We have been using headphones, earphones, and earbuds, for years. We also have Tinnitus (ringing in our ears) and Loud Noise-induced Hearing Loss which can be directly attributed to the wearing of the aforementioned products.
This article on Bone Conduction Headphones use with Existing Tinnitus and Hearing Loss is based on not only our own experiences and empirical evidence observations but scientific study research data quoted throughout this article and included in the reference section below.
For a thorough description of the symptoms and effect of Tinnitus please see the article “Tinnitus: Characteristics, Causes, Mechanisms, and Treatments” by the Journal of Clinical Neurology from March 2009 by Byung In Han, MD, and corresponding authors Ho Won Lee, MD, Tae You Kim, MD, Jun Seong Lim, MD, and Kyoung Sik Shin, MD.
First of all, we wear Wireless Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones and do it carefully and at low volume. We never listen to loud music or noises anymore if we can absolutely avoid it. We do it for the pure enjoyment of the medium of listening.
We use Wireless Bluetooth Headphones because Apple got rid of the wire jack/port on there iPhones so it is the simplest way to do it unless you want to buy an Apple Lightning Wire connector which we do not.
You have to continue to live in our society so we have altered our life to accommodate this situation of Tinnitus with Hearing Loss and a few other physical ailments with a small quiet lifestyle. No longer in a busy loud big city but in a small town. It certainly doesn’t mean there are no loud noises wherever you are but if we know about it in advance and cannot avoid it we wear earplugs.
In addition for observational purposes and because we live in Alaska, we often wear the wireless Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones under a beanie pulled down around and over our ears, and or sweatshirt or different levels of rain or coat hood over them.
We wear the Bone Conduction Headphones without earplugs to leave our ears open for bears or moose in the woods (or they could be walking down the street around here) and this also definitely keeps the sound compartmentalized within these enclosed areas.
As we have spoken of in past articles “How Loud Is Too Loud With Bone Conduction Headphones?“ and “Why Are Bone Conduction Headphones Safer Than Earbuds For You And Your Family?” the possibility of damaging your ears or your children’s ears from headphones that are too loud is a quite real possibility. There is no cure for hearing loss or some Tinnitus conditions.
We always want to know the truth and there is only one way to find that out and that is by trial and error which we have loads of practice in!!
I personally did damage to my own ears while riding my somewhat loud Harley Davidson Motorcycle and turning up the music on my earbuds to loud to hear over it. Motorcycle engines create about 100 decibels of sound or more depending and you are trying to hear whatever you are listening to over that.
My earbuds were under my helmet, oftentimes on long rides on the highways or riding to fast around town to blow off some steam on the big city freeways. You are always listening over the hum of the engine and the pipes. The result is Noise-induced Hearing Loss and Tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears and was a really bad idea.
The main reason for this article though is what happens if we use Earbuds today in comparison to Bone Conduction Headphones.
Nowadays we normally always wear Bone Conduction Headphones when we are listening to Audiobooks or Podcasts in the morning when we walk and exercise. It is one of our greatest joys to read while walking in the forest or to the ocean. When I use Earbuds, I notice that I can hear the ringing in my ears a lot more again.
The ear is made up of three parts that work together to process sounds including the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. Earbuds and Ear Phones transmit sound directly through the ear canal. The Earbuds don’t damage your hearing, it is the level of the sound that you are playing that damages your hearing.
Bone Conduction Headphones transmit sound through the bones in the skull rather than through the outer ear and eardrum. They can also still damage your hearing if you play them too loud.
Not sure why the Bone Conduction Headphones don’t seem to bother the Tinnitus as much as earbuds do but that is certainly my observation.
Hearing depends on a series of complex steps that change sound waves in the air into electrical signals. Our auditory nerve then carries these signals to the brain.
Recently I was having a problem with my iPhone 7 and talk about it in a recent article called “Beware of iPhone Updates” and ended up surrendering to Apple and buying an iPhone 11 Pro.
One of the after-effects of that decision was that the iPhone 11 Pro was not recognizing a couple of sets of my Wireless Bluetooth Headphones. The Wireless Bluetooth Bone conduction Headphones I use I like very much. When I first received them I tried them with my Apple iPhone 7 and they worked good.
When I purchased a new iPhone 11 Pro the headphones will not work with it. I contacted Apple support and they said because I have other Earbuds and devices working with the iPhone 11 Pro’s Bluetooth to contact the Wireless Bluetooth Headphones company because it is an issue with the Headphones.
Either way, I had to switch back to Earbuds for the time being so I can continue to listen to my Podcasts and Audiobooks in the morning each day and if not doing that I have the speaker on in the top pocket of my outerwear.
