Best Bone Conduction Headphones

A 2020 Complete Guide

Woman wearing bone conduction headphones

Bone Conduction Headphones Reviews

Bone conduction allows you to hear sound through the vibration of the bones of your face (jaw bones and cheek bones). This means that the sound waves are bypassing the outer and middle ear (where the eardrum is located) and directly stimulating the inner ear (hearing organ).

Bone conduction headphones use this principle to allow people with hearing loss to hear music, podcasts, or phone calls. They send the sound through your bones straight to the inner ear, allowing many possible hearing problems to be bypassed entirely.

If you even slightly suspect that you have hearing loss of any kind, we offer free consultations with hearing healthcare professionals.
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AfterShokz Aeropex Wireless Headphones

AfterShokz TREKZ Air Open-ear Wireless Headphones

AfterShokz TREKZ Titanium Open-ear Bluetooth Headphones

Vibrabeats Vidonn F1

Aftershokz AS500 Bluez 2 Open Ear Wireless Headphones

4.6/5
4.4/5
4.3/5
3.9/5
3.9/5

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Top 5 Bone Conduction Headphones

We've been lucky enough to test all of these headphones and have put together some in-depth reviews below.

1. AfterShokz Aeropex

4.6

Clear Living ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account the headphones' price, battery life, functions, size, and other features.

With a solid case for being the best pair of bone conduction headphones on the market, the Aeropex is our top pick.

Weight
Weight Very light
Lifestyle
Lifestyle Athletic
US dollar price icon
Price $160+
  • Eight hour battery life
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Completely moisture-proof
Summary

The Aeropex is a great pair of bone conduction headphones. They have a massive battery life of eight hours, weigh under an ounce, and are completely waterproof. While they're the perfect pair for anyone with a sporty lifestyle, they'll also suit just about anyone, as their great sound quality, light weight, and healthy battery are positives for all. The only drawback is the price – a fair bit steeper than every other pair on this list.

Battery icon
Battery life 8 hours
Weight
Weight 0.92 ounces
Color
Color options Four

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2. AfterShokz TREKZ

4.4

Clear Living ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account the headphones' price, battery life, functions, size, and other features.

A lightweight pair of headphones that won't weigh you down during exercise or a run.

Weight
Weight Light
Lifestyle
Lifestyle Active
US dollar price icon
Price $105+
  • Six hour battery life
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • 20% lighter than counterpart
Summary

When it comes to the TREKZ, deciding between the Air and Titanium was difficult. Ultimately we like the newer and slightly lighter (20% to be exact) Air over the Titanium. While both are solid picks, this model is a bit more conducive to an active lifestyle.

Battery icon
Battery life 6 hours
Weight
Weight 1.06 ounces
Color
Color options Four

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3. AfterShokz Titanium

4.4

Clear Living ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account the headphones' price, battery life, functions, size, and other features.

Our heaviest pair of headphones, the Titanium headphones are a good pick for anyone sitting on a train or desk.

Weight
Weight Heavy
Lifestyle
Lifestyle Sedentary
US dollar price icon
Price $80+
  • Designed for comfort
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Very durable
Summary

When we say these are a heavy pair of headphones, don't be concerned – they won't be pulling your head down or needing you to use two hands to carry them around. However, they may be a bit more noticeable when you're running or playing sports. That's why they're a good pick for anyone who sits still for extended periods of time, as their sound quality and comfort is still great.

Battery icon
Battery life 6 hours
Weight
Weight 1.27
Color
Color options Seven

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4. Vibrabeats Vidonn F1

4.1

Clear Living ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account the headphones' price, battery life, functions, size, and other features.

A great pair of headphones for those who don't love carrying their phone around the house when they want to listen to music.

Weight
Weight Medium
Lifestyle
Lifestyle Active
US dollar price icon
Price $50
  • Six hour battery life
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Large Bluetooth range
Summary

With a large BlueTooth range, the Vidonn F1 is a good pick for those who like to put their phone away and move around independently, while still listening to whatever they like. They're quite comfortable, and their sound quality is as good as you're going to get from a pair of bone conduction headphones.

Battery icon
Battery life 6 hours
Weight
Weight 1.28 ounces
Color
Color options Three

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5. Aftershokz Bluez 2

4

Clear Living ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account the headphones' price, battery life, functions, size, and other features.

A good pair of headphones for a busy professional who takes a lot of phone calls and uses a lot of devices.

Weight
Weight Medium
Lifestyle
Lifestyle Professional
US dollar price icon
Price $75+
  • Compatible with iOS and Android (with multi-point pairing)
  • Moisture repellant
  • Dual microphones for clear communication
Summary

The Bluez 2 are a slightly bulkier pair of headphones. The design itself is sleek, but the band is larger and might get in the way for those trying to exercise. However, it has multi-point pairing – allowing you to receive sound from more than one source, and offers dual microphones, which offers much clearer sound on phone calls. It's a great pick for a professional who needs to take a lot of calls.

