Bone Conduction 101: How it Works, What it is and Does it Hurt?

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Music is a huge part of everyday life and it has been for almost as long as Humans have been on this planet. I often point to the discovery of a 40,000-year-old flute dating back to the ice age as evidence for this, but truly, all the evidence you need is all around you, every day. We remember ballads and songs long after the people who first composed them have died and rotted away (a thought which I find curiously comforting) and the music industry, love it or hate it, is always a big business.

However, while the ice age musicians likely lived in a world of stark brutality, frozen, featureless wastelands and harsh, ‘kill or be killed’ inter-cave politics, they never had to contend with road works, delivery lorries, screaming babies or drunken rabble-rousers on their way to a stag night. Lucky buggers.

Today’s listener has to deal with all that and more, which can make listening to your music not only difficult, but also dangerous.

Now, however, modern science has stumbled across a way in which you can still listen to your favourite tunes, even when you’re wearing earplugs (no, I’ve not been sniffing discarded paint cans again). Its called bone conduction technology and no, despite the slightly odd name, it really doesn’t hurt…

According to recent studies, exposure to any noise over 100 decibels wears away a membrane known as the myelin sheath and leaves your inner If you have any concerns with regards to in which and how to use Communication Earpiece, you can speak to us at our web-page. ear susceptible to problems like tinnitus and temporary deafness, which can be the beginning of even more serious problems. Bone conduction technology has been designed to bypass the most sensitive portions of your ear and reduce the risk of inner-ear damage.

How? Well, in order to understand that, we need to first understand how our ears actually work. (HERE COMES THE SCIENCE-Y BIT) Basically, sound travels though the air, these sound waves are intercepted by several structures in the ear and are eventually translated and transmitted into our brains (if it helps, think of it like the encoding/decoding of digital information, such as that which guides the movements of a wireless mouse).

The sound waves first encounter a piece of cartilage (yes, the same stuff that a shark’s skeleton is made of), which helps to focus the sound, this is called a pinna (but you can call it your outer ear without looking too silly).

After that, the sound waves pass into your middle ear, this is filled with air and also contains both your auditory canal and your eardrum (my little brother burst his when he was little and nearly burst mine crying about it). The eardrum vibrates, passing the sound through to the ossicles, which are three small bones (that are actually pretty vital to your sense of balance, I’m told). These tiny bones transmit the sound to the cochlea, which is a fluid-filled structure that ‘encodes’ the signals for our brain to ‘decode’.

Bone conduction technology vibrates the bones of your skull, sending the sound directly to the cochlea and bypassing the rest of the ear completely. The nerve impulses transmitted to your brain are exactly the same, but the sensitive mechanism of the ear doesn’t have to deal with the hassle of, to quote Anchorman’s Brick Tamland “LOUD NOISES!”

This method appears to be completely safe; in fact, the famously deaf composer Beethoven employed a rudimentary version of this method in order to compose his most famous works. He attached a rod between his piano and his head and, as such, was able to hear the music he was playing.

So there you go, rather than exposing your delicate ears to louder and louder volumes, just to drown out the background noise, you can instead stick your earpugs in and play your music at the proper volume. Make no bones about it (groan!)

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