Bone Conduction Technology
Bone conduction is the conduction of sound to the inner ear primarily through the bones of the skull, allowing the hearer to perceive audio content without blocking the ear canal. Bone conduction transmission occurs constantly as sound waves vibrate bone, specifically the bones in the skull, although it is hard for the average individual to distinguish sound being conveyed through the bone as opposed to sound being conveyed through air via the ear canal. Intentional transmission of sound through bone can be used with individuals with normal hearing as with bone-conduction headphones or as a treatment option for certain types of hearing impairment. Bone generally conveys lower-frequency sounds better than higher frequency sound.
We all hear sounds through both our bones (bone-conducted or bone-transmitted) and our eardrums (air-conducted or air-transmitted). Most sounds are heard by our eardrums. The eardrum converts the sound waves to vibrations and transmits them to the cochlea (or inner ear). However in some cases vibrations are heard directly by the inner ear bypassing your eardrums. In fact, this is one of the ways you hear your own voice. This is also how whales hear.
Bone conduction is one reason why a person's voice sounds different to them 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 has also been observed that some animals can perceive sound and even communicate by sending and receiving vibration through bone.
Normal sound waves are actually tiny vibrations in the air. The vibrations travel through the air to our eardrums. The eardrums in turn vibrate, decoding these sound waves into a different type of vibrations that are received by the Cochlea, also known as the inner ear. The Cochlea is connected to our auditory nerve, which transmits the sounds to our brain.
Bone Conduction bypasses the eardrums. In bone conduction listening, the bone conduction devices (such as headphones) perform the role of your eardrums. These devices decode sound waves and convert them into vibrations that can be received directly by the Cochlea so the eardrum is never involved. The “sound” reach the ears as vibrations through the bones (or skull) and skin.
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Journal of Orthopedic Oncology