There are two types of people in this world; those who use in-ear headphones and those that use over-ear headphones. The over-ears can’t stand plugging up their ears like a rubber drain stopper, and the in-ears refuse to cover their ears with outdated bulky audio technology.
Both options offer a range of audio quality, but always limit what you can hear of your surroundings. Now this might sound great if you’re sitting next to a baby on an airplane, however, what if you’re biking through a crowded city? Or hiking next to a winding river in beautiful windy canyon? You may end up missing out on calming nature sounds or the honk of a crazed city driver.
Science has come through once again with a new audio option that allows you to listen to your favorite tunes without blocking out the sound around you. They are called Bone conducting headphones. Yes, you read that correctly. Instead of covering up your precious ear-holes, the AfterShokz Bluez 2S use your cheekbones to communicate with your inner-ear bone. By sending the sound vibrations through your cheekbone, you can leave your ears open to your surroundings. The coolest part is that you can plug up your ears and you will actually hear your music better!
You’re probably thinking, “that sounds cool and all, but I bet the sound quality is pretty low.” I was in the same boat, thinking that the quality will get lost when communicating through the density of my skull. So I purchased a Bluez 2S a while back and have found myself coming back to them again and again (to the point of listening to them while writing this.) I was skeptical before, but I am a believer now. The sound quality is great, with high treble coming through spectacularly and low bass less so, but still equivalent to other in-ear headphones in the $99 price range. The volume range is extraordinary, with only the faintest buzzing audible by others at high volume in a quiet room.
I thought I would be using these while I bike around downtown Philadelphia, or at least while working-out. However, their most useful application is in the office. I have two co-workers who enjoy politely playing classic rock at low volume on either side of me. During those not so rare stretches where the office goes completely quiet, I feel like my brain is slowly turning to pudding from front to back. The AfterShokz have solved that problem while simultaneously allowing me to hear when the boss starts making his rounds, giving me enough time to close “non-essential” tabs.