Battery icon
Battery life 4 hours
Weight
Weight 1.44 ounces
Color
Color options One

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History of Bone Conduction

Bone conduction technology has been around for many years as a tool to help those with hearing loss. Even Beethoven, who was hearing impaired, used bone conduction to listen to music by biting down on his composer's wand that was touching the piano.

The following 4 major industries have benefited from bone conduction technology:

Hearing aid(s) users. Since 1977 over 100,000 hearing loss patients have been fitted with a bone conduction device known as a BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid).   It just so happens that these headphones are also an ideal choice for people wearing in-ear hearing aids.  That's right, if you've never tried it, it's definitely possibly to wear headphones while wearing hearing aids.

Military communication. The military was one of the first early adopters of bone conduction technology, implementing behind-the-ear style headsets for communication on the battlefield. This was a significant improvement to field communication because it allowed the user to retain full awareness of ambient sounds (since the headset sits behind and not in the ear) while also enabling the ability to transmit wirelessly through bone conduction.

Many local tactical units have also adapted this technology thanks to companies like Invisio.

Sports headphones. Bone conduction headphones have become increasingly popular in the music industry. What has been incorporated into the hearing healthcare industry for many years is now being utilized in the music media industry as a different way to listen.

In 2008, Audio Bone become one of the first mainstream bone conduction headphones to enter the sports headphones scene.  They claimed equivalent sound quality while also allowing the user to hear ambient noises since the headphone didn't actually cover any part of the ear.  This technology has become increasingly popular among the every growing headphone community, particularly runners or cyclists who want both music and exposure to ambient sound (i.e. cars driving by) for safety.

Scuba diving. Using bone conduction underwater is totally awesome, there is no other way to say it. While this technology was actually patented as far back as 1996, in the video below you'll see that Casio was one of the first to popularize this technology in scuba diving with their Logosease device.

This device is essentially an underwater transceiver that utilizes bone conduction coupled with ultrasound at a range of 32 kHz to enable wireless communication as long as you are within visual range.

Ambient noise solution. Even Apple is beginning to understand the benefits of creating earphones that allow the user to be fully aware of their surroundings, and improve speech recognition in ambient conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Before we get to our top list of headphones, let's quickly go over some of the most frequently asked questions.

1. Will bone conduction headphones work for me if I have a hearing loss?

Possibly. If you have a conductive hearing loss or unilateral hearing loss, then yes. Essentially as long as you have one (1) functioning cochlea.

2. Which bone conduction headphones are the best?

Currently our favorites are the AfterShokz Xtrainerz. See our table above for a look at the rest of our Top 5.

3. Will the sound quality be as high as “regular” headphones?

Unfortunately not. Let's clarify though. Bone conduction isn't necessarily worse than air conduction (the way most headphones transfer sound). The issue is that this type of bone conduction is not implantable (obviously). So, you are not getting a truly direct transmission, which makes for a poorer sound quality.

4. What are the big differences between these headphones and “regular” headphones?

Other than bone conduction, this technology also requires a power source for even the wired versions. This means there will be some type of “battery pack.” However, technology has advanced to the point that it's difficult to notice in the latest wireless bone conduction headphones.

5. Can bone conduction make your hearing worse?

Yes. Just like with any headphones, if you turn them up too loud you could damage your hearing further.

6. Can bone conduction headphones be worn with hearing aids?

Absolutely! In fact this is one of the preferred style of headphones for people with hearing aids. You will have a little difficulty if you are using a behind-the-ear hearing aid because the band may conflict with the headphone, but any other type of hearing aid will not have this issue.

7. Are bone conduction headphones worth it?

The answer to this question depends on the kind/severity of your hearing loss, as well as the activities you're looking to do. Like we mentioned, they're very handy in water activities or if you want to be aware of your surroundings.

They're also great for people with conductive hearing loss, as they would allow sound to bypass any problems with the outer ear.

However, if your hearing loss isn't particularly severe, it's possible that ordinary headphones could be the answer to a lot of these desires. Just make sure not to listen too loud!

Final Thoughts

Bone conduction technology has really taken off and improved over the past 7-10 years and we expect that it will continue to do the same as there is a wide audience for this type of technology.

Overall, these wireless bone conduction headphones are a great solution for those wanting to enjoy audio without cutting yourself off from everything around you.

Because the headphones utilize the bone conduction mechanisms of hearing, they are a great way for someone with a conductive hearing loss or single-sided deafness to enjoy audio streaming. They are also a good solution for those with any type of in-the-ear hearing aids.

Lindsey Banks is a graduate of the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) program at the University of Florida. She uses her diverse experience in hearing healthcare and her passion for helping people to provide credible information to those with hearing loss who visit Clear Living.

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  • Billy
    Very good articla
  • ana luisa
    very good!!
  • Hassan
    Good
  • Oladimeji
    One of the best articles have read this week
  • Rogelio Nuesca
    Great technology. Thanks!