So to me, empirical evidence is my experience with Tinnitus. I have not used Earbuds for at least 9 months for this exact reason. Once I switch from Bone Conduction Headphones back to Earbuds I notice ringing in my ears a lot more again.
For someone with Tinnitus, it is like taking 10 steps back because it can be so annoying and bothersome. I feel after utilizing Bone Conduction Headphones it almost feels like a cure in a way because I can still listen to music and lots of interesting reading and not notice the ringing in my ears like I am right now.
Definition of empirical
1: originating in or based on observation or experience // empirical data
2: relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory //an empirical basis for the theory
3: capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment // empirical laws
4: of or relating to empiricism
A study as far back as 2002 called ‘Sound stimulation via bone conduction for Tinnitus relief: a pilot study’ by the Department of Audiology at the University of Göteborg, Sweden said:
“A potential advantage of bone-conducted sound is that it is transmitted to the cochlea without affecting the normal hearing via the external and middle ear. The present pilot study, on patients who use a conventional BAHA and who experience mild-to-moderate tinnitus, shows that bone-conducted sound has the potential to relieve tinnitus in the same way as air-conducted sound.”
Part of the benefit of wearing Bone Conduction Headphones or any Bone Conduction technology like Bone Conduction Hearing Aids is a way to mask the sound of tinnitus. Many earbuds and headphones block out external sounds, it can seem like it amplifies the ringing sound of tinnitus and it sounds louder.
“Sound-based therapies function on four general mechanisms of action. (Mechanisms of action are the putative processes or reasons why a given intervention is effective.) Different products may emphasize a specific aspect, or include a combination of approaches:
Because we believe this information is so important to get out to people because of what Tinnitus has shown to me personally. We love to post information that we have read to get a better understanding of what we have and how to deal with it.
Frankly, although there is treatment, there is not a lot you can do about Tinnitus and Hearing Loss except take great care not to make it worse. I am not ready for noise masking hearing aids so I try to be very careful and live with it. Part of the perception of Tinnitus is not thinking about it and in writing this article it has brought it to the forefront of my thoughts and magnified it which I find interesting but not fun!!
Please see the excerpt information below as they are great resources to read the full article and understand.
“The word tinnitus is derived from the Latin word tinnire, meaning "to ring" or "a ringing." Tinnitus is defined as an unwanted auditory perception of internal origin, usually localized, and rarely heard by others.
Tinnitus is common, affecting up to 10 percent of the U.S. general population. It is most prevalent between 40 and 70 years of age, has roughly equal prevalence in men and women, and occasionally can occur in children.
The severity of tinnitus varies from an occasional awareness of a noise (e.g., ringing, hissing, buzzing, roaring, clicking, or rough sounds) in one or both ears, to an unbearable sound that drives some persons to contemplate suicide.
People with similar psychoacoustic descriptions of tinnitus may differ radically in their level of annoyance and sense of its impact on daily life. Epidemiologic data reveal that approximately one-fourth of persons with tinnitus are discomforted by it, whereas the remaining three fourths experience the condition without significant symptoms.
Tinnitus takes different forms and has different classification proposals. One classification system stresses distinctions between vibratory and nonvibratory types, while another system groups the different forms of tinnitus into subjective or objective classes.
- Vibratory tinnitus is caused by transmission to the cochlea of vibrations from adjacent tissues or organs. Nonvibratory tinnitus is produced by biochemical changes in the nerve mechanism of hearing.
- Subjective tinnitus, which is more common, is heard only by the patient. Objective tinnitus can be heard through a stethoscope placed over head and neck structures near the patient's ear.
Most cases of tinnitus result from the same conditions that cause hearing loss.”
There are many descriptions of Tinnitus depending on who is describing it and the most common cause of tinnitus is noise-induced hearing loss.
This is the most common type of tinnitus, and it is often caused by exposure to loud noise. This type of tinnitus can only be heard by the individual who experiences it and can be either temporary or chronic.
This tinnitus can vary in length and intensity and is experienced consistently for at least 3 to 6 months.
It can go on indefinitely and there is no cure for this condition if noise exposure to the hair cells in the inner ear caused damage. This tinnitus can tremendously affect an individual's life with effects on sleep and daily activities.
Objective tinnitus is a type of tinnitus that is typically related to physical movement and touch. It can be detected by other people and it can be generated by muscle spasms in the ear or neck, and by other mechanical sources.
