The innovations brought about by this technology have not only provided users with considerable health benefits, but they’ve also allowed hearing-impaired people to enjoy music just as everyone else would.
However, bone conduction headphones aren’t everyone’s first choice of a playback device, and there’s a lot of debate around their comparisons to earbud headphones.
In this article, we’re going to examine the pros and cons that come with bone conduction headphones, and also see how they compare to conventional earbuds.
Bone Conduction Headphones vs Earbuds: Which Is Better?
Bone Conduction headphones are generally better suited for people that require headphones that place little to no strain on the ear canal. These people include the hearing impaired, the elderly, and anyone suffering from an ear-related medical condition such as tinnitus.
On the other hand, earbuds tend to be the more popular choice among consumers that need reliable sound quality and performance. Earbuds provide a more isolated listening experience than bone conduction headphones, and are the better for audiophiles, sound engineers, musicians, and other intensive music listeners.
How Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work?
Bone conduction headphones work by emitting vibrations instead of regular sound signals. These headphones mostly consist of a two-piece component that is placed over the ear.
The frontal piece is placed on the side of a user’s head where the jawbone and ear meet.
This frontal piece converts an incoming signal into vibrations that are pulsed through the skull and received by the cochlea inside the ear.
Essentially, bone conduction headphones turn human skulls into speakers, without placing extra strain on the inner bones and muscles of the ear.
Our auditory nerves perceive these vibrational emissions in a similar way to traditional headphones and translate them in the same way to the brain.
The primary purpose of bone conduction headphones is to provide a strong, reliable means of intrinsic audio playback to humans without the harm caused by regular headphones.
Conventional headphones and earbuds work by emitting sound from small speakers that are placed within the ear.
The space in between this speaker and your inner ear is highly sensitive and can be easily damaged if the speakers get too loud.
Most headphone manufacturers exceed the suggested maximum volume level so that they can compete with one another.
A lot of headphone users also tend to ignore the volume safety warnings on their audio playback devices.
Bone conduction headphones lower the risk of hearing loss or damage caused by excessive audio playback levels.
People That Benefit From Bone Conduction Headphones
Several people with medically diagnosed hearing loss can now make use of bone conduction technology to hear audio playback.
Bone conduction headphones can bypass any deficiencies within the ear canal and send audio through the auditory nerves directly to the user’s brain.
Sportsmen and Women
Certain music listeners may not be able to use conventional headphones due to the environmental conditions of their chosen activities. A great example of these users is swimmers.
Water usually passes through the ear canal during swimming and severely interferes with the audio playback that earbuds provide.
However because bone conduction headphones are placed against the human skull, water cannot interrupt the sound quality of their playback.
Musicians have always made use of headphones for playback and monitoring purposes.
A common issue with using earbuds for monitoring during live performance is that they create a spatial disassociation between the listener and the performance space.
Bone conduction headphones allow musicians to receive audio playback while still being able to hear the room in which they perform, providing a much clearer sonic image and sound quality for them to navigate their performances within.
Children can be especially partial to hearing loss at an early age if they’re subjected to excessive noise levels.
Much like other developing parts of their body, extra care needs to be taken to preserve their ears as they grow.
Bone conduction headphones prevent high sound levels from entering children’s ears directly, which means they can be left to use their audio playback devices unmonitored.
Pros Of Traditional Earbuds
Immersive Sound Quality
Headphones outperform bone conduction headphones for the immersive sound quality of their audio playback. Unfortunately, bone conduction headphones just can’t deliver the same stereo imaging as traditional earbuds do.
This downfall makes them a secondary choice for anyone looking to experience the full spectrum of surround sounds such as gamers or movie watchers.