The 7 Best Bone Conduction Headphones Worth Considering [2018 Reviews]

AfterShokz Trekz Air Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones, Midnight Blue, AS650MB
AfterShokz Trekz Air (Image Source: Amazon)

Bone conduction technology can be used for a number of applications such as hearing aids, smart helmets and military communications. Lucky for you, audio makers have recently brought this technology to the headphone market.

Typically, headphones use dynamic drivers to vibrate air which then triggers the eardrum. Bone conduction technology is unique because it vibrates through the skin to the small bones of your middle ear. These vibrations then get transferred to the opening of your cochlea. We’ve recently updated this list with some new products on the market.

While our top pick for 2018 is the AfterShokz Trekz Air, we’ve also reviewed several othrers in detail below for you to compare.

The three headphones discussed below are considered to be the top bone conduction headphones available on the market.

Best Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones


1. Aftershokz Trekz Air Open Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones Review

AfterShokz Trekz Air takes a different approach when compared to its competition. Instead of marketing itself as a headphone, it instead presents itself as miniature speakers. The design is “open fit” which means that it still allows a percentage of ambient noise to get in. This tells you that it is specifically designed for outdoor use which requires you to still be aware of your surroundings.

It features a tiny bone conduction transducer that also comes with a helpful mute button. The mute button is located on the left side of the headphones and is easily accessible. This makes it easy to pause your music whenever you need to cross a busy street.

AfterShokz Trekz Air Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones, Midnight Blue, AS650MB

Trekz utilizes the back-headband design and while quite sturdy they can still twist and bend to some extent which is important when it comes to their reliability during physical activities. It uses durable titanium material in its construction which explains the balance between toughness and flexibility.

The Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones also come with a decent waterproof and dustproof rating of IP55 which means it can withstand the rain, sweat, and a dusty environment. The Rrekz Air weighs in at only 30g which makes it incredibly lightweight as well.

Pairing the device with your smartphone via Bluetooth is quick and simple. You will get a voice confirmation once your device has been successfully connected which will only take you under 5 seconds after initial pairing.

Volume controls are located on the right side of the headphone which is, again, easily accessible. As for sound quality, the Aftershokz Trekz Air offers a more complete and full sound but may not match up to some higher end headphones in the market.

Battery life is quite short which is expected from its lightweight design. It manages to play for a maximum of 6 hours which means it is one of those “daytime” wireless headphones. Sure, you can bring a power bank but there are several wireless headphones that can play music for over 10 hours easy.

Key Features:

  • Bone conduction technology and open fit design mean you can listen to music while still being fully aware of your surroundings.
  • 20% lighter wraparound design when compared to previous Aftershokz models.
  • Patented Premium Pitch Plus technology for solid quality audio.
  • IP55 water and dustproof rating.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 8.5/10
  • Bass: 8.5/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 8.5/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 8.5/10
  • Battery Life: 6/10
  • Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 9/10

Who would this be good for?

The AfterShokz Trekz Air is a good choice for people who drive or commute to work and requires a headphone that allows them to still hear their surroundings. It is also a solid option for gym rats. The shorter battery life means you will be needing to charge this headphone constantly. I recommend you bring a power bank with you as well.

Pros:

  • Good fit and great stability even when on the move.
  • Lightweight.
  • Great choice if you require situational awareness while listening to your favorite tunes.

Cons:

  • Short battery life.
  • Sound quality leaves much to be desired.
  • The vibrations tend to tickle at max volume.

2. Vidonn F1 Titanium Open Ear Bone Conduction Wireless Headphones Review

Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphones, Vidonn F1 Titanium Wireless Sports Headset (Grey)The Vidonn F1 and Aftershokz Trekz are quite similar at first glance, however, there is one huge difference between the two. Vidonn F1’s headband is not adjustable which is why this might not suit most people. If you do plan on buying this bone conduction wireless headphone I highly advise you try it out at the shop first to see if you feel comfortable wearing it.

As is with all bone conduction headphones, the Vidonn F1 is made with outdoor enthusiasts and people with an active lifestyle in mind. Vidonn F1 is available in two color variations: gray/blue and gray/yellow. While lacking in the adjustability, Vidonn F1 still manages to deliver top marks in terms of its construction. It is made from solid titanium alloy which is coated with soft rubber for added comfort and flexibility.