This is the only type of tinnitus that has the potential to be permanently repaired.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss is quoted from an article by PM Rabinowitz - American family physician, 2000 - hannaziegler.tripod.com
“To be perceived, sounds must exert a shearing force on the stereocilia of the hair cells lining the basilar membrane of the cochlea. When excessive, this force can lead to cellular metabolic overload, cell damage and cell death. Noise-induced hearing loss, therefore, represents excessive "wear and tear" on the delicate inner ear structures.”
There is also lots of information going both directions on the sound quality, safety, and usefulness of Bone Conduction Headphones. This discussion pertains to someone who already has some level of Tinnitus.
I personally am not an audiophile but love good sound quality as much as the next person. While sound quality and clarity are very important with ringing in your ears constantly it is a different scenario.
For me having the convenience of Wireless Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones and the ability to listen to something while I am out and about in nature or a city is more important than the actual sound quality in those specific instances.
If I want super impressive sound quality than I would wear over the ear headphones or listen to open-air speakers. Again everyone is different and to each their own.
Bone conduction headphones are safe to wear and let you hear your surroundings while you are wearing and using them. Bone Conduction technology and headphones are used by the U.S. military and bone conduction technology is used in hearing aids and for the hearing impaired.
Bone Conduction Headphones are safe for your hearing as long as you do not turn them up so loud that you get hearing damage from loud noise. The technology is a safe alternative for earbuds and over the ear headphones.
Bone Conduction Headphones are most useful in activities that require your ears to be open for safety or for athletic activities. That is why the U.S. Military uses them in specific circumstances. We have often said that for the safety of a person who needs to hear their surroundings in city traffic for instance on a bicycle or running or a place where it helpful they are a real asset.
27 FEBRUARY 2015 | GENEVA – “Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events, according to WHO. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.
Data from studies in middle- and high-income countries analyzed by WHO indicate that among teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 years, nearly 50% are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices and around 40% are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues. Unsafe levels of sounds can be, for example, exposure to in excess of 85 decibels (dB) for eight hours or 100dB for 15 minutes.”
We love Wireless Bluetooth Bone Conduction Headphones and the options they give us. We wear them every week during different activities and listen to different things with them.
What we have learned is to do all things in moderation including listening to any type of music, information, or format through any type of medium weather it be the stereo speakers in your automobile or earbuds while walking in the park at lower volume so that we do not make our Tinnitus and Noise-Induced Hearing Loss any worse.
We recommend that we learn about this for our children and pass on the information to younger generations. With new technology will also come new options and opportunities for enjoying music and sound with less danger.
If we can share this information with one person and it helps them then we have definitely done our job today!!
The story of the Smartphone is so amazing and interesting it would be hard to make this entire narrative up. It is so intricately entwined in the ingenuity of humanity and the necessity to continue to discover and grow as a species. There is always hope!
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The ultimate mission of cellular data has always been to be on par with Wi-Fi. 4G has come close in many ways, but let’s be honest; we know there are things we can do at home on our computers or tablets that we cannot do on our cell phones. When we are at home, we think nothing of streaming.
Depending on your internet provider and plan, if you have modern Wi-Fi, you may have no data allowance or cap, so some can go to town and binge as many Netflix shows as we like.
However, this abundance of data has not yet crossed over into our mobile lives. Many of us are on data plans, and it is always possible to use up all of our data before we know it. Streaming through our phones is one way we risk doing this, which is why most people are still relatively conservative in their mobile streaming habits, but this is becoming harder to do.
Before the holidays, we wrote a blog post called “How Can You Hear Something That’s Not In Your Ear?” The blog's title was inspired by my father-in-law asking me that very same question while we were on a family holiday. As a prolific writer and self-confessed workaholic, I was busy writing my latest article while listening to the Killer's latest album through my Bone Conduction headphones.
Due to Bone Conduction headphones sending the music directly into my inner ear, I was able to enjoy it while I concentrated on my work, but without shutting out my surroundings. I was on a family vacation; after all, one which included dogs and small children all running around together.
It was sensible to keep an eye (and both ears) on them just in case I was needed to do a spot of parenting. Fortunately for me, my Bone Conduction headphones allow this due to their design. Other headphones may have blocked out the sound entirely.
I live in remote Alaska where there is barley 3G and don’t see us getting to 4G, let alone 5G anytime soon. For most of my life, I lived in a large city with cutting edge technology and the benefits of living with 4G.
The 5G promise is very exciting for many reasons we list below but do we need a 5G Phone in rural Alaska? The answer is no because there is no connection and if you live in a rural area the answer is more than likely the same for you.
Nome Alaska is 143 miles from the Arctic Circle and you can see Russia on a clear day from Wales which is in the Nome census area and Nort of Nome. If you measure on Google Maps Lavrentiya Russia is 179 miles from Nome Alaska.