Bone Conduction vs Air Conduction – Which Technology is Better?

The voices we hear are transmitted through air, but do you know? A mechanism delivers sounds through cheekbones directly in the inner ear. Well, it is the favor of technology, and if you are still confused, then I have the comparison guide on Bone Conduction vs Air Conduction to clear your query.

First, you need to understand the basic concept of both innovations. Air conduction involves the transmission of sound waves by using all three parts of the ears. On the contrary, Bone conduction technology has a fair deal with only the innermost part of the ear.

Both technologies have been incorporated into headphones for decades. In this section, I like to mention some differences between the two processes. Both perform different tasks and fulfill different purposes that make them different from each other in a practical sense.

What Is Air Conduction?

As I have already discussed, air conduction involves a hearing mechanism that simultaneously utilizes the outer, middle, and inner ear. Sound waves coming from outside collide with the eardrum and cause it to vibrate.

The amplified vibration then passes from the middle ear and enters into the cochlea, the part of the inner ear. Cochlear canals cause the hair cells to start the movement and send the signal to the brain that decodes them into sound.

Tidbits: air conduction technology is used in headphones for everyday music listeners and gamers and recording or mixing various soundtracks.

What Is Bone Conduction?

Whenever you hear sounds through the air, you activate your bone conduction technology to do its work. It transmits signals directly to the inner ear that result from vibrations caused by the vocal cords without interfering with voices in the middle and outer ear. 

The process involves transferring sounds to the deeper part of the ear using the skull and jaw bones instead of the eardrums. The cochlea converts these vibrations into electrical signals and sends them to the brain for decoding them into sound.

Point to be raised: bone conduction technology can be incorporated into headphones for those with a hearing impairment, athletes, or in the army.

What Is The Difference Between Air And Bone Conduction Headphones?

In this section, I do not compare the two technologies but rather contrast the specifications of those headphones that use these technologies.

If you study in-depth, you will notice that bone-conduction headphones and air-conduction headphones are different not only in their design but also in their performance. Let us find the accurate and prominent factors that make them detachable.


Open-ear headphones that use bone-conduction technology neither rest on the ears nor cover them. They adjust on the cheekbones, and the flexible neckband adjusts behind the head. Fitness freaks use them for specific purposes such as running, swimming, workouts, or riding. They also make them aware of what is happening around them.

On the other hand, air-conduction headphones come in over-ear or on-ear styles. As the name suggests, over-ear headphones are bulky and cover the entire surface of the ears but provide excellent sound. While on-ear headphones also adjust on the top of the ears and have slightly smaller ear cups that make them wear comfortably for quite a long time.

Basic purpose

Bone conduction headphones are designed for athletes and swimmers. They are also known as workout headphones as they readily introduce a particular feature like a significant IP rating that allows you to carry them in water on long roads for running while listening to your favorite audio. Moreover, you will find their various essential uses in the domain of hearing aids. People with temporary hearing damage can use this to improve their condition.

On the contrary, you can use air-conduction headphones at home for music listening or use them professionally to form new soundtracks. Similarly, pro gamers also use air-conduction headphones to achieve desired sound quality. 

Audio Quality

How can the audio quality of the headphones be determined? The answer is straightforward, try them for longer hours, in noisy places, or at home.

Bone conduction headphones are designed to send signals through bones to the inner ear; that’s why they do not produce sounds like audiophiles. But they still managed to offer clear mids and bass with the additional situational awareness.

Note: no one surpasses them as they are excellent in podcast listening.

On the contrary, air-conduction headphones provide audio quality beyond expectation. The audio leak is minimal, and the drivers consistently convert electrical signals into analog to be heard in the ears. Furthermore, you can also attain various frequency ranges by using traditional headphones like bassy, balanced, or crisp vocal sounds.


How about using headphones that feel like wearing them all day and never getting tired? Comfort is the essential factor that bone conduction headphone proudly offers you. The smaller plus flexible size and super lightweight nature allow you to wear them on long walks without worrying about listener fatigue. Moreover, the neckband adjusts without effort and reduces your worry or makes them fall.

