Bone conduction headphones with mic allow users to hear their surroundings while listening to music. The technology uses vibrations that resonate through the cheek bones and into the cochlea, bypassing the eardrum. It’s the same technique that sea mammals use underwater, Beethoven used to compose while completely deaf, and is now used by bone-anchored hearing aids. It’s not ideal for audiophiles, but it can get the job done for workout sessions and commutes.
Consumers in favor of bone-conduction headphones cite safety and a desire to stay alert to the environment during outdoor workouts. Runners in particular like to remain tuned into the landscape around them, which isn’t possible with traditional earbuds that seal over or touch the ear canal. Moreover, those with hearing loss benefit from the technology because it can help them hear their surroundings without damaging their eardrums.
The best bone-conduction headphones feature a titanium build to keep them light and prevent ear fatigue over long listens, and a band that fits snugly across the ears and head with no gaping or pinching. Some models also have a noise-canceling microphone for hands-free calls. They should have IP ratings that can withstand sweat and the occasional rain shower, as well as a battery life that can last the duration of typical workouts.
Our top pick, the AfterShokz Aeropex (now known as Shokz OpenRun after a December 2021 rebranding), offers a great mix of features at a fair price. These headphones are comfortable for most users, and the ninth-generation bone-conduction technology provides excellent sound quality. They also offer a mobile app, eight hours of playtime and fast charging with a proprietary two-pin connector. bone conduction headphones with mic