The Vidonn F1 has an IP55 water and dustproof rating which makes it a good choice for outdoor use. It is lightweight, coming in at around 1.34 ounces and is quite comfortable even with the lack of adjustments on the headband frame.

Controls are all located on the right side making things a lot simpler. The power button and volume controls are placed neatly at the right end of the headband. It uses Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity which has a range of about 30 feet (unobstructed).

Battery life is quite similar to the Aftershokz Trekz at 6 hours on a single full charge (2 hours charging tim). Sound quality is quite decent and clear but bass is rather disappointing. These are louder compared to other bone conduction headphones though.  

Key Features:

  • Ergonomic and stable design.
  • IP55 waterproof and dustproof.
  • Bone conduction technology.
  • 1-year warranty.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 8.5
  • Bass: 8/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 8.5
  • Fit/Comfort: 8.5
  • Battery Life: 6/10
  • Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 9/10

Who would this be good for?

Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphones, Vidonn F1 Titanium Wireless Sports Headset (Grey)The Vidonn F1 Wireless Headphone is quite similar to the Aftershokz Trekz but at a more affordable price tag. If you are looking for a budget-friendly bone conduction headphone then the Vidonn F1 is a good choice.

Pros:

  • Offers great situational awareness.
  • Durable and comfortable design.
  • IP55 waterproof and dustproof.

Cons:

  • Sound leakage is quite significant.

3. Liwithpro Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones Review

Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones Liwithpro Bluetooth Folding Sweatproof Earphones Sports Headset with Microphone and Volume Control for Cycling Running Gym BlackThe Liwithpro Bone Conduction Headphones feature a foldable design which is not common with this type of headband frame. This cost-effective wireless bone conduction headphone is often overlooked in favor of more well-known brands which is unfortunate since this is one of those hidden gems.

Liwithpro actually offers something that has been a constant problem with most bone conduction headphones; sound leakage. The Liwithpro’s design aims to prevent that issue from becoming a nuisance for others around and does a fine job at it.

This headset offers better maneuverability with its ability to rotate at 90-degrees and can be folded at 180-degrees for portability. The ergonomic design also offers good stability and comfort. It utilizes adapted air compression technology which helps protect it from dust particles. It has an IPX5 waterproof rating which means you can even use it under rainy conditions.

Battery life of the Liwithpro is also similar to most bone conduction headphones at 6 hours on a single full charge. Charging can be done via micro-USB cable and will be finished within 2 hours. Sound quality is decent but volume is rather low but that is countered by its above average noise leakage prevention.

Key Features:

  • Wireless open-ear headset for outdoor use.
  • Bone conduction technology.
  • IPX5 waterproof rating.
  • Amazing sound leak proof design.
  • Foldable.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 8/10
  • Bass: 8/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 8.5/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 8/10
  • Battery Life: 6/10
  • Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 9/10

Who would this be good for?

The Liwithpro is an affordable bone conduction headphone designed for people who have an active lifestyle and for public use. If you require situational awareness but still want to listen to music then bone conduction headphones are a good choice. The Liwithpro wireless headphone is quite affordable as well.

Pros:

  • Incredibly quick and easy to pair with smartphones.
  • IPX5 waterproof.
  • Portable and compact design.
  • Noise leak proof design.

Cons:

  • Complaints of the headset feeling uncomfortable after a couple hours of use.

4. Pyle PSWBT550 Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones Review

Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphones - Stereo Headset w/ Revolutionary Bone Induction Technology for Smart Running, Cycling, and Sports - Wireless Bluetooth Audio, Call Mic - Pyle PSWBT550 (Black)These Pyle Bone Conduction Headphones offer what you would expect from this type of headset in this price range. A decent sound quality and the ability to offer listeners situational awareness. It utilizes the basic wraparound style and has an IPX6 waterproof rating.

It uses Bluetooth 4.1 technology and offers seamless streaming capability. It has built-in microphone as well for incoming calls but conversations tend to be quite difficult in noise heavy areas as it does not have good noise cancellation capability.

This type of headphone is best used during physical activities such as sports and when commuting around town wherein you need to be aware of your surroundings. Controls are located on the side panel for easy operation. It also has a LED indicator that both indicates successful pairing and warns when the battery is low.

The Pyle PSWBT550 Headphones delivers the basics and performs at a rather solid pace. The headband in non-adjustable which is an issue since these types of headphones need to be comfortable and stable. If you can’t adjust the frame then you are stuck with its default measurement. I suggest you try it out at the store first to make sure it is both comfortable and stable.