Air conduction headphones provide comfort, but the award winner is bone ones. Traditional headphones have padded ear cups in case of a closed-back design and thus are bulky and need the effort to wear for a considerable period. The same goes for in-ear and on-ear headphones that not only cover the ear surface but also make them victim to bear itchiness and heat produced by these devices.


Bone conduction headphones are highly portable and offer bendable structure and lightweight designs. It is because you must wear them for hours while exercising or winning a trophy for running at high speeds. Otherwise, you make them useful for enhancing the experience of your hearing.

Conventional headphones are used in casual settings. You use them for listening to music in your free time. They are slightly heavier than bone but come in premium designs and provide excellent audio quality for music listening with additional noise-isolating features.

Sound Leakage

As we all know, bone conduction headphones send signals through bones; in that case, some of the audio leaks through it and through the air. The audio leak in these headphones is more significant than in air-conduction headphones.

Air-conduction headphones, through their closed-back designs, reduce the chances of sound leaking to the maximum. Due to heavy ear padding, the physical seal does not allow sound to escape outside, and you enjoy amplified audio.

Battery Life

When you use air-conduction headphones, you have two situations to encounter. Either you live your life detangling the wires for using wired headphones. The benefit is that you do not have to worry about charging them. For wireless headphones, you must look for such headphones that offer a rich battery life of almost 25 hours.

On the other hand, bone conduction headphones come with high-standard Bluetooth connectivity that provides several hours of playtime to not disturb you during workouts or in talk time. 

Hygiene Proof

From my perspective, the critical feature of bone conduction headphones is the cleanliness facilities they provide by resting on the cheekbones and leaving both ears open. These headphones do not accumulate wax inside; heat production is also minimum. People with ear infections also wear them.

How can comparison reach the last stage without discussing air-conduction headphones? Well, these headphones are designed for a premium sound experience for the listeners, so they cannot remain much clean in contrast to bone ones. The heavy cushioning around the ear cups efficiently traps dirt that later transforms into an annoying waxy substance. But these can be cleaned if the parts are replaceable and foldable enough.

if you want to buy: Best Waterproof Bone Conduction Headphones – Complete Guide 

My Final Verdict

Both headphones are helpful when considering their specifications. You cannot use air-conduction headphones for strenuous exercises. Similarly, bone-conduction headphones can also not transmit your choice’s sound quality.

You have to think wisely before selecting a particular headphone owing to its different functions. The choice is yours to choose whether you need a headphone with good sound quality or want a headphone that is unmatchable in comfortableness.


Do Bone Conduction Headphones Work For Hard Of Hearing?

Bone conduction headphones are very effective for those who have conductive hearing loss. It is due to damage in the outer or middle ear due to an ear infection or damage to the eardrum, and bone conduction uses only the inner ear to send sound signals. Thus they are innovations for solving the issue.

Can Overuse Of Headphones Cause Hearing Loss?

Both the headphones, whether bone conduction or air conduction, cause damage to hear if listening at high volumes. They do not prove detrimental if appropriately used for optimum hours or at recommended volume levels.

How Long Do Headphones Last On Average?

Bone conduction headphones have a shorter life span than traditional headphones. Moreover, the more healthy the battery, the longer the life. For instance, AfterShokz headphones do not offer you to replace or repair the battery. Ultimately, the only option left to you is to look for another headset.

In contrast, with proper care, traditional headphones increase their life span to several years, from 4 to 10 years. Furthermore, the headphones’ parts can be replaceable after extreme wear and tear. 

Conclusion | Bone Conduction vs Air Conduction

Both technologies are as imperative as life activities. Maybe, you want headphones for using them casually or watching movies. In contrast, bone conduction headphones serve people who have malformations in their ears. For that, I have prepared for you the comparison of the headphones to make you better understand the insights of these technologies and working.

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