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Are Shokz headphones essential for all runners and cyclists?

Traditional headphones are now banned in all running and cycling road races in the UK, which has helped brands such as Shokz, that use bone-conducting technology to delivering sounds, bypassing the ears and keeping them open to listen out for cars and other traffic, find an eager audience. But how do Shokz headphones work? And which model is best-suited to your training needs or professional set-up?

Bone conducting headphones are emerging as a prized and popular alternative to traditional in-ear and over-ear headphones, both for indoor and outdoor activities. Among the leading brands in this innovative space is Shokz (formerly known as AfterShokz,) which has won-over runners, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts in their droves with its pioneering approach to delivering sound whilst maximising activity safety, especially with its OpenRun Pro headphones (£159.95).

Whether you love training outdoors, are a tech geek, or need a new pair of headphones for use at work without completely silencing out your colleagues and the rest of the office, here’s everything you need to know about bone conducting headphones to make the best purchasing decision based on your unique needs.

What are bone conducting headphones?

Bone conducting headphones are a type of audio device that transmits sound waves through the bones in your skull instead of through the air into your ear canal. This method allows the sound to reach the inner ear directly, bypassing the eardrum. This type of headphone sits on the cheekbones, just in front of the ears, where it sends vibrations through your facial bones. This technology first found widespread use for helping people with certain types of hearing loss because it provides an alternative way to perceive sound that avoids the ear canal and drum.

How do bone conducting headphones work?

Bone conducting headphones operate by using transducers to convert audio signals into vibrations. These vibrations are then transmitted through the bones of the skull, directly stimulating the cochlea in the inner ear. The cochlea translates these vibrations into electrical signals that are interpreted by the brain as sound. This bypasses the outer and middle ear, which can be beneficial for those with damage or blockages in these areas. Bone conduction can be an effective method for transmitting sound, especially in noisy environments or for individuals with hearing impairments, according to the Hearing Research journal.

Shokz bone conducting headphones are great for both indoor and outdoor training, and can even be used at work to take calls and listen to podcasts without shutting out the rest of the office

Do I need bone conducting headphones?

Maybe. Bone conducting headphones offer several advantages over traditional headphones. One significant benefit is safety: because they do not block the ear canal, users can remain aware of their surroundings and ambient sounds, such as cars and other traffic, making them ideal for outdoor activities like running or cycling, because greater situational awareness can help prevent accidents. Also, under UK Athletics rules in-ear and over-the-ear headphones are banned in all UK road running and cycling races because of safety concerns, leaving bone conducting headphones are the only available options for racing events.

They are also very handy for use in offices and other work environments in which you need or want to listen to various types of audio in privacy, or need to answer phone calls regularly, but still be able to hear and communicate with other members of your team or company. Some brands, including Shokz, offer bone-conducting headphones with noise-cancelling boom microphones to facilitate more convenient call-making.

What are the best bone conducting headphones?

Several brands have made a mark in the bone conducting headphone market, with Shokz leading the way due to their innovation and quality. Shokz stands out for its consistent focus on improving bone conduction technology and producing headphones that are not only functional but also durable and comfortable for everyday use. Their products often receive high ratings for sound quality, battery life and ease of use.

What different types of Shokz headphones are there?

Shokz offers a range of bone conducting headphones tailored to different user preferences and activities. Some of their popular models include the Shokz OpenRun Pro (£159.95), designed for athletes with its lightweight and water-resistant features, and the OpenSwim (£139), which is specifically designed for swimming and is waterproof to depths of two metres.

There’s also the Shokz OpenComm (£199.95), which includes a noise-cancelling boom microphone and is designed for office and professional use. The Shokz OpenMove (£79.95) is a more affordable option that still provides high-quality sound and comfort, suitable for casual listeners.

Find out more at uk.shokz.com

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