The 10 Best Bone Conduction Headphones 2018

Best Bone Conductions Headphones

Looking for the best bone conduction headphones? In this article we round up and review the ten best bone conduction headphones you can buy online.

Have you ever wondered why you perceive your own voice as deeper than it actually sounds? The answer is quite simple: bone conduction. Our skulls conduct lower frequencies better than the air around us does, leading to us experiencing our own voice as being deeper and fuller than other people would. This is also true for the inverse; a recording of your own voice will normally sound a lot higher (and often a lot more annoying) than you normally perceive it.

The 5 Best Selling Bone Conduction Headphones:

SaleBestseller No. 1
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones, Slate Grey, (AS600SG)
1559 Reviews
AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones, Slate Grey, (AS600SG)
  • Bone conduction technology creates mini vibrations, sending sound through the cheekbones, directly to the inner ears for awareness and comfort
  • Wireless Bluetooth connectivity
  • PremiumPitch Plus delivers dynamic sound and truly powerful bass.
Bestseller No. 2
Aftershokz Bluez 2S Wireless Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones, Green Metallic, (AS500SM)
377 Reviews
Aftershokz Bluez 2S Wireless Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones, Green Metallic, (AS500SM)
  • Bone conduction technology uses vibrations to transmit sound waves directly to the cochlea
  • OpenFitTM assures unmatched ambient sound awareness and extended comfort
  • Dual microphones deliver clear communication even in noisy environments
Bestseller No. 3
Bone Conduction Headphones Bluetooth Wireless Stereo headset V4.2 , Cheek bone over the ear headset,...
64 Reviews
Bone Conduction Headphones Bluetooth Wireless Stereo headset V4.2 , Cheek bone over the ear headset,...
  • ※ What is Bone conduction technology :by creating mini vibrations, it sends sound through the cheekbones directly to the inner ears, avoiding damage to the ears using conventional earphones.
  • ※ Super HD Sound than normal headphones: With this new smart bone conduction headphones you can enjoy heavy bass and crystal clear treble whilst listening to your favorite music. By putting on ear...
  • ※ Wider connection and Long battery life: Upgraded bluetooth V4.2 with wide connection up to 30 ft away, and Fast, secure and stable connectivity. It is energy saving allows constant music for up to...
SaleBestseller No. 4
Aftershokz Bluez 2 Open Ear Wireless Stereo Headphones, AS500, Color: Black
432 Reviews
Aftershokz Bluez 2 Open Ear Wireless Stereo Headphones, AS500, Color: Black
  • Bone conduction technology uses vibrations to transmit sound waves directly to the cochlea
  • OpenFit assures unmatched ambient sound awareness and extended comfort
  • PremiumPitch patented dual suspension transducers guarantee the finest bone conduction audio
SaleBestseller No. 5
longee Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones - Sweatproof HD Stereo Wireless Headset with Multipoint...
58 Reviews
longee Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones - Sweatproof HD Stereo Wireless Headset with Multipoint...
  • Bone Conduction Technology Speaker: Create minute mechanical vibrations, send sound to the internal ear through the cranial bones. Release ears, you can hear outside voice while listening to music....
  • CSR Bluetooth V4.1 Chip: Give clearer conversation, lower latency in connecting, stronger and more stable signal, longer working time. Easy and fast pairing with smartphones, tablets and other...
  • Multipoint Connection: 1 Bluetooth headset connects 2 devices simultaneously, never miss any calls from your devices. Built-in 260mAh battery makes 10 days standby time, up to 8 hours of continuous...

Scroll down for images and a detailed review about each bone conduction headphone.

Until recently, the bone conduction audio devices like the headphones we will be discussing here were only used by the military and police force for communication, as well as in the medical field as hearing aids for those plagued by hearing loss. This has changed over the last couple of years as more audio equipment manufacturers have realized the potential that bone conduction headphones have for delivering high quality audio better than other audio devices in specific situations.

