Think about it. Bone conduction headphones absolutely make sense, though the concept sounds more complicated than the mechanism. Audiologists introduced bone conduction technology in hearing aids in the 1970s, and the advancement has been particularly vital for individuals with hearing impairments. At the start of the Bluetooth headphone era, headphone brands understood the opportunity to incorporate bone conduction technology into entertainment equipment. This leads us to today. The technology has proven useful in circumstances where noise-canceling gear might inhibit the safety of the headphone wearer, and in instances where situational, background and spatial awareness are crucial (think: hiking, open road running or biking).
What Are Bone Conduction Headphones?
At its purest, sound is vibration. Where traditional headphones direct sound into the ear canal, bone conduction headphones emit vibrations through the cheekbones and jaw, bypass the ear drum and direct these vibrations directly towards the inner ear, or cochlea. While bone conduction headphones are generally safe, experts advise us to keep a close eye on the volume—there is a tendency to crank it way up since bone conduction headphones lack an ear seal, and inherently allow better perception of background noise.
What Are Bone Conduction Headphones Good for?
Bone conduction headphones are a notable choice for any activity where it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. While traditional noise-cancelling headphones are an audiophile’s dream, there are a number of instances where you can blame them for things going south: missing the first sounds of a big catch on the lake, or rustling leaves of warning during a hike.
No matter your sport or activity, on your hunt for the best bone conduction headphones of 2020, be sure to consider design elements, comfort, durability, waterproofing, sound quality, and last, but certainly not least, long-lasting battery life.
We’ve listened and heard the sweet sounds of success. Here are the 7 best bone conduction headphones for right here and right now (and, just in time for the holidays).