How do bone conduction headphones work?

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Are you looking for the bone conduction headphones? The following article is for you. How do bone conduction headphones work? By vibrating your skull, it can make you hear sounds through your skull

Bone conduction headphone, also known as bone phones, are special devices that transmit sound waves through the bones in your skull instead of your ear canal. When using this special headset, the in your skull vibrate to amplify sound waves. As a result, you can listen to the sound of the device while your ears remain vibration-free. 

Therefore, it is undeniable that conduction headphone are beneficial for people with hearing disabilities or those who need to use their ears to perceive their surroundings. So, let’s learn about how bone conduction headphone work.

How do bone conduction headphones work?

Bone conduction headphone use a special method called “conduction audio technology”. Simply put, a transducer converts audio data into vibrations. This data is then transmitted along with your bony structure to the cochlea. The cochlea is an inner ear structure that transmits information along the auditory nerve in the form of signals to the brain.

In contrast to ordinary headphone, your skull is the speaker of this particular headset. It emits vibrations through speakers placed in (or on top) of the outer ear.

How bone conduction headphones work

The way conduction headphone works

Sound is, in essence, just the vibration of particles. In fact, when we think of sound, we usually think of vibrations in the air. However, sound can also travel through solids and liquids. Particles in solids can also vibrate, so your bones and flesh can function as a speaker. 

Physically, the particles in a solid are most tightly bound together, so solids transmit sound faster than air and water. That means solids are the best conductors of sound, followed by water, then air.

This may seem absurd, as we often experience distortions of sounds after they are passed through a liquid or a solid. For example, if you are underwater while someone is speaking above the water, the sound you hear may sound garbled. These distortions of sound are not because liquids are worse sound conductors. In the example above, the sound passes through the air before another medium.

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Why are bone conduction headphones popular?

In general, like regular headphone, headphones are used to allow the user to listen to audio privately. However, conduction headphone have a unique design so that they can bypass the outer and middle ear entirely. Therefore, unlike most basic headphone, this unique device is suitable for physical activity. For these reasons, they may be preferred for the following reasons:

  • When going to the gym and participating in other physical activities, we need headphones that are designed to keep on our heads when we exercise.
  • When we jog or ride a bike, we always want to keep our ears open to avoid traffic accidents.
  • Sometimes, we need to hear the sound but still have to partially harmonize with the people around us.
  • For users with hearing loss, using regular headphone can be a challenge. In fact, users with hearing loss are likely to experience better sound quality thanks to conduction headphone work.

Why should you get they?

The advantage of these devices is that they do not use the ears. For many users, this is a big advantage as they can use the headset while still mingling with friends or colleagues.

In addition, bone phones are especially beneficial for the hearing impaired as it allows them to hear sounds more clearly than if they were using regular headphone. In case they have hearing aids, they can leave them in while they still listen to music through the phones.

Why you should get bone conduction headphones

Why you should get conduction headphone

This unique headset also eliminates the risk of hearing damage from listening to audio too loud.

They have a slim and secure design to be appealing to physically active users. Some also have a memory so you can upload songs directly to them.

Why you shouldn’t get they?

Despite the great advantages of bone conduction headphone work, they also received many negative reactions from many users.

Many people think that the sound quality of phones is worse than that of regular headphones. According to them, they are generally quieter and have weaker bass frequencies.

Bone conduction headphone also have disadvantages in physical design. Some users report that listening to music at a higher volume causes unpleasant vibrations. In addition, they also have a certain amount of sound leakage. This can be problematic for people who want to listen to music in a quiet setting without disturbing those around them.

On the other hand, some people complain about the fit of the headphones, at times, they can be uncomfortable.

This type of headset is also more expensive than regular headphone. For instance, in 2020, basic Apple headphone cost around $30, while popular conduction headphone cost $130. Many people think that for this price they can buy normal headphone with much better sound quality than some phones.


Why you shouldn’t get bone conduction headphones

Why you shouldn’t get conduction headphone

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I had acoustic neuroma many years ago and the auditory nerve to my right ear was severed. Can I use bone conduction headphones?

Unfortunately no! To use this type of headset, your cochlea and nerves need to work for you to hear sound. Acoustic neuroma is a tumor on the bundle of nerves that connect these organs to your brain. As a result, your auditory nerve is damaged which means you cannot use conduction headphone.

2. Are conduction headphones less likely to cause hearing damage than regular headphone?

Not really. Be careful with the volume you listen to.

3. Are they safer when I’m running on the street?

Theoretically yes, when using conduction headphone, your ear canal is  unoccluded. As a result, outside noise can pass into your inner ear much more easily than if you were wearing regular headphones.

4. Are the bone conduction headphones safe?

Yes. They are completely safe and can be considered safer than traditional in-ear headphones because nothing stays in your ear canal.

5. Can I wear them with glasses?

Entirely possible! Although you may not feel as comfortable as without glasses.


In fact, the idea of conduction headphones has been around for centuries. Beethoven, the famous classical composer, used conduction to be able to continue writing music after becoming deaf. While not cheap, they certainly will not let you down. Consider your needs before you go out and buy a pair of conduction headphones. Hopefully through the above article, you can answer the question “how do bone conduction headphones work?”


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