With several new brands such as JUHALL, AfterShokz, onnao, Kissral and Longee (and established brands like Panasonic) competing for consumer attention in the marketplace, it can be difficult to decide on which pair of bone conduction headphones to purchase. The seemingly futuristic nature of the technology (it has actually been used in various forms for over a century) also makes it slightly intimidating to those who fall outside of the tech-savvy crowd. This guide to the 10 best bone conduction headphones in today’s marketplace aims to help familiarize you with the exciting prospects offered by this technology – while outlining some of the best choices you can make when you decide to take home your first pair of bone conduction headphones:

The 10 Best Bone Conduction Headphones:

Based on their style, capabilities designs and features, we have come up with a list of 10 of the best bone conduction headphones on the market today. You can purchase any of these if you want to “feel” the sound vibrating through your jawbone – instead of having it be transmitted to your eardrum through the air:

1. Aftershokz Trekz Titanium Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones

AfterShokzTrekz Titanium Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones

The AfterShokzTrekz Titanium is targeted towards the sporty individuals out there. If you fancy a run, bike ride or even a solo session at the basketball court (to do some drills and work on your game), these headphones would be a great choice. As with most AfterShokz products, they feature an open ear design and various proprietary audio technologies that allow for safety, comfort, and a premium stereo sound.

AfterShokz was established in 2011 in the United States of America, with the intention of manufacturing wired and wireless bone conduction headphones based on Voxtech’s patented bone conductional technology (which was developed for law enforcement and military special operations). AfterShokz’s mission statement expresses a commitment to “innovating unconventionally and making situational awareness a priority.”

The AfterShokzTrekz Titanium come in a minimalist black and ocean blue design, and fit snugly around the lower back of your head and around your ears (without blocking your ear canals). You can thus enjoy your music or podcasts without sacrificing your situational awareness. (This open ear design also eliminates any discomfort you might experience from in-ear earphones or over-ear headphones). They are made from 1P55-certified material which is resistant to sweat and moisture. You will not have to worry about damaging them as you sweat profusely in a marathon or wear them in the snow. They measure at 4.9 x 3.9 x 1.9 inches and weigh only 2.4 ounces. It is powered by one rechargeable CR2 battery (which is included).

At over $100 on Amazon, these Bluetooth headphones are on the higher end of the price range. The features and functionality they offer nevertheless corresponds to the price tag. You can pay an additional $4.21 for 2-Year Protection or an additional $10.12 for 4-Year Protection.

The PremiumPitch+ technology offers a finely tuned sound paired with a powerful bass, while the Leakslayer technology reduces the sound leakage (common in most air conduction head and earphones) to give you a powerful experience, while still leaving you fully aware of your surroundings. Meanwhile, the dual noise cancelling mics help filter out the noise from your surroundings as you take and make calls.

The Wireless Bluetooth headset also comes with a titanium frame for increased durability and flexibility. Offering 6 hours of music and calls, this headset perfectly fits any environment you might be in. Due to their built-in Bluetooth technology they are not only considered to be the best bone conduction headphones, but also the best wireless bone conduction headphones.

2. JUHALL Bluetooth V4.2 Bone Conduction Headphones

JUHALL Bluetooth V4.2 Bone Conduction Headphones

Like AfterShokz, JUHALL has carved out a market niche for itself by designing bone conduction headphones that are compatible with athletic use while being versatile enough for other functions. The JUHALL Bluetooth V4.2 Bone Conduction Headphones features a distinctive and futuristic bright blue design and an affordable price (below $70 from Amazon). It measures at 6.3 x 5.3 x 2.5 inches and weighs only 39 grams.

As befitting a headphone that was intended for athletic use, the JUHALL Bluetooth V4.2 is made from sweat–proof and moisture/drip resistant material. It encircles the lower back of your head, with earpieces that comfortably fit over your ears without obstructing your ear canals. For a better fit, you can adjust the elastic bandage provided. The open-ear design minimizes any discomfort to your inner ear while ensuring that you retain situational awareness. It also makes for a good fit with individuals who suffer from hearing impairments.

Thanks to its upgraded wireless functionality, you can experience a secure and faster connectivity within a radius of 30 feet. You can sync it will up to two Bluetooth-enabled devices at the same time. Simply touch the appropriate button on the side of the headphones to change the volume, shuffle between tracks, or to make or answer calls. Its speaker has a sensitivity of 100± 3db, while its microphone sensitivity is -40±3db.

With its Super HD sound functionality, you will not suffer the drawbacks of most bone conduction headphones – a weaker bass and quieter volume – to the same extent. This allows you to appreciate the heavy bass and crystal clear treble sounds in your favourite EDM, techno, pop and hip hop tracks.

