While conventional headphones and earbuds are designed to block out outside sound, bone conduction headphones allow you to hear the environment around you while listening to your audio. They sit on the cheekbones and use a small transducer to transmit vibrations to the inner ears. The process is similar to how baleen whales hear underwater and how Beethoven played without hearing, as he felt the vibration of his strings through his bones.
Many manufacturers equip their bone-conduction headphones with a microphone to make it easier to talk on the phone while you listen to music or podcasts. The mic can help you avoid background noise and stay alert to your surroundings, while the headphones themselves tend to have more sound bleed than traditional models, so don’t crank up the volume too high on public commutes or workouts.
Bone-conduction headphones work best for people with impaired or limited hearing because they don’t rely on the eardrum to transmit audio signals. The technology is also great for athletes who want to keep their ears open to the landscape or fellow runners. Look for a sweatproof design and long battery life to make your workouts more enjoyable.
AfterShokz is a brand that’s been pumping out different versions of bone-conduction headphones for years. The company’s latest are the Shokz OpenRun, which we recommend for most users. They’re a rebrand of the AfterShokz Aeropex and offer some premium features, including Bluetooth 5.1 and fast charging. They’re sweatproof and have an IP 67 rating against dust and water. bone conduction headphones with mic