Difference between air-conduction and bone-conduction headphones The best method depends on the application


What a choice when choosing headphones!
Bone conduction is for the elderly, right?
This article will help you understand the difference between the two methods.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both air-conduction and bone-conduction methods, and the choice will depend on the purpose of use.

When you want to listen to sound without worrying about the surrounding sound
Bone conduction type is for when you want to hear the sounds around you
And it's even better if you can use each one in the best possible environment!

Let's quickly look at the differences between airway and bone conduction.

Difference between air conduction and bone conduction

Let's look at the differences between air conduction and bone conduction.

Flow of Hearing Sound

Sound is heard through the ear canals by sensing air vibrations.
Since sound is a wave, the waves are collected by the auricle of the ear and the vibrations are transmitted to the ear canal.

From the ear canal, sound travels through the ear canal to the eardrum, where it is amplified or reduced by a bone called the ossicles.

The sound conditioned by the ear ossicles is converted into electrical signals through the cochlea and reaches the brain.

Air conduction

The general flow of hearing from the ear canal to the eardrum to the ear ossicles to the cochlea to the brain is called air conduction.

Bone conduction

In bone conduction, sound is heard by sensing bone vibrations rather than air vibrations.
Therefore, it does not pass through the ear canal.

The sound passes from the bone to the ear ossicles, then to the cochlea, and finally to the brain.

Advantages and disadvantages of air conduction

What are the advantages and disadvantages of headphones that listen to sound through air conduction?

Advantages of the air-conduction method

The advantages of listening to sound with air conduction are as follows

  • Hearing high pitched sounds clearly
  • Can concentrate on listening to sound

Air conduction can make higher pitched sounds sound better than bone conduction.
This is because the only resistance is from the air.

Also, depending on the method, most of the time you can concentrate on the sound coming from the headphones by blocking out the surrounding sound.

Open-type headphones, however, make it easier to hear the sounds around you.

Disadvantages of Air-conductive Headphones

The disadvantages of the air-conduction type are as follows

  • Difficulty in hearing sounds around you, making it difficult to detect danger
  • Tends to be louder, increasing strain on the ears
  • Easily steamy inside the ears after prolonged use

The easier it is to concentrate on the sound stream, the more difficult it is to hear the sounds around you.

Therefore, it is dangerous to use them when playing sports, commuting to work or school, or in other environments where cars are passing by.

In addition, air-conductive headphones are often sealed, causing the inside of the ears to steam.
When the inside of the ear steams, mold can develop and cause diseases such as otitis externa.

Another problem, sometimes referred to as headphone hearing loss, is that listening to music at high volume increases the load on the ears.

Advantages and disadvantages of bone-conduction type

What are the advantages and disadvantages of headphones that use bone conduction to hear sound?

Advantages of Bone Conduction

The advantages of bone-conduction systems are as follows

  • Easier to hear sounds around you
  • No steam because the ears are not blocked

Most bone-conduction models are attached to the cartilage of the auricle and basically do not block the ear.
This makes it easier to hear sounds around you and keeps your ears dry.
It is good that there is no discomfort even when humidity is high, such as in the summer.

Also, since it is easy to hear sounds around you, there is no danger when playing sports or commuting to and from work.
Bone conduction is safer when used outside, such as when exercising.

Disadvantages of bone conduction

The disadvantage of bone conduction is in sound quality.

Bone conduction transmits sound through bone vibration.
In the airway, the only resistance is from the air, but in the case of bone conduction, resistance is also provided by muscles and fat in addition to bones.

For this reason, bone conduction reproduces high pitched sounds less well than airway conduction.
Therefore, low sounds are stronger and sound muffled.

If you want to enjoy music more, headphones with airway have better sound quality.


Headphones that listen to sound through air conduction and headphones that listen through bone conduction each have their own characteristics.
By choosing the right headphones for each, you can listen to music more comfortably.

Especially in summer, using bone conduction is very important to protect your ears from mold and mildew.

Please find your favorite headphones and enjoy your music in comfort!


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