Key Features:

  • Designed for runners.
  • Bone conduction technology.
  • Bluetooth 4.1 technology.
  • Magnetic charging cable.
  • IPX6 waterproof rating.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 8.5/10
  • Bass: 8/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 8/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 7.5/10
  • Battery Life: 7/10
  • Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 9/10

Who would this be good for?

As with previous bone conduction headphones, the Pyle is designed specifically for outdoor and sports use. Good quality sound and decent situational awareness make this a great choice for use in a public area. It is a little rough around the edges though.

Pros:

  • IPX6 waterproof rating.
  • Nifty magnetic cable charger.

Cons:

  • Cable charger is exclusively sold by the manufacturer.

5. AfterShokz TREKZ Titanium

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones, Slate Grey, (AS600SG)These were our top pick in this category in 2016 and 2017. Since then we feel that the Aftershokz Trekz Air edge these out on quality and features, but these are still a very solid pick and come at a retail price that normally sells for about $50 less than the new model so these are still definitely worth a closer look!

When it comes to rating bone conduction headphones, the company AfterShokz definitely take the top spot. At CES 2016, AfterShokz cemented their position as one of the best manufacturers of bone conduction headphones by launching the TREKZ Titanium. This is a wireless version of an older, popular model of headphones. The TREKZ Titanium are very light and comfortable to wear. Just when users thought AfterShokz has reached their pinnacle, they stepped up and raised the bar even higher.

The TREKZ Titanium looks much better than its predecessor. It is available in three colors – Ocean (black/blue), Ivy (black/green), and Slate (black/gray). These headphones make use of a titanium band that is coated with silicone, thus providing flexibility and reducing the chances of damage. With a protection rating of IP55, the TREKZ are designed to be sweat proof and are perfect for exercise or sports.

Multipoint pairing is a cool new feature of these headphones. They may be paired with your phone but you may also connect them with your laptop or TV instead. Using Bluetooth 4.1 you can pair as many devices as possible, which was not possible with older versions of the headphones.

Just like the Bluez 2s, TREKZ fit quite well. The band offers some flexibility for comfort thanks to the way it is positioned next to the ear rather than at the back of the neck or head. These headphones are so comfortable that it’s easy to forget you’re them at all. 


6. AfterShokz Bluez 2s

Aftershokz Bluez 2S Open-ear Wireless Stereo Headphones (Black)
Another Great Set of Bone Conduction Headphones from AfterShokz

After testing the majority of bone conduction headphones on the market, it is clear that AfterShokz is indeed the best manufacturer of open earphones. Why? Because they have produced not only the top set of headphones on our list, but the pair coming in at number two as well: the Bluez 2s.

The AfterShokz Bluez 2s are quite similar to the TREKZ Titanium in terms of design, fit, functioning, and pairing. The major difference between the two is that the Bluez 2s is designed with a broader neckband at the back, while TREKZ has a thicker band around the ear hook area.  If you are already wearing a hearing device, it would make more sense for you to go for the Bluez2s, since you wouldn’t want to add more bulk next to the area around your ear.

However, the TREKZ offer better features in comparison. In fact, there are four features that the Bluez 2s do not have but can be found in the TREKZ. These are:

  • Silicone frames coated with titanium
  • Multipoint pairing
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluez 2s has Bluetooth 3.0)
  • PremiumPitch+ with deeper bass and wider sound range
  • The TREKZ provide half the sound leakage that the Bluez 2s does.

7. Oannao Bone Conduction Headphone Review (Best Budget Pick)

Bone Conduction Headphones by oannao, Sweatproof, Sport,Safe, Wireless Bluetooth Earphones with Mic,for Drivers,Outdoor Cyclist and Elderly People with Hearing Impairment …Oannao has been of the premier manufacturers of bone conduction headphones and they manage to deliver these budget headphones. Their attractive price point makes them popular in this industry. While it offers high-quality performance, one complaint that plagues this brand is the construction quality which is to be expected with its price range.

The headband has a 19 to 23.6-inch circumference which covers almost every head size. Its bone conduction technology is pretty impressive and among the best in this list. You get to hear your surrounding perfectly while still managing to enjoy your favorite songs.

Battery life is your standard bone conduction headphone affair at around 5 hours of continuous use. You can fully charge the Oannao headphone within 2 hours. The Bluetooth (4.0) is quick and easy to pair with smartphones and has a range of 33 feet as long as there are no obstructions between the headset and smartphone. As it uses an older Bluetooth version, don’t expect it to have multiple pairing capabilities. Not a deal breaker but something you might want to know before buying.

