Bone Conduction vs Directional Audio: Which One is Better?

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Though traditional earbuds look stylish and come at affordable prices, there's no doubt that these buds can potentially damage the inner part of your ear and permanently damage the eardrum. Moreover, with constant usage, you may experience hearing loss, ear infection, tinnitus, and many more issues due to the sounds coming from these earphones that hit close to the eardrum.

But technological advancements have helped mitigate these issues, and more and more people are inclining toward these headphones. Bone conduction and directional audio conduction are two such epoch-making technologies. But do you know what this is? Here is a detailed exploration of bone conduction vs directional audio headphones.

Concept of Bone Conduction Headphones

Bone conduction is the conduction of sound to the inner ear with the help of the bones of the skulls. The famous 18th-century music composer Ludwig Beethoven discovered bone conduction. Interestingly, he was nearly deaf but found a way to listen to the sound of his piano from his jawbone.

He set a rod to the piano and took it to the teeth to attain the result. Hence, the vibration made by the piano is transferred to his jaw, proving sound can reach our auditory system to the eardrum through another medium such as jaw bones.

In bone conduction hearing, the headphone acts like our eardrum, which decodes the soundwaves. The decoded sound waves get converted into vibrations and reach directly to the cochlea without needing to involve eardrums. There are two primary bone conduction devices: bone conduction headphones and bone-anchored hearing systems or a particular type of hearing aid.

Concept of Air Conduction Headphones

Airwaves pass through our inner ear when wearing headphones with air conduction, vibrating the eardrum, which then conveys the vibrations to the inner ear. The inner ear is responsible for transforming the vibrations into electrical impulses, which our brains perceive as sound. Three parts of the ear, such as the outer, middle and inner, are required for the proper function of the air conduction.

The internal structure of directional audio headphones is distinctive and has a user-friendly diaphragmatic speaker. This generates a vibration-free, highly directed audio experience.

Directional audio vs Bone Conduction: Differences

An infographic table to display the differences between the two headphones.

Rinne's test came out with a striking difference between these two headphones. Air conduction uses various inner organs of the ear, such as the pinna, tympanic membrane, and ossicles, to increase the sound. In contrast, bone conduction transmits vibration to the inner ear, and here ear bones transmit the sound through the skull bones to the other ear.

Here are the core differences between the two:

  • Their working procedure differs from each other. For bone conduction, transducer vibration plays a significant role in transmitting the sound vibration. On the other hand, directional audio headphones don't use vibration, instead use a diaphragm speaker to conduct the sound.
  • Compared with the bone conduction headphone, directional audio devices have louder volumes. It can also cover the high pitch, bass, and vocal more than its counterpart.
  • The directional audio headphones are the best if you want fewer sound leakage headphones.
  • One of the most significant differences is that bone conduction headphones can benefit deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals by transmitting sound through their skeletal nerves. But the latter one does not offer any such feature.
  • If we check the waterproof facility, the bone conduction headphone will outlast the other. It can be designed to be IPX8 max, preventing water damage. But the directional audio conduction's design supports only IPX5, which can only protect from dust and particles.

Bone conduction vs Directional audio: Similarities

These two headphones share some unique features; these are:

Beneficial for Eardrum's Heath

These headphones are best at keeping the eardrum away from the direct hitting of the sound wave. Hence, there is no risk of getting hearing impairment for their usage.

Safe to Use

You can still be connected with the outside world even wearing these headphones. As the ear canal stays open, you can be conscious of the outside happenings and stay alert while on the road.

No Ear Canal blockage

Traditional headphones jam the ear canal and leave no room for healthy air circulation. But the best bone conduction headphones will let your ear canal be free from blockages and can provide you comfort.


Tradition in-ear headphones may invoke pain if used for a long time. However, bone conduction headphones with mic and direction audio headphones are very comfortable to wear because of their unique designs.


If you wear any of the modern non-ear plug designs after contemplating bone conduction vs directional audio headphones, rest assured that there will not be any issue of earwax residue on your headphone. So, you can use them without compromising the cleanliness.

To conclude, it will be solely up to you what to choose between these advanced non-ear headphones. However, it is necessary to check all the features and know everything about bone conduction vs directional audio before investing in buying.

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