With a pair of bone-conduction headphones, you don’t need your ear canals to listen to music.
Instead of transmitting sound in waves that float through the air and into your ears, bone conduction gets noise to your cochlea — that’s the auditory part of the inner ear — just by vibrating the bones in your skull. Instead of jamming them inside the ear itself, exposing yourself to potentially harmful decibel levels, you place bone conduction headphones towards the top of your cheekbones. It sounds weird, but this allows you to enjoy music while keeping your ears free and alert to any noise that may occur around you.
In this vein, the Aftershokz Bluez 2 headphones are great for outdoor runners and cyclists who’d like to move through their neighborhood without constantly being in fear of a stray truck careening off the road beside them.The lightweight headset works wirelessly through Bluetooth and fits comfortably around your head, even for extended workout sessions.
Getting used to the bone conduction format may take some time — especially during loud tracks with deep bass, where the sound itself tends to leak and get muddied — and you’ll have a hard time hearing things with the Bluez 2 in particularly noisy environments.
If the idea of taking a phone call while listening to music interests you, though, the Bluez 2 are among the better options on the market. Originally retailing for $100, you can grab them from Touch of Modern for a more manageable $60 or $70 through July 25.