The JUHALL Bluetooth V4.2 headphones comes with a USB charging cable, one lithium ion metal battery, a tension band and a user’s manual. A full charge takes approximately two hours, and provides up to six hours of continuous music play (and ten days of standby duration). Like other JUHALL products, it comes with a 90 day money back guarantee or a free replacement if you discover any quality-related issues with your purchase.

To sum it up, the JUHALL Bluetooth V4.2 headphones provide excellent sound quality for a long duration and a highly reasonable price. You get close to the best of each world via the Super HD sound feature – audio delight without compromising your ability to keep track of your surroundings.

3. Aftershokz Bluez 2 AS500 Open Ear Wireless Stereo Headphones

Aftershokz Bluez 2 AS500 Open Ear Wireless Stereo Headphones

This AfterShokz Bluez 2 AS500 provides wireless Bluetooth connectivity with a streamlined and lightweight design. It does not actually come with a blue design – but you can choose between black and bright red. Like other AfterShokz products, it was manufactured with a comfortable open-ear design that goes around the lower back of your head. It measures at 2.4 x 5.9 x.1 inches and weighs only 1.44 ounces (41 grams). It costs below $90 on Amazon, thus serving as a cheaper alternative to the aforementioned AfterShokzTrekz Titanium.

Both AfterShokz headphones on this list have been designed with athletic use in mind. The AfterShokz Bluez 2 AS500 has been manufactured with nanotechnology-treated material. This allows it to repel the sweat and moisture it may come in contact with as you run, cycle, play basketball at home or club, work out in the gym, or even ski. It comes with an adjustable tension strap to help you get an optimum fit for each situation of use.

It comes with the company’s OpenFit technology, which provides you with “unmatched ambient sound awareness” and prolonged comfort. Like the AfterShokzTrekz Titanium, it comes with PremiumPitch+ technology patented dual suspension transducers to provide you with surprising audio quality. Meanwhile, the dual microphones allow you to make clear and crisp voice calls even when you are in relatively noisy environments.

You can either use the multi-function keys on the side of the headphone to change the volume or switch between tracks or use your Android or iOS phone to achieve the same ends. The AfterShokz Bluez 2 AS500 comes with one lithium ion battery, a handy breathable storage pouch that lets it dry after each workout, and a USB charging cable. You can enjoy up to six hours of continuous music play on a full charge. You will have to fork out an additional $1.28 for 2-Year Protection or $6.61 for 4-Year Protection.

The AfterShokz Bluez 2 AS500 works well as a comfortable piece of wearable technology that you can use to make your workouts more enjoyable. You can be assured that it will not get in the way of your helmet. It also ensures that you do not compromise your situational awareness in potentially dangerous situations. It excels at conveying speech-related audio such as radio shows and podcasts, but you will likely find it underwhelming when it comes to music. If you are looking for a high fidelity music listening experience, you should look elsewhere. If you hope to make calls or listen to speech audio tracks, however, this will suit your agenda perfectly.

4. Borofone Titanium Wireless Open Ear Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones

Borofone Titanium Wireless Open Ear Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones

Borofone is a European brand with German architecture; their mission is to provide consumers with a complete series of high performance headphones “with great sound quality and ID design, at affordable prices.” Their Wireless Open Ear Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones come with a titanium and silicone alloy frame that is soft, flexible, portable, and durable. It measures at 4.53 x 4.33 x 2.56 inches and an ultra-lightweight design that only weighs only 30 grams. You can thus be assured of comfort – you will hardly feel the weight! At just under $70 from Amazon, it lies on the lower end of the price range on this list.

As with the other athletic-purposed bone conduction headphones on this list, it was made with high intensity material that is resistant to rain and sweat. The IPX5 waterproof shell water protection means that you can jog or run in the rain or sweat away in the gym without worrying about your wearable technology.The ergonomic design helps to keep it securely placed (in front of your ears and behind the back of your head) as you challenge yourself with strenuous exercises. The on-ear placement keeps your ear canals free, leaving you alert to the sounds of approaching vehicles or warnings from people around you.

