So you may have heard of these new smart audio glasses that are all the rage. These amazing smart glasses don’t only help with vision correction and protecting your eyes from the sun, but they’re also capable of projecting audio. With Bluetooth technology, you can now listen to your favorite music or take important business calls with nothing more than your smart glasses.
However, if you’ve heard about these glasses, it’s likely that you’ve also heard some brands use air conduction while others make use of bone conduction. Now, what on earth could these two terms mean? And which is better?
Luckily, we’ve got all the information you could need to decide whether you should get smart glasses with air or bone conduction.
How does normal hearing work?
First things first, let’s clear up the question of how the human ear works. In everyday life, sounds are transmitted through the air by means of sound waves, which are vibrations that move through the air. These waves then reach our outer ear (the pinna) and are funneled to the eardrum.
The eardrum then decodes the sound waves through more vibrations, which is then passed on to the fluid-filled Cochlea (the inner ear). The Cochlea is connected to the auditory nerve. So, as the fluid in the Cochlea begins to vibrate, the nerve endings are activated, taking the vibrations and transferring them into electrical impulses which are passed through the auditory nerve to the brain, where it’s interpreted as sound.
How do air conduction glasses work?
Air conduction glasses work in a similar fashion to traditional hearing aids, except you don’t need to insert any device into your ear.
With air conduction smart glasses, speakers are embedded into either arm of the frames, usually just behind the ear. The speakers then amplify the audio you’re listening to, transmitting it into the ear canal and down to the eardrum. This way, you get to listen to all your favorite music and podcasts without using traditional headphones.
Benefits of air conduction glasses
There are numerous benefits to using air conduction glasses. One of the greatest advantages is that you can listen to any audio you like but still get to experience the natural sounds around you. This will allow you to remain aware of what’s going on in your surroundings, which makes air conduction glasses safer than traditional headphones.
Air conduction glasses are also great for those working in an office environment. You can easily listen to your favorite music without missing any of the important action going on around you.
How do bone conduction glasses work?
The main difference between air and bone conduction smart glasses is that air conduction funnels sound waves down the ear canals, whilst bone conduction doesn’t. Instead, this technology bypasses the middle ear altogether and essentially acts as an eardrum.
With bone conduction glasses, the sound is converted into vibrations, which are then transferred via the bones of the skull to the Cochlea. This, in turn, is sent via the auditory canal to the brain for processing.
Benefits of bone conduction glasses
Similar to air conduction glasses, wearing bone conduction glasses is incredibly convenient as your eyewear and headphones are essentially integrated.
Bone conduction glasses most significant benefit is that they can aid people with hearing loss. However, its effectiveness will depend on what type of hearing loss someone is experiencing. There are three categories of hearing loss: conductive, perceptive and mixed.
With conductive hearing loss, the issue is that sound cannot be transmitted fully, usually due to damage to the eardrum. Therefore bone conduction glasses would be able to aid with this type of hearing loss, as it bypasses this section of the ear altogether. However, one’s Choclea must still be in good, functional condition for this to work.
When it comes to perceptive hearing loss, bone conduction will be less effective. This is due to the fact that this type of hearing loss is caused by “difficulty in sensing the vibrations by the auditory nerves at the cochlea”.
With mixed hearing loss, it’s more challenging to determine if bone conduction glasses would be able to help unless you try out the glasses first.
Air conduction vs bone conduction glasses - which is right for you?
Both air conduction and bone conduction glasses offer amazing advantages. You now know exactly how each type of technology works and what the benefits of each are. If you’re still unsure which type of smart glasses you should choose, feel free to get in touch with us.