Bone Conduction Headphones: Walk & Cycle Safely in Cities

bone conduction headphones audio

Biking or walking in urban environments with headphones on or earplugs in can be dangerous, while open speaker systems drain batteries and lack sound quality, making these hybrid bone conduction headphones better than the best of both worlds.

bone conduction audio mechanism

The AfterShokz’s Bluez 2S bypasses your eardrum, delivering sound to your inner ear through bone vibrations. Lightweight and worn around rather than over your ears, they provide a distraction-free way to listen to audio while moving through busy city streets.

bone conduction side pad

Designed to be robust and resist the effects of dust, sweat, heat and cold, they are made to be a year-round solution for audiophiles who need music or podcasts to keep them company through daily commutes. They also have soft, cheek-friendly pads to keep from becoming irritating over long walks or rides. As they are not headphones, they also skirt laws in some cities which prohibit ear-occupying devices for reasons of public and personal safety.

bone conduction side by sad

Author Jon Turi provides some feedback on the differences in sound to be expected from this alternative audio delivery mechanism: “So how do they sound? First, you need to understand that this is an entirely different experience than regular headphones, with its own set of trade-offs. Music will sound a bit different with this type of technology. The overall sound may be a bit duller compared to your standard cans, but you’ll also get a pleasantly spacious head-feel when listening, which is hard to convey. Speech comes across clearly, but the low-end will be lacking in comparison. I frequently have the volume near maximum when I’m hustling on bustling city streets and feeling the music. In quieter environments, however, there’s more headroom in volume flexibility. The claim is that PremiumPitch+ helps increase bass, while dampening vibration and reducing sound leakage. The Bluez 2S may not be the loudest pair I’ve listened too — Damson’s Headbones still hold that title — but they provide plenty of kick without going overboard on the vibration.”

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See more in Audio & TV or under Gadgets. October, 2015.