Bone Conduction Headphones – Are They Safe?

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Are Bone Conduction Headphones Safe?

Wired headphones are no longer the norm as phone manufacturers urge users to switch to their wireless counterparts. However, there is also a new breed of headphones developing roots in the market – bone conduction headphones.

The global Bone Conduction Headphones market stood at from $160 million in 2019 and is expected to grow at by roughly 20.7% over the next five years. It is forecasted to expand up to $500 million by 2024.

However, as these headphones start making ground on the competition, a common question arises; are bone conduction headphones safe?

We tested out a number of these headphones and conducted extensive research to find the answer to this question for you. Simply put, these headphones are just as safe as regular wired or wireless headphones.

How? Well, that’s what we’re going to discuss here.

Are Bone Conduction Headphones Safe?

How These Headphones Work

Air conduction vs. bone conduction

A diagram showing how bone conduction headphones transmit sound via vibrations directly to the cochlea.

Where normal headphones emanate sounds that vibrate your eardrum to pass information along to the cochlea, bone conduction headphones skip the eardrums altogether. A part of these headphones sits against the listener’s cheekbones and send out vibrations.

These vibrations ignore the eardrums and send information directly to your cochlea. Although this technology is used by phones as well via the sonic receiver in phones such as the LG G8, Huawei P30 pro,  and many others. The screen vibrates to emanate call sounds. However, the eardrum does play a role in this technology.

As for the bone conduction headphones, since their vibration doesn’t require any eardrum involvement, it has found extensive use for people with hearing deficiencies.

Pros & Cons

A stall of AfterShokz – A BCH distributor

AfterShockz is one of the more prominent BCH distributor


One of the biggest benefits of these headphones is that they let people with hearing deficiencies enjoy music at its best. Other pros include;

  1. Since they don’t enter the ear, there is no need to remove earwax from headphones
  2. These headphones don’t seal the ear canal, thus allowing you to hear the outside world normally. This helps avoid any potential hazards.
  3. People who complain of headphones that hurt can rest easy, since these sit snugly at the cheekbone, not within the ear.


Although these headphones play a vital role in facilitating those hard of hearing, there are a lot of nay-sayers when it comes to bone conduction headphones. Some arguments against them include;

  1. Severely degraded audio quality
  2. There is no clarity, since there is no insulation from the outside world
  3. Transmission accuracy is compromised due to lack of eardrum usage
  4. May be uncomfortable since they rest on top of the ear. These headphones might take some getting used to


Bone conduction headphones on top of a military duffle bag

The military has been using bone conduction technology for quite a while


Back to the question of safety, the technology is fairly new, so there is no real research on the short or long-term impacts on the human body. However, currently these headphones are deemed perfectly safe for use, especially for those with hearing problems.

The headphones use a concept similar to that of hearing aids, and since hearing aids are safe, we can assume that bone conduction headphones are safe. Yet, calling them the best thing the headphones market has seen would be a severe exaggeration.

On that note, we should also mention that there are numerous wireless and true wireless earbuds that offer better audio quality, both in terms of loudness and general quality.

If you’re having trouble deciding on whether bone conduction headphones are safe or not, we’re here to tell you that there’s no harm in trying them out. After all, it’s about how well they suit you. If you like what you hear, there’s definitely no harm in replacing those with traditional headphones.


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Hi, I'm Red, the Chief Editor of Red Diamond Audio.