What are the advantages of listening to music through the bones of the head?
Relax, we have not gone crazy or discovered a new superpower. Although it is not very well known, in addition to using the ears we can also listen to music through our bones. And more specifically through the skull. This phenomenon is called bone conduction and its technology allows us to listen to music in private without using the classic headphones.
Do you want to know how it works and what advantages does it offer ? Well, stay with us, we’ll explain it to you.
First, let’s learn how our hearing works
Before starting to talk about bone conduction in itself it is necessary to go back to school to remember what is that of sound and how we grasp it. Following a more or less basic definition, sound is nothing more than a series of movements in the air that propagate in the form of audible pressure waves. Our auditory system is responsible for capturing these vibrations and transforming them into electrical signals for our brain , which then registers a specific tone.
The translation of these waves into sound begins when they are conducted by our auditory pavilion (the ear) to the eardrum, a fragile membrane that vibrates as if it were the skin of a drum . This movement is transmitted to a chain of ossicles and from there to the cochlea or snail, which through a complex mechanism converts it into electrical signals sent to the auditory nerve and from there to our brain.
The human ear is a fascinating and extremely complex organ, but also sensitive. The introduction of objects into the ear canal can cause very serious damage to the eardrum and the chain of ossicles, which are relatively exposed to possible infections. Also, the ear constantly generates wax to protect against foreign bodies.
An excess of noise can also be harmful. In addition, the human being did not take his first steps in large cities or airports, but in the savanna. It is for this reason that it is recommended to listen to music at a reasonable volume and away from the loudspeakers in concert halls, as well as to use protection measures in places where there is a high noise volume .
Bone transmission, an invention with centuries of history
Done this little review of primary, we went to talk about bone transmission. The truth is that although the eardrum is the first link in the conversion to sound of a pressure wave, this is not the only part of our body capable of recording this type of vibration. The bones of our head can also vibrate with the sound and send these vibrations to the inner ear, skipping this delicate intermediary to reach the cochlea.
This curious effect was discovered by Beethoven, who in his later years was almost totally deaf. The German composer discovered that he could continue listening to the notes that came out of his piano if he attached to it a metal wand attached to his teeth , so that the vibrations of the instrument passed to his skull. This is how he wrote some of his latest scores.
The use of bone transmission did not become a daily reality for thousands of people until the beginning of the 21st century. It was then when the technology allowed to take advantage in the form of hearing aids for people with problems in the eardrums , after which evolved towards its use with a more general use.
Currently the bone transmission is also used by headphones that do without the movement of our eardrums, making use of small vibration motors in contact with our head to generate sound. And we do not talk about random noise, but the ability to transmit music and voice with total clarity, making it possible to enjoy our favorite songs or talk on the phone in a natural way.