The Borofone Titanium Wireless Open Ear Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones boast a large built-in 180mAh batter with an exceptionally long standby time: 240 hours. Its music playing time and talk time is nevertheless more modest (4 hours each). It takes two hours to reach a full charge. By charging it twice a week, you can access 1 hour of music play time each day. If you have an Apple device or an Android device with an iOS version above 7.0, you can use it to keep track of your battery capacity.

You can connect with any Bluetooth-enabled devices within a 10 meter transmission range. When you take or make calls, you can be assured of clear communication via the mic’s noise reduction technology. Use the conveniently placed controls to start or end calls, and to control your volume. It comes with a charging cable, a user’s manual, a pair of ear plugs, and a warranty. You can expect a refund or an exchange if you detect any problems with your headphones.

5. Kissral Bone Conduction Headphones

Kissral Bone Conduction Headphones

Kissral has been manufacturing Bluetooth speakers and Bluetooth earbuds for over a decade now, and has developed a reputation of creating solid products. These U-shaped black open ear Bluetooth bone conduction headphones are sleek and foldable, allowing you to achieve an optimally comfortable fit. They measure at 5.2 x 4.9 x 1.6 inches and weighs 8 ounces (227 grams).

At under $70 from Amazon, they make for one of the cheaper options on this list. You can pay an additional $7.43 for 4-Year Protection or an additional $2.30 for 3-Year Protection.

Like most of the other bone conduction headphones in this review, the Kissral Bluetooth 4.0 bone conduction headphone was engineered with athletic use in mind. They come with a sweat resistant and waterproof material, allowing you to run, cycle, ski, or hike without worrying about them getting damaged from rain, snow or sweat.

The wireless Bluetooth functionality provides a stable transmission within a 10 meter radius. You can use the headphones to listen to music and make voice calls by simply pressing down on the multi-function buttons on the side of the earpiece. It comes with one lithium ion battery, a USB charging cable, a carrying bag and a user’s manual. You get up to four to five hours of music play with a full charge. If you have an Apple device or an Android device with an iOS version beyond 7.0, you can use it to check how much battery power you have left.

If you look closely at each earpiece, you will see that it is lined with 360 degrees of small sound holes. These provided a three dimensional and full bodied listening experience, enhancing the audio quality that you would typically expect from bone conduction headphones. On top of that, they come with a shell structure that provides high sound insulation which reduces the sound leakage you commonly experience with bone conduction headphones. Meanwhile, the noise-cancellation features filters out the background noise when you turn on the headphones, allowing you to experience crisp audio when you listen to your favourite music or make calls.

In conclusion, the Kissral Bluetooth 4.0 bone conduction headphone works excellently as athletic wearable technology. Its noise reduction technology and the three dimensional listening it provides add up to an above-average music listening experience (when compared to other bone conduction headphones). However, you should be careful when using them in external settings since they can compromise on your situational awareness. If you have to use them outdoors, make sure that they do not make you oblivious to car horns, people’s voices, etc.

6. Panasonic RP-HGS10-G Open-Ear Bone Conduction Headphones

Panasonic RP-HGS10-G Open-Ear Bone Conduction Headphones

Do not let the price tag (under $90 from Amazon) on this headset fool you. The Japanese giant Panasonic has come up with a great budget decision option that will satisfy your needs for an open ear headphone without burning a hole through your wallet.

This bone conductivity headset offers a sporty design which is ideal for extended jogging sessions through the park or bike rides on a panoramic road. It comes in green, pink, and white – making it easy for you to match your workout gear with. The headphones’ water and sweat resistance allows you to enjoy the music anytime, and sing along as much as you like even in the rain while being fully aware of your surroundings.

They measure at 5.7 x 2.4 x 7.7 inches and weigh only 3.2 ounces. This lightweight design makes it remarkably easy to slip on and off. It also features soft corner cushions that fit comfortably right next to the ears (without blocking your ear canals). It is attached to a strong and tangle-resistant cord (i.e. these are not wireless headphones) that helps you to use, carry and store away the Panasonic RP-HGS10-G without experiencing much hassle. You do not have to worry about Bluetooth syncing or recharging the batteries here.

As you might expect from Panasonic, the RP-HGS10-G features good quality audio with a decent bass level. While it may not surpass the limitations of most bone conduction headphones, it will allow you to enjoy your music or podcasts while retaining your situational awareness.

