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Can you safely listen to music while running?

Innovative bone-conducting headphones might hold the answer
May 16, 2014
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Running with headphones can make us unaware of our surroundings, which is especially treacherous while navigating urban streets. How often have you thought that honking horn was just part of the track?

Now some new headphones from New York called AfterShokz are looking to make life a whole lot safer for runners everywhere. They do this by using bone-conducting technology to conduct sound off your cheekbones and into your inner ear, leaving your eardrum free to hear everything else.

aftershokz-sportzHow do they work?

The designers use the example of Beethoven battling against his deafness to explain the technology, noting, “He used multiple hearing aids to benefit his loss. Most notably was his steel rod construction. The device was made up of a steel rod and some clamps that fixed one end to the piano. Ludwig would then bite the other end as he played. The music escaped the piano creating vibrations, which travelled up Beethoven’s steel rod. When they struck his mouth, the noise would escaped the rod and play off his teeth, continuing to his inner ear.”

This, the team says, is the first documented use of the technology. With the headphones, however, you don’t need to bite anything, you simply hook them over the back of your head with the buds resting high on your cheeks.

Great, but do they actually work?

In a recent review in The Guardian results were positive, with the reviewer noting, “During a 45-minute jog, they didn't bounce or shift. I heard far more of my environment than I normally do: a yapping dog here; a nearby bike there; a runner passing me again to my left; and so forth.” However, the article also noted concerns about not being able to “get lost” in your music, but we guess that’s kind of the point.

Prices start at $59.95 and you can find out more on the AfterShokz website.

Main Photo: Dirima/Shutterstock.com
Product photo: AfterShokz

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