Headphones are always a bit of a frustration to me. As much as I love my iPhone, the white earbuds that come in the box are terribly uncomfortable. Also, sharing them can be very unhygienic. When you have them in, you also pretty much block out other sounds, which is very unsafe if you happen to run or bike outside. There hasn’t really been much in the way of audio that doesn’t go into your ears, until now. Aftershokz Bone Conduction Headphones.
Headphones that Don’t Go in Your Ears?
My mind was nearly boggled at the thought of using headphones that don’t go in your ears. I kept wonder: How does that work? It seemed like something new and fantastic and futuristic even. But this technology has actually been used for years by the military. They get everything first! GPS, satellite imaging, and now Bone Conduction Technology.
How Does Bone Conduction Technology Work?
Most of what we hear is due to sound waves traveling through the air to the eardrum, which then converts the sound waves to vibrations and transmits them to the inner ear. Sound waves can also get to the inner ear through direct vibration of the bones in the head which carry the vibrations directly to the inner ear, bypassing the eardrums. This is how a person hears his or her own voice, and also how whales hear. This pathway of sound is known asbone conduction.
Ludwig van Beethoven, the 18th century composer who was almost completely deaf, tried a technique developed earlier by Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia and discovered he could hear music through his jawbone by biting a rod attached to his piano. The same principles of bone conduction are what make AfterShokz headphones work. (For more information on hearing and bone conduction, please click HERE.)
Why are AfterShokz Better for your Health than Conventional Headphones?
There are several advantages that bone conduction technology has over traditional headphones.
- Bypassing the eardrum decreases the likelihood of potential damage from listing to music at extreme volumes.
- Reducing the amount of contact with your ear canal with objects that can harbor bacteria can help to decrease the risk of ear infections that you can encounter with earbuds.
- If you are a runner or a bike rider and like to listen to music while you exercise, you will increase your safety by not having your ears obstructed so that you can hear cars that may be around you. Decreasing the risk of being hit by a car can have a pretty big impact on your health!
Personal Experience with AfterShokz
I really enjoyed using these headphones and was surprised at the quality of the audio. It was a very odd feeling to be listening to music but also able to hear everything around me. I was interested in these headphones for 2 primary reasons: 1. I suffer from frequent earaches. 2. I work in an office. The fact that these headphones don’t go on or in your ear so it helps decrease the possibility of bacteria transfer to my ear canal. Working in an cubicle, I often have my back turned to the entrance, and it’s terribly awkward when someone is talking to you for a few minutes and you don’t realize because you’ve got headphones in. These headphones eliminate that awkwardness by allowing me to hear the sounds around me while still letting me get my groove on.
The one thing that was different and could be seen as a downside is that the headphones have to be charged to function. They last an average of 15 hours on a 3 hours charge. They do turn themselves off if they are inactive for 15 seconds.
Overall I was very impressed with them and would recommend them to anyone. When I showed them to my boss and coworkers in HIT they were all very impressed and wanted their own pair! They were all impressed by the level of comfort and ability to listen to music without having their hearing obstructed.
Get Your Own AfterShokz
You can pick up your own set of Aftershokz Bone Conduction Headphones on Amazon.com, Aftershokz.com or BarnesandNoble.com.