The design is not only bright and colourful, but those colours are also reflective. They reflect headlights at night and in conditions of low light, thus adding increased visibility that will help keep you safe if you decide to venture out after dusk. You can thus use them to listen to your favourite workout or chill-out playlists as you enjoy an evening walk, run or talk out in the open – without missing a beat of what is happening around you. If you want to experience bone conduction sound, but you are not sure you would like it, these headphones are a steal and a viable option.

7. Besteker Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones

Besteker Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones

As one of the value picks on this list, the Besteker Open provides great value for its price and can give you a genuine bone conduction experience. If you are not too sure that you want to spend the big bucks on another headset just yet, this could be a great fit for you. You will be able to experience the wonders of wireless bone conduction technology, which allows you to listen to music or audio input while remaining vigilant to surrounding sounds as you drive, run or cycle.

It comes with an eye-catching black and neon green design. The plastic beam has a high elasticity and can be arbitrarily bent 360°. Meanwhile, the reflective warning stickers on its back help reflect the headlights from approaching drivers at night and in conditions of low light. This will help ensure your safety if you decide to exercise after nightfall. It measures at 7 x 5 x 2.1 inches and weighs only 8.8 ounces.

The Besteker Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones comes with one USB charging cable, an instruction manual, Besteker’s 6-month warranty and one 230mAh lithium ion battery. You can enjoy up to 6 hours of continuous play time and 7 days of standby time with a full charge. Do not that it will automatically shut down after 15 minutes without any connection to your phone to conserve battery power.

Although the design is more sporty than formal, the quality of the sound experience while listening to music is just as good as when you are taking a conference call as you drive down the freeway. The headset’s Adopt 4.1 wireless technology, alongside a top of the line bone conduction module, helps provide a high-quality sound without hurting or damaging your eardrum, even at high volumes.Just make sure your phone remains within the transmission range of 10 metres.

If you have formal as well as athletic intentions for this bone conduction headphone, you will be pleased to learn that it comes with a classic winding cord and a clip that will help prevent any accidental slips or disconnects as you use it while driving or walking. Meanwhile, the separate wring diagram helps you to control the music and calls without any hassle. You can effortlessly reduce the volume and pick up a call the next time the occasion arises.

8. Marsboy Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones

Marsboy Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones 

Right up there in the high-end department, the futuristic-looking black Marsboy wireless bone conduction headset has amazing features for anyone interested in this technology and looking for a solid opportunity to explore the bone conduction listening experience. The bone conduction technology used in it transmits the sound waves vibrations directly to the cochlea, meaning you will be able to enjoy music or conversation fully and nothing will “block” your ears.

This situational awareness can be crucial when you are running or cycling outdoors, or when you use the headphones will working in the military, police force, call centre, or regular office. If you are using the headphones in safe and secure setting, you can use the included earplugs to experience better sound quality.

Do not let the sleek formal design fool you; the headset is waterproof, it has an adjustable headband and easy to use controls. Moreover, it has Bluetooth compatibility with almost all Bluetooth-enabled devices such as Apple phones and a wide range of Android phones.You can expect a transmission distance of up to 10 metres if there are no obstacles in the way.

It measures at 5.3 x 4.9 x 2 inches and weighs only 5.6 ounces. The Marsboy wireless bone conduction headset comes with one USB charging cable, a pair of earplugs, and one user’s manual.The headset offers great standby battery life of up to 10 days and continuous play of up to 6 hours on a full charge (which takes up to 2 hours). Furthermore, you can connect two phones to the same headset. With the Marsboy Wireless Sports Stereo Headset, you get a strong sense of awareness, great sound (Dual-Track Stereo), and a quality design made up of ABS (a commonly used thermoplastic polymer with an impervious and shiny surface) that is appropriate for both sports and formal attire, while taking utmost care for your ears.

9. oannao Bone Conduction Headphones

oannao Bone Conduction Headphones

These headphones from oannao (a Chinese company specializing in electronics) come in two forms: a sleek black design or an unusual black and white newspaper print design. They come with specific head circumference measurements (48 to 60 cm, or 18.9 to 23.62 inches), so it would be best to get that measuring tape out before you decide to purchase them. They measure at 6.3 x 5.2 x 2.2 inches and weigh a lightweight 0.64 ounces (18.1 grams). Priced at just under $60 from Amazon, they provide satisfactory functionality at a relatively affordable price.

