What are bone conduction headphones ? How do they work?

By Deepak Tiwari Oct 30, 2021
Bone conduction headsets, often known as 'bonephones,' are headphones that transfer audio signals through the user's skull's bones rather than through the ear canal. When in use, the bones in a user's skull vibrate to enhance sound waves, allowing them to listen to device audio without having to use their ears. This is beneficial to persons who have a hearing impairment or who rely on their ears to keep conscious of their environment.

What are bone conduction headphones and how do they work?

Bonephones make use of a technology known as bone conduction audio. A transducer converts audio data to vibrations, which travel down the user's bone structure to the cochlea, an inner ear structure that sends the signals to the brain via the auditory nerve. In reality, the device's speaker is the user's skull. Normal headphones, on the other hand, emit vibrations through speakers placed in or on top of the outer ear.

Technically, sound is nothing more than the vibration of particles. When most people think of audio, they think of waves in the air, but sound may also pass through objects and liquids.
As a result, skin and bone can act as a speaker because solid particles can vibrate as well. Solids, in reality, transmit sound quicker than air and water because their particles are more closely packed together. Solids are the best sound conductors, followed by water, and finally air, which has looser particle arrangements.

This may seem contradictory, as trying to hear something through a liquid or solid usually results in sound distortions. Someone speaking above the surface would seem distorted to a listener who is underwater. When loud music is being played next door, the listener is likely to perceive it as muffled. These distortions arise not because liquids and solids are poor sound conductors, but rather because audio passes through air initially and then into the opposite medium in both cases.

Bonephones are made to take this into account. A strap wraps over the back of the user's head, placing vibration-generating pads against the skin just above each ear. To keep the gadget in place on the persons head, the pads curl slightly over the top of the ear. Because the sound passes directly from the pads through the skull in one direct way, without air between these, securing these pads against the user's skin reduces sound distortions.

Uses

Bonephones, like ordinary headphones, are used to allow persons to listen to sounds secretly and while being on the move. Bonephones, on the other hand, are unique in that they completely skip the outer and middle ear. Unlike most basic headphones, they also feature a unique shape that lends themselves to physical activities. As a result, they may be favoured over traditional headphones by:

-People who go to the gym and other physically active individuals that require headphones that stay on their heads while they exercise;

-runners or cyclists who want to keep an ear out for incoming traffic or persons who are trying to communicate with them;

-users who have to be at least partially attentive to what their peers or announcements are saying while listening to audio in a social setting;

-assistive equipment may physically restrict the use of regular headphones by individuals with reduced hearing;

-Bone conduction would certainly provide greater sound quality than damaged ears for persons with limited hearing.


Advantages

The main benefit of bonephones is that they do not require the use of the ears. This is advantageous for many users because they may use their headphones while keeping aware of their surroundings.

Bonephones are especially useful for hearing-impaired people since they bypass the ears and allow them to listen to audio with greater clarity than they could with ordinary earbuds. Bonephones, for instance, would allow a listener who is deaf in one ear to hear audio in stereo. If the listener wears a hearing aid, they can keep it on while listening to music with bone conducting headphones.

Bonephones also remove the possibility of hearing damage caused by listening to audio at too high a volume through regular headphones. The eardrum is far more delicate than the tissue and bone on which bonephones operate.


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