Taking care whilst running includes using safer headphones. We’re taking a look at exactly how bone conduction earphones work, and why they’re the athlete’s new top choice!

The way we listen to music on the go has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. From the chunky Walkman with bulky headphones, to wireless Bluetooth buds connected to smartphones. The activity you intend on doing whilst listening to your tunes dictates the gear you opt for. An over-ear set up is fine for music lovers taking a mosey round town, but less ideal for the avid jogger.

New technology has enabled earphones to be developed not only with sound quality in mind, but wearability and safety. Headphones for running tend to boast more features than your standard leisure-targeted pieces of kit. For instance, noise-cancelling technology enables wearers to listen out for traffic, and wireless options eliminate the potential for tangled confusion and trips.

A variation on a classic theme, bone conduction earphones are now here to provide music for runners, without obstructing the ear canal.

How Does Bone Conduction Work?

Conduction is a scientific term which usually refers to heat – thermal conduction. This is when energy is transmitted through the collision of neighbouring atoms or molecules, i.e. through vibration. This same concept applies to the transmission of sound through the vibration of bone, rather than through air.

Instead of popping the buds into the ear for the sound vibrations to hit the ear drum, bone conduction earphones are placed at the top of the wearer’s cheekbones. This enables the vibrations to travel through the jawbone to the cochlea, which is essentially what allows you to hear.

Aching ears and sweaty buds are a common side effect of wearing in-ears whilst running. Bone conduction ones eliminate this completely, normally hooking over the backs of the ears. This alone is a significant benefit of conduction earphones. However, the safety aspect is what seems to be creating the biggest draw.

With ears open, runners are no longer aurally blind to their surroundings. That means no more jumping out of your skin as a rushing bus flies just inches past your nose as you prepare to spring from the pavement.

You can check out this video from Unbox Therapy, breaking down whether bone conduction headphones are right for you.

Bear in mind, this video is a couple of years old, so undoubtedly there have been advancements in the audio quality of bone conduction earphones.