As with the other sporty bone conduction headphones on this list, these headphones come with an open-ear design that will allow you to listen to music or make calls while being attentive to audio input from your immediate surroundings. The two pads will be situated directly in front of your ears, without obstructing your ear canals.

These wireless headphones come with Bluetooth 4.0 technology. You will be able to listen to your favourite songs or make calls (with the help of the four control buttons) provided that your phone stays within a 15 feet range. It comes with one 220mA built-in lithium-ion battery, a USB charging cable, a pair of earplugs, a user’s manual, and a one-year warranty (a full refund or exchange is provided if you report any quality issues within a month). A full charge takes nearly 2 hours, allowing you to enjoy up to 5 hours of continuous music and talk time.

The oannao Bone Conduction Headphones are not particularly outstanding, but they provide good value for money. You can expect satisfactory audio quality when listening to music, but do expect the bass to be slightly dull. (You can make use of the provided earplugs for a marginal improvement). On the other hand, you will find the noise cancelling technology that works in tandem with the mic to be unexpectedly stellar. With all the unnecessary background noise filtered away, you can enjoy crystal-clear voice calls – unless you happen to be in the presence of an unusually noisy surroundings or forceful winds. The other product design drawback you want to take into consideration is its material (plastic). While this allows for a very light pair of headphones, it makes it less durable over the long term. You can also expect a noticeable level of sound leakage at high volume levels.

10. Longee Smart Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones

Longee Smart Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones

So you live and breathe sports and you are looking for bone conduction headsets at a great price? Well, look no further. Our last pick is certainly a gem for everyone close to the sea (or the pool). The Longee Smart Bone Conduction Headphones are sweat-proof and waterproof. If you are looking to dive and enjoy the depths while listening to the sonic ambiance of your choice, this headset is for you. You can also listen to your favourite tracks while swimming laps in the pool. (Other land-based athletic pursuits like running, jogging, cycling, office work, driving and working out with the gym is just as compatible). With its CVC smart noise reduction modeand a highly sensitive microphone with noise reduction capability, you can be assured that modest amounts of background noise will not interfere with your calls.

The full sweat-proof and waterproof and ear free design enables you to make the most of your surroundings, while taking in your favourite music or talking with your loved ones or friends. The multipoint connection allows pairing with two devices and you will not skip a beat, when being active or on the go. The sleek and streamlined black design (with piano paint technology) adds some delightful visual appeal into the mix. There is also functionality to all that style: the material used is eco-friendly and engineered to prevent skin allergies even after prolonged wear. It measures at 5.1 x 6.1 x 2.1 inches and weighs only 2.1 ounces.

The smart voice control allows the user to activate Siri or Google Now easily, so that any call, message check or music playback can be done hands-free, without losing sight of what is happening around them. It comes with a CSR Bluetooth V4.1 chip that makes for a stronger and more stable signal, a lower latency when connecting, a longer working time and crisper conversation. Experience effortless connectivity – within a 15 meter effective range – with tablets, smartphones, computers, and other Bluetooth enabled devices. If your phone has a built-in NFC (Near Fields Communication) function, it can connect to the headset automatically – you just need to place them next to each other.

The Longee Smart Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones comes with a 260mAh polymer battery, a micro USB charging cable, two sponge ear buds, a user’s manual, a PBT bandage (compression elastic bandage), and a one year manufacturer’s warranty. The batter takes up to 3 hours to fully charge. It ten makes for 8 hours of continuous music play and 10 days of standby time.

Bone Conduction FAQ

Are Bone Conduction Headphones Better Than Traditional Headphones?

The short answer is no: in most cases they are not. Bone conduction headphones do not deliver better quality audio than a high quality pair of traditional headphones will, that is a matter of fact, but in certain situations they are a better, more functional, option than traditional headphones. As they don’t have an ear piece that occupies your ear canal, it makes it possible for you to listen to music and still be aware of your surroundings. This is highly important in ensuring your safety, but you also benefit from retaining access to potentially pleasant auditory input from your surroundings (e.g. while hiking or running through the woods). Since many bone conduction headphones are water-resistant or waterproof, it makes it arguably the best headphones for outdoor sports such as running, cycling or swimming.

