensuring safety. Built-in 15mm bone conduction vibrator and open acoustic structure in headphones bring a wide sense of space, while allowing you to enjoy a shocking bass effect.
It has IP67 dustproof and waterproof certification, which can completely prevent dust from entering headphones, and it can be used normally even in rainy days, but it can't be used when swimming.
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
Earsopen was born in Tokyo, Japan, and is a brand of bone conduction headphones owned by BoCo Co., Ltd. Earsopen PEACE TW-1 is the first Bluetooth headphones with left-right separation among bone conduction products. Because the sounding unit is small and closer to the ear canal, the sound leakage is also very small. The main body of the headphone is T-shaped, and the ear clip is adopted. Comfort is not as high as the first two models, but this way of wearing is really the only one. If you must choose TWS's one, it's good.
5.Nank Runner CC3 bone conduction headphones
Its headphones’ body is designed with a titanium alloy rear-hanging body, which is light in weight, and it doesn't feel heavy when worn. The ear-hanging design is also very convenient to wear, so you don't have to worry about falling off. The whole headphone adopts seamless design, and even the earphones are wrapped in silica gel, which can greatly reduce sound leakage. As magnetic charging is adopted, after each use, it is only necessary to put the magnetic suction head at the buckle position of the headphone. Compared with the previous products, the sound quality is obviously improved, but it still needs to be improved. Those who have low requirements for sound quality can choose it.