Key Features:

  • Simple to operate.
  • 260mAH built-in battery.
  • Compact design.
  • 5 hours of continuous playback.

Who would this be good for?

Suitable for people who are a little hard of hearing as it uses 1W speakers. A good overall choice as far as bone conduction headphone choices go.

Pros:

  • Surprisingly clear sound quality.
  • Comfortable to wear for a long duration.
  • Good quality aesthetics.

Cons:

  • Sound leakage is a problem.

Other Bone Conduction Headphones retired from our list:

Damson Headbones 

Damson has fulfilled their Kickstarter funding and released the Headbones onto the market. The Headbones are wireless headphones that can stream audio via the cheekbone to the inner ear using Bluetooth.

Rather than placing earbuds inside the ear canal, the Damson Headbones are placed on the cheekbone in front of the ears. As music streams and produces tiny vibrations, they are picked up by the headphones and relayed to the inner ear. With these headphones you are able to maintain the ability to listen to ambient sounds around you which is great for safety when exercising outdoors. 

Out of the box, the Headbones seemed quite large compared to the much smaller AfterShokz Sport. However, this makes sense considering that the Headbones are wireless and thus need to be larger in size to fit more hardware. This factor is something you must think about when choosing between a wireless and wired headset, especially if you are shopping for a set of headphones to use during sports or exercise.

Some users have reported problems when pairing the Headbones to an iPhone because the button that is used to power on the headphones is the same button for pairing the device. When you press this button, you will hear a sound say “on” after about 3 seconds. If you keep pressing the button for 5 more seconds, you will then hear a sound that says “pairing.” These functions both work well, but it may take a few attempts to get the setting you want. 

We decided to test the Headbones by streaming some audio while engaging in outdoor conversation. It was possible to hear both the music over the headphones as well as the conversation taking place. This makes the Headbones a lot safer than traditional headphones that block out all ambient sounds, especially when walking in high traffic areas. It is better to lose a bit of streaming audio for a brief period but still be able to hear oncoming traffic.

Though the podcast and music were able to stream well, it became a bit difficult to have a conversation on the phone. There were times when hearing the person on the other end became difficult as the headphones seemed to lose their connection.

The included carrying case can be folded to make transportation easier. The other bone conduction headphones can’t do this. The Headbones fit quite well. The fact that they are placed over the cheekbones makes them easier to adjust. Another issue users have reported is that the portion of the headphones which lies on the neck tends to hang a bit too low and rubs against the collar of your shirt. This allows the headphones to move unnecessarily around the cheek area every time you turn your head up and down.

On the other hand, these can still be worn with hearing aids without experiencing any interference at all. This is definitely a positive feature in terms of fit.

EarsOpen Bone Conduction Earphones

Claimed to be the world’s smallest bone conduction headphones, EarsOpen deliver high quality audio. To optimize the vibration delivering sound to your ears, the EarsOpen are designed with a unique cylindrical shape. EarsOpen are also available in wireless, but as expected these cost more. The clip style may cause discomfort if you wear the headphone for a long period of time. This type of headphones are ideal for those who want to listen to music while working, running outdoors or cycling.

The Future

Over the course of the last year a company called Zungle is breaking into the market by designing smart glasses with built-in Bluetooth as well as bone conduction technology. According to the latest information, their crowdfunding status indicates that they have all the funds they need and have started shipping orders. 

Vue is another startup that is setting its sights on creating smart glasses and sunglasses.

There is a huge market for bone conduction technology, and this has resulted in its rise in popularity and improvement over the last 7 to 10 years. Bone conduction headphones provide people that have experienced hearing loss with a great way to enjoy audio and still listen to ambient sounds.

People with deafness in one ear or conductive hearing loss will benefit immensely from bone conduction headphones. If you wear any kind of in-ear hearing aid, you can still enjoy audio streaming through bone conduction technology.

A Brief History of Bone Conduction Technology

Bone conduction technology is designed to help a person hear a sound by making the bones of their face vibrate, primarily through the cheek and jawbones. In other words, rather than the sound waves going through the outer and middle ear, the waves directly stimulate the person’s inner ear (cochlea), which is the actual hearing organ.