To understand why, you should note that bone conduction headphones rely on sound waves vibrating through you skull and bone labyrinth to access your inner ear. The sound waves are then transmitted to the auditory centre in your brain through the auditory nerve. Your eardrums remain receptive to air-transmitted sound waves, so you can hear the sounds coming from both sources at once.

Unfortunately, this mode of transmission typically has a weaker bass and lower volume. Many bone conduction headphones work just fine when transmitting audio input that solely involves the human voice (i.e. voice calls, podcasts, radio talk shows, audio stories and books). When it comes to music (which features a rich sonic tapestry of vocals, melodies, notes, timbres, meters, harmonies, tonalities and atonalities), however, bone conduction headphones pale noticeably when stacked alongside even low-end traditional earphones and headphones.

Are Bone Conduction Headphones Safer Than Traditional Headphones?

Marketing claims that bone conduction headphones are “safer” than their traditional counterparts need to be examined at various levels. Yes, they are safer for use outdoors or in moderate-risk indoor settings like the gym. Since they keep your eardrums receptive to the sound of oncoming vehicles, car horns, and human voices, they are safer by virtue of allowing more situational awareness. This is why they are used in high-risk police and military settings, where officers and soldiers often cannot afford to be distracted from their surroundings while communicating with their superiors or comrades.

On the other hand, it is not strictly true that bone conduction headphones are safer than traditional headphones in preventing hearing loss, cochlear damage, or eardrum damage. Both devices ultimately transmit sound waves that are transduced by the cochlea. Using bone-conducted headphones over the long run thus does not prevent the risk of cochlear damage.

They may be safer than traditional headphones when it comes to eardrum damage, but this depends on what the maximum volume that the MP3 player or computer being to play the music is. Traditional headphones will not cause eardrum damage as long as they do not exceed 100 decibels. This is the upper limit for MP3 player volumes that that has been recommended by the European Union Consumer Affairs Commissioner and most MP3 players do not exceed it. To keep your hearing safe over the long run, however, it would be best to consume your audio at volume levels below 80 dBA (even then, you are advised to keep your listening time to below 40 hours every week).

When Are Bone Conduction Headphones Preferable to Traditional Headphones?

Apart from situations where you need to be vigilant of your immediate surroundings or pay attention to two sources of audio input at the same time (e.g. in call centres), bone conduction headphones are particularly helpful to those who have hearing impairments. If your ability to hear airwave-transmitted sound waves has deteriorated, bone conduction technology can provide a much-appreciated means of auditory stimulation.

The most famous hearing-impaired person to have benefited from bone conduction technology is probably celebrated 18th century composer Ludwig van Beethoven. He was almost deaf when he discovered that bone conduction could help him listen to the notes he was playing. By clenching down on a metal rod that was attached to his piano with his teeth, he was able to experience the sound vibrations that were transmitted from the piano to his jaw. By the time he was 45, Beethoven had become completely deaf. Thanks to his handy metal rod and his iron-willed determination to persevere, however, the world could bask in one of his greatest works: the Ninth Symphony.

The tragic irony is that Beethoven himself could not hear it – or the vigorous applause it received – when it was performed for the first time in Vienna. As TIME Magazine reported, one of his soloists had to turn him around for him to notice the audience’s response, who had to double their efforts to reach him: “The demonstration took a sudden, emotional turn as the people started shouting, beating their palms together still harder in an effort to assure the fierce-looking little man of their sympathy, their appreciation.”

This is not to say that bone conduction headphones can assist individuals suffering from all types of hearing loss. In general, there are three types of hearing loss: conductive hearing loss, perceptive hearing loss, and mixed hearing loss. Bone conduction headphones are helpful with conductive hearing loss, which occurs when one’s eardrums have been impaired and thus cannot transmit sound waves properly. Since the bone conduction device takes over the role of the eardrums, it can be a major hearing aid.

Unfortunately, those with perceptive hearing loss cannot benefit in the same way. Perceptive hearing loss means that it is the inner ear (the cochlea and its associated structures) or the vestibulocochlear never that has been impaired. Since bone conduction headphones also rely on your ability to sense the vibrations emitted by the auditory nerves at the cochlea, they can only be of marginal help.

