These New Headphones Conduct Sound Through the Bone—and Are Particularly Good for Multitasking
Listen to your favorite tunes, podcasts, and audiobooks with open-ear headphones that let you interact with your environment at home and on the go.
I’ve been a fan of my Apple AirPods since I got them two years ago. I wear them when I’m at my desk writing, when I’m doing chores around the house, and when I’m at the gym working out. Most of that time, I’ve got music, podcasts, or my favorite Netflix binge playing. But after a couple of hours wearing my AirPods, they start to make my ears ache. Also, I only wear one when running outside so I can hear cars. I’ve been looking at an alternative for a while. That’s when I learned about bone conduction technology, in particular AfterShokz headphones.
The AfterShokz Aeropex don’t fit into the ears but in front, over, and behind them. The first wearing was a bit of a shock, but I’ve learned to love this earbud alternative.
What is bone conduction technology?
Bone conduction technology uses transducers to convert audio signals into vibrations that travel through the cheekbones to the eardrum. The Aeropex headphones send vibrations to the eardrum while also sending some sound through the air for the ear to pick up in the traditional fashion. You lose some bass, but other than that, the sound is surprisingly clear.
Fit and Comfort
The Aeropex headphones fit over the top of the ear, with the headphones pressing into the area just in front of the ear. The earpieces are connected to create a single piece that fits over each ear and behind the head/neck.
The first time I put these on, it was a little disorienting because of the vibrations. AfterShokz includes technology to reduce vibrations, and it didn’t take long to forget about them. The only time I notice vibrations now is with some podcasts (I’m not sure why podcasts cause more vibrations than music or streaming videos) and if I touch the headphones with my finger while they’re playing.
Overall, I have found them more comfortable to wear than earbuds in most situations, especially when I wear them for long periods of time. The only thing I didn’t love as far as fit and comfort is that I can’t lay down with them on because the back piece shifts out of place. They occasionally get shifted around when I wear hooded sweatshirts, too.
However, something worth noting, my husband tried them on, and there’s a big difference in our head sizes. These bone conduction headphones come in a standard and mini size. I have the mini, which doesn’t work for the average-sized male.
Daily Wear and Environmental Awareness
I wear the Aeropex headphones almost every day in a number of different situations, from sitting at my desk to running on the treadmill to working in the yard. A built-in microphone lets me take calls and sound better than I ever did with my AirPods.
They’re also great for workouts. The Aeropex stay in place while I run, do squat jumps, yoga, and speed drills. The only time they don’t work during my workouts is when I do mat work, which comes back to the fact that you really can’t lay down with them on. Also, they’re waterproof but not designed for swimming. They withstood all my sweatiness and Pacific Northwest rainy weather without a problem.
I also like that the open-ear design lets me maintain situational awareness while running or working outside. They let you hear traffic or people talking to you, which is a huge safety issue when venturing outdoors.
Connection and Range
The Aeropex bone conduction headphones use Bluetooth to connect to up to two devices. I followed the setup instructions without a problem. There are three buttons on the headphones that control on/off, volume, and start/pause. They’re simple to figure out and let you control audio without accessing the device to which they’re connected.
Aeroshokz advertises a 33-foot connection range, and they weren’t lying. You get a lot of distance with these headphones. If you do happen to get out of range, they just disconnect and reconnect when you get back within range.
What You Get
When you buy the Aftershokz Aeropex Headphones, you get:
- Two charging cables
- Silicone carrying case
- Running belt
Overall, I love these bone conduction headphones. For most uses—whether it’s doing chores around the house, working at my desk, or running outside—I prefer them to my AirPods. The only time I use my AirPods now is when I’m lying in bed listening to music or an audiobook. Otherwise, I reach for the Aeropex headphones for their greater comfort and a better microphone.