Bone Conduction?

I have been relying on Aftershokz headphones for nearly everything that I hear for almost a decade now. The Titanium series was reliable even if the pads fell off of the conduction ends of the headset pretty routinely. If you held your mouth the right way you could sometimes get the pads to stick back on, or you could try your hand at gluing them back on yourself. I wore each set until the speakers quit working one way or the other, and I was thankful to be able to enjoy music again for the first time in over a decade since I started suffering from hearing loss due to Meniere’s.

The new Open Move design doesn’t have pads that can fall off, so they get higher marks from me than the old Titanium’s did.

I couldn’t figure out how to get the headsets to work with the PlayStation 3 or 4 though. I also couldn’t get the Bluetooth connection to work properly with my laptop and the various games and chat software that I have used over all these years. I bought a wired set of Aftershokz Sports for that purpose. Even though the first generation of Sportz didn’t have a mic, they worked like a charm for what I needed them to do. They worked like a charm until I accidentally pulled the wire out of the in-line battery pack a few days ago.

when I went online to try to get a new set of Sportz I discovered that Aftershokz has discontinued them. Now that is a problem. The Wife had noticed that they had been discontinued earlier in the year (before her trip to the hospital) and so she had bought an alternative headset that advertised itself as being bone conduction; bought them prophylactically in the eventuality that I destroyed the set I was relying on for gameplay and late-night movie watching. She likes not being woken up by the deaf guy trying to hear his movies and games at night.

Now there is bone conduction, and then there is bone conduction. On a totally different level there is the fraud that calls itself bone conduction, the trendy thing people are paying for in headsets these days. On Amazon I ran across four different stores all selling the exact same headset: LBCW, LBFXQ, LBCD and GZCRDZ. Who knows how many more there are if I were to go looking further down the search results list. All of these stores are selling the exact same headset and all of them are not bone conduction. How do I know this? First off, the images are identical on all the store pages, as are the color offerings for the device. The wiring harness is the same as is the microphone embedded in the wiring.

I know they aren’t bone conduction because the headset the wife bought from a fifth store on Amazon has proven it isn’t bone conduction through rigorous testing. I’ve used bone conduction headphones for years and they don’t work if you stick them in your ears. If you stick these headphones in your ears (as uncomfortable as that is to do) you can hear them better than if you place them correctly just above the jawbone. They are not bone conduction, and they aren’t even worth the extremely cheap price charged for them. Do yourself a favor, pay the extra money and get a real bone conduction headset.

As I said though, I can’t get the Sportz that I like unless I buy a used pair off of eBay, and there aren’t a lot of those either. Not having a wired headset will put a crimp in my late-night movie watching and Red Dead Redemption II playing at 4 am, but I think I have solved the Bluetooth issue on my laptop.

After some sleuthing, I have discovered a work-around to get the headset to work for both gaming and chatting. In the Windows sound panel, set headphones as default. Then in your chat software set it to use the default output and you should be able to get sound from both channels simultaneously. If your laptop doesn’t have a built-in mic this work-around might be a problem for you. In the meantime I will be looking for a suitable wired headset replacement to connect to the PS-4 at least. I’ll let you know if I find anything.


Still working on that sound system problem. I have two used Sportz that I bought on eBay in the meantime, and I found a wired set of Sportz I bought by accident two years ago still sitting in their return box in the back of the car (The Wife is allergic to Post Offices, apparently) So I have three sets of Sportz to take me through the next few years. Hopefully there will be new tech to replace them by the time they wear out.