The technology used in bone conduction is not new at all. It was developed many years ago to aid those with hearing problems. Bone conduction was the means that Beethoven used to overcome his hearing impairment when he composed music on his piano. He would bite down on the composer’s wand that was attached to his piano in order to listen to the notes he was playing.

Applications of Bone Conduction Technology

  1. Hearing Aids: Over the last 40 years more than 100,000 patients have been fitted with a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA). People suffering from hearing loss and wearing in-ear hearing aids can also use headphones at the same time.
  2. Military communications: One of the first groups to adopt this kind of technology was the military. They used headsets worn behind the ear to communicate while on the battlefield. This was a better way to communicate on the field since it let soldiers retain total awareness of other external sounds. It also allowed transmission of sounds wirelessly. Invisio is one of the many companies that have enabled local tactical units to use bone conduction technology.
  3. Sports headphones: The music industry has embraced bone conduction headphones as a way to provide an alternative method of enjoying music. One of the pioneers of bone conduction headphones for sports use was Audio Bone, way back in 2008. The company claimed that they could provide users with high-quality sound while still allowing them to hear ambient sounds. The headphones were not designed to cover the ear in any way, thus allowing cyclists and runners to enjoy music and maintain awareness of traffic around them.
  4. Scuba diving: It is an awesome experience using bone conduction to communicate underwater. Bone conduction technology for scuba diving was patented in 1996, with Casio being one of the pioneers of the technology when they launched Logosease. This device was designed to act as a transceiver that works together with ultrasound to facilitate wireless communication for a range of about 32 kHz.
  5. The solution for ambient noise: Apple is one company that is starting to recognize the potential of earphones that enable the wearer to maintain an awareness of the sounds around them, while also improving speech recognition.

Who are most likely to benefit from bone conduction headphones?

Given that people with hearing loss don’t usually have a problem with their cochlea, they will benefit from this type of headphone because bone conduction deliver sound directly to inner ear, and not through the eardrums. For people who suffer from nerve deafness (perceptive hearing loss or mixed hearing loss) the bone conduction will be less effective.

For sport enthusiasts, it is an interesting experience to hear surrounding sounds mixed with music from bone conduction headphones while running, riding or walking.

Cons

  • Vibrate when played at high volume levels
  • People can hear what you are listening to
  • They sound good but the bass is missing and the volume may not be loud enough

When it comes to deciding which bone conduction headphones to buy, we recommend the AfterShokz Trekz Air as our overall pick which edged out the AfterShokz Trekz Titanium on our list in 2018.  Unfortunately, some users find the quality of the sound of bone conduction is not as good as that of “normal” headphones. However, a clarification is needed. The issue isn’t that bone conduction is inferior to air conduction (which is how regular headphones work). The issue lies in the fact that you cannot implant bone conduction headphones. In other words, the transmission of sound is not direct, thus resulting in the quality of sound may seem poor to someone who is used to listen to earbuds or headphones that deliver the sound directly to their ear canal.

Most people want to know whether there are any major differences between bone conduction and “normal” headphones. Firstly, bone conduction headphones need to have a power source, regardless of whether it is wired or not. There must be some sort of battery, though with advancements in wireless technology, you may not even notice the battery pack.

At times people who are hearing impaired wonder if it is possible for your hearing to get worse by using bone conduction. The answer is Yes. If you play the music too loud, you may cause further damage to your hearing.

If you are already wearing hearing aids, then it is absolutely possible to wear bone conduction headphones over your hearing aids. This is how most people who wear hearing aids prefer to put on their headphones. If you are wearing the behind-the –ear variety, you may find it a bit difficult to put on the headphones. However, it can still work.

Go ahead and try out any of the headphones described in this article. Just be kind enough to shoot us an email and let us know what your experience was like. Alternatively, you could just leave us a comment in the comment section below.

2 thoughts on “The 7 Best Bone Conduction Headphones Worth Considering [2018 Reviews]

  1. I want to know how strong those bone conduction headphones will vibrate at their maximum values and they are going to STAY ON or just loosen out. And is it really irritating and if the sound quality is that good to forget about the vibration I will definitely get one.

    • The variation of those bone conduction headphones such as AfterShokz TREKZ Titanium is not strong enough, you just feel a bit about it – slightly noticable. It sound clear and very pleasant to listen to. One thing I would point out is that if they don’t fit properly you may only hear sound clearly from just one side either left or right. Once they fit right it sounds airy and it’s great experience that the music you hear is mixed with the surrounding sounds.

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