Mixed hearing loss arises from a variety of factors. Bone conduction headphones may or may not be helpful here – a trial session is thus necessary to ascertain its utility.

Bone Conduction Headphone Buyer’s Guide

Now that you are well-acquainted with the technicalities, history and nuances of bone conduction headphones, you can take note of the following specifications when deciding on the exact model to purchase. You will want to consider the primary ways in which you intend to use the headphones, alongside other familiar considerations like brand, price, size, weight, fit, sound quality, and specifications.

Sound Quality

As previously noted, most bone conduction headphones will not have the same audio fidelity as their traditional counterparts when it comes to music. There is nevertheless still a range of audio quality with the headphones on this list – some only have average capabilities in this regard, while others have been engineered to deliver deeper bass sounds and higher volumes.  At some point, however, the audio quality may begin to distract from your situational awareness – especially when the headphones come with earplugs. Be sure to turn up the volume – and thus effectively reduce your situational awareness – wisely.

Noise Cancelling Technology

You might expect bone conduction headphones antagonistically to noise-cancelling headphones, since their main goal is to allow for situational awareness. Some bone conduction headphones nevertheless come equipped with useful noise cancelling mics – this obscures the unwanted background noise from your surroundings as you make voice calls. If you plan to use your headphones for this purpose often, then look out for this feature.

Price

The price range of the bone conduction headphones on this list is not particularly dramatic: from below $60 to over $100. This variance nevertheless reflects subtle changes in functionality, durability, the material used, and the aesthetic appeal of each headphone design.

Ease of Use

With the exception of the Panasonic RP-HGS10-G, all the bone conduction headphones on this list are wireless (with Bluetooth connectivity). If possible, you should try to test the ability of the headphones you are considering to sync with your primary device. A few even allow you to control the headphone through your phone, adding an additional degree of convenience.

Fit

Apart from the oannao Bone Conduction Headphones, which comes with specific head circumference measurements, most bone conduction headphones were designed to fit everyone. Some come with elastic bands that provide a degree of adjustability. Since you will probably be engaging in physical activity while wearing them (for possibly many hours on end), be sure to check that they fit you comfortably.

Visual Appeal

Let’s face it: everyone would prefer to look cooler while they work out. As the saying going, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whether you prefer a more vibrant and eye-catching design or a futuristic look that will impress your gym buddies, the device that best gets you in the zone to perform athletically should be well worth its cost.

Conclusion

Even though bone conduction sound making has been around since 2008, we are just starting to of figure out the technology, its use for conventional purposes and ways to improve it. While it has helped as a source of hearing aid, it also certainly has its applications in our everyday lives: as a source of awareness, as a tool to get a lot more out of our music playlists, and as a gateway to a whole new world of exploring a feeling or sensation, while being able to hear everything around us.

For those of you who wish to go head first and dive into the bone conduction experience, the Marsboy and Shokz Titanium headsets are a great choice, even though the technology has a lot to improve on. Moreover, for anyone who wishes to get away from the vacuum of their earbuds and wants to feel their surroundings while jogging, working out, swimming, driving or even making a work call, any of the sets on our list would give you this experience.

Have you tried a bone conduction headset? Do you own one? What do you use it for? How does it feel? Did we miss anything? We would love to hear what you think, so share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Bone Conduction Headphone Comparison Guide:

SpeakerPlay TimePriceOur Rating
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium  Our Pick6 Hours$$$5-Stars
JUHALL Bluetooth V4.2 6 Hours$$4-stars
Aftershokz Bluez 2 AS500 6 hours$$$4-stars
Borofone Titanium Wireless 4 Hours$$4-stars
Kissral Bone Conduction Headphones4 Hours$$
Besteker Open Ear Wireless 6 Hours$
Marsboy Wireless6 Hours$$
oannao Bone Conduction Headphones5 Hours$$
Longee Smart Bluetooth 8 Hours$$$
SpeakerPrice
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium  Our Pick$$$
JUHALL Bluetooth V4.2 $$
Aftershokz Bluez 2 AS500 $$$
Borofone Titanium Wireless Open Ear Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphone$$
Kissral Bone Conduction Headphones$$
Besteker Open Ear Wireless $
Marsboy Wireless$$
oannao Bone Conduction Headphones$$
Longee Smart Bluetooth $$$

Add comment