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A consumer stereo bone conduction headset. The two transducers fit slightly in front of the ears.

Bone conduction is the conduction of sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull. Bone conduction transmission can be used with individuals with normal or impaired hearing.


Bone conduction is one reason why a person's voice sounds different to him/her when it is recorded and played back. Because the skull conducts lower frequencies better than air, people perceive their own voices to be lower and fuller than others do, and a recording of one's own voice frequently sounds higher than one expects it to sound.[1][2]

Musicians may use bone conduction while tuning stringed instruments to a tuning fork. After the fork starts vibrating placing it in the mouth with the stem between the back teeth ensures that one continues to hear the note via bone conduction, and both hands are free to do the tuning.[3]:6

Hearing aids[edit]

Some hearing aids employ bone conduction, achieving an effect equivalent to hearing directly by means of the ears. A headset is ergonomically positioned on the temple and cheek and the electromechanical transducer, which converts electric signals into mechanical vibrations, sends sound to the internal ear through the cranial bones. Likewise, a microphone can be used to record spoken sounds via bone conduction. The first description, in 1923, of a bone conduction hearing aid was Hugo Gernsback's "Osophone",[4] which he later elaborated on with his "Phonosone".[5]

After the discovery of Osseointegration around 1950 and its application to dentistry around 1965, it was noticed that implanted teeth conducted vibrations to the ear. As a result, bone anchored hearing aids were developed and implanted from 1977 on.


Bone conduction products are usually categorized into three groups:

One example of a specialized communication product is a bone conduction speaker that is used by scuba divers. The device is a rubber over-moulded, piezoelectric flexing disc that is approximately 40 millimetres (1.6 in) across and 6 millimetres (0.24 in) thick. A connecting cable is moulded into the disc, resulting in a tough, waterproof assembly. In use, the speaker is strapped against one of the dome-shaped bone protrusions behind the ear and the sound, which can be surprisingly clear and crisp, seems to come from inside the user's head.[6]

Use in the 21st century[edit]

The Google Glass device employs bone conduction technology for the relay of information to the user through a transducer that sits beside the user's ear. The use of bone conduction means that any vocal content that is received by the Glass user is nearly inaudible to outsiders.[7]

German broadcaster Sky Deutschland and advertising agency BBDO Germany collaborated on an advertising campaign that uses bone conduction that was premiered in Cannes, France at the International Festival of Creativity in June 2013. The "Talking Window" advertising concept uses bone conduction to transmit advertising to public transport passengers who lean their heads against glass train windows. Academics from Australia's Macquarie University suggested that, apart from not touching the window, passengers would need to use a dampening device that is made of material that would not transmit the vibration from the window.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zhi Cai; Alan G. Madsen; Douglas G. Richards; Martin L. Lenhardt (2002). "Response of Human Skull to Bone Conducted Sound in the Audiometric to Ultrasonic Range" (PDF). Response of Human Skull to Bone Conducted Sound in the Audiometric to Ultrasonic Range. Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Brent Zupp (2003–2012). "Why Does Your Voice Sound Different on a Recording?". Wanderings. Brent Zupp. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Dan Fox (1996). Teach Yourself to Play Mandolin. Alfred Music Publishing. ISBN 9780739002865. Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  4. ^ US 1521287, Gernsback, Hugo, "Acoustic Apparatus", published 19 May 1923, issued 30 December 1924 
  5. ^ Kennedy, T. R., Jr. (1958). "From Coherer to Spacistor" (PDF). Radio-Electronics (Gernsback Publications) 29 (4): 45–59. 
  6. ^ Banks, Lindsey. "Bone Conduction Headphones". Everyday Hearing. Retrieved 11 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Charles Arthur (2 July 2013). "Google Glass – hands-on review". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Catherine McMahon; Phillip Nakad (12 July 2013). "Bone conduction: the new front in guerilla advertising". The Conversation Australia. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Leo Kelion (3 July 2013). "Talking train window adverts tested by Sky Deutschland". BBC News. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_conduction — Please support Wikipedia.
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Apple Insider

Apple Insider
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 02:08:22 -0700

Today's patent illustrates ongoing work in the area of bone conduction technology, as Apple filed a similar application for accelerometer-assisted noise cancellation last September. The company has yet to bring such a device to market and its most ...

Digital Trends

Digital Trends
Wed, 19 Aug 2015 05:45:00 -0700

Aftershokz has made some waves as one of a handful of companies daring to make “bone conduction” headphones. As the tech's ominous name suggests, bone conduction headphones are different from your standard cans because they rest just in front of ...


Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:00:00 -0700

Bone conduction technology transmits audio by sending vibrations to the inner ear through the bones in one's cheek. Unlike sound waves that travel through the air, bone conduction bypasses the eardrum, yet delivers the same sort of nerve impulses to ...

Sound Guys

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Tue, 25 Aug 2015 12:52:30 -0700

Bone conduction technology has been around for quite a bit. It's definitely not as commonplace as traditional methods found in the majority of peripherals today, but bone conduction definitely serves its purpose, but it's a bit underutilized. There are ...

Home Theater Review

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Sun, 23 Aug 2015 02:56:15 -0700

AfterShokz-Treks.jpg AfterShokz has introduced a new bone conduction headphone, the Trekz Titanium. Bone conduction technology transmits audio to the inner ear through the skull, bypassing the eardrums--which makes it a good choice for sports ...


Mon, 03 Aug 2015 01:36:18 -0700

The KFC Willows branch in Bloemfontein makes use of bone conduction to allow customers to listen to music at their table without disturbing anyone else. KFC has partnered with local artists to design illustrations on the restaurant's digital touch ...
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Fri, 31 Jul 2015 07:12:59 -0700

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Mon, 17 Aug 2015 02:48:20 -0700

... Africa was handed out to KFC and Oglivy & Mather for the KFC Soundbite campaign launched at the beginning of August, which gave KFC customers in some branches the opportunity to listen to music using bone conduction at specially-designed tables.

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