10 Best Bone Conduction Headphones of January 2022

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Bone Conduction Headphones--A Novel Alternative to Earbuds

Yehudah Posnick

People buy noise-canceling headphones in order to have an immersive experience when listening to music. But sometimes that can be a detriment. For example, if you’re jogging or bike-riding, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and hear the vehicles around you (otherwise known as “situational awareness”). You should keep your eyes--and ears--open. Bone conduction headphones allow you to hear music or other audio content, without plugging up your ears, so that they’re free to hear other ambient noise.

Also, for people who have suffered damage to their eardrums or other hearing impairments, bone conduction headphones send vibrations to your inner ear through your cheekbones. (In fact, the great composer Beethoven, who started to suffer severe hearing loss at a very early age, used bone conduction in order to hear the piano, by means of a rod that he held in his mouth!)

But there is still a wide variety of products using bone conduction. There are bone-conducting headphones and earbuds made for sports, with special water-resistant specs. Others employ Bluetooth or other wireless technology. And some have noise-canceling features, to concentrate on an incoming phone call or music.

We’ve composed this buyer’s guide to help you make the right decision when selecting bone conduction headphones. It'll help you:

  • Choose the right type of bone conduction headphones for your preferences,

  • See useful tips about that particular type of bone conduction headphones,

  • Read reviews of different bone conduction headphones, and what customers are saying,

  • Select the right brand of bone conduction headphones, and

  • Compare prices and find the best deals.

Types of Bone Conduction Headphones

We can classify bone-conduction headphones into stand-alone units, and those that can couple with a mobile device.

  • Stand-alone: There are headphones with their own storage, such as the AfterShokz Xtrainerz. It can store 4 GB of content. If it’s just for podcasts and music, that should be plenty. But, the drawback is that they’re not suitable for streaming from your phone or other mobile devices.

  • For streaming from a mobile device: These are headphones that pair up with an iPhone, Android, tablet, computer, or other wearable electronics, either via WiFi or Bluetooth. An example is the Vidonn F3 Bone Conduction Headphones.

What reviewers say

  • Ergonomics: One reviewer tried two Aftershokz bone-conducting headphones: the Aeropex, and the Openmove. The Openmove usually goes for half the price of the Aeropex. But--like in many things, you get what you pay for. The Aeropex is less bulky and is made from a more flexible material. This gives you significantly greater comfort.

  • Battery life: Bone-conducting headphones have to be charged up--so you would certainly prefer to have a product that has long battery life. The Aftershokz Aeropex gives you 8 hours of continuous use on a single charge! And their OpenComm headphones are good for 16 hours of talking time!

  • Charging method: There are products that charge up with a special charger, which is particular to your brand of headphones. But a better option is headphones that can charge by means of a USB cord. That way, you can charge them from a wall charger or your computer.

  • Stand-by time: Take note of the product’s stand-by time: this is how long the headphones will remain charged up, even if you’re not actively listening to something at the moment. It’s best to get headphones with an auto-off feature, that help you save the battery from draining out when not in use.

Important Features

  • Water-resistance: There are bone-conducting headphones for swimming and water sports, which will have to be waterproof. But you have to know how water-resistant your headphones are. For that, there’s an IP (= ”Ingress Protection”) rating. For example, the AfterShokz OpenComm has an IP55 rating: the first digit is a rating of protection against dust penetration, with 6 being the highest level of protection. The second number is the water protection rating. A rating of 5 is protected versus a jet of water. An IPX8 rating will already be a product that can be immersed in water, up to 1 meter in depth.

  • Noise-canceling feature: We said that bone-conducting headphones don’t plug up your ears, and let you hear what’s going on around you--but what if you want to block out all of the noise around you? For that, there are headphones, such as the AcTek Bone Conduction Sunglasses Headset, with a noise-canceling button. That way, you can use an iPhone, iPad, smartphone, or tablet, and cut out the outside noise when you need it.

  • Safer, cleaner option: Bone conduction headphones are more expensive than in-ear earbuds or over-ear headphones. But, there are definite benefits. When you use in-ear earbuds, the tips will get ear wax on them, which some people find gross. It can also impact ear wax deeper into your ear. Bone-conducting headphones circumvent that--so you can lend your headphones to someone else without feeling grossed out.

  • Better quality nowadays: When bone-conducting devices started, other people around you could also hear what’s playing on your headphones. A good bone-conducting set of headphones will have eliminated that problem. Check to see that they don’t “leak” sound, before making a purchase.

Top-Rated Brands

Vidonn, whose full name is Shenzhen Weisports Information Technology Company, is a manufacturer of wearable electronics. It was founded in 2013. They make smart bracelets that hook up to a smartphone or computer, as well as 3-D motion sensors, and vibration motors.

Ralyin are makers of wireless headphones and earbuds, sports headphones, Bluetooth receivers, audio accessories, and more. Their bone conduction headphones have a built-in 8 GB memory card and include a Mp3 player.

AfterShokz is a maker of bone conduction headsets. They allow you to listen to media while you’re still able to hear any noise from your surroundings. They have versions that you can use while exercising, as well as waterproof ones for swimming, as well as two-way communications.

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