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Shokz Bone Conduction Headphones | Tinnitus Review

Bone conduction headphones do not rest inside or on the ear. Rather, they are placed on the temporal bone. And if you play sound through that bone, you will hear it and perceive it the same way as if it's coming through your ears through the air.

It’s no secret that sound therapy is important for tinnitus. Have you considered using bone conduction headphones for your tinnitus sound therapy? Today we are looking at the Shokz (formerly Aftershokz) bone conduction headphones to inform you of the pros and cons of using them for tinnitus sound therapy.

Dr. Ben Thompson reviews the Bone Conduction Aftershokz to give you the pros and cons

How does it look and how is it used?

Bone conduction headphones do not rest inside or on the ear. Rather, they are placed on the temporal bone. And if you play sound through that bone, you will hear it and perceive it the same way as if it’s coming through your ears through the air. It sits alongside the ear and it presses against the bone, against that temporal bone. And that’s what transfers the sound through.

This can be used by:

  • Cyclists
  • People working out
  • Someone who prefers to stream Bluetooth through these headphones instead of other types of headphones that block your ear canals

The Pros:

Price — The prices range from $80 to $160, depending on the model you get.

Allows natural hearing through your ear canals, keeping your ear canals open

If your ears can hear the natural ambient sound around you, that helps your tinnitus and allows you to habituate better than if you were to close your ear canals and play only process sound through your ears. For example, if you have Apple AirPods and you’re plugging your ear canals, that’s less optimal than keeping your ear canals open and using something like bone conduction headphones, hearing aids with natural open fit in the ear canals, or just using a sound machine from the table that you’re sitting at or indoors. When you’re leaving the ear canals open, that’s good. That’s good for tinnitus.

Bluetooth Connectivity

We tested the entry-level to make sure that it could provide the Bluetooth streaming for sound therapy that we needed for tinnitus. And from our testing, it did that quite well. You can use them to stream music, take phone calls, listen to audio, YouTube videos, and you can use them for sound therapy, streaming through different smartphone apps from your phone to provide the sound therapy that you need to keep your energy, stay focused, and not get distracted by the ringing sound or the tinnitus in your ears.

Rechargeable lithium ion battery

The battery life lasts six to eight hours on a full charge. So if you’re someone who needs situational sound therapy for tinnitus, this is a good option to consider because the battery life is long enough to be used for about half the day, but it’s not meant to be used for the full day.

The Cons:

Now let’s talk about the drawbacks, things that you should look out for, if you’re considering using these for sound therapy for tinnitus.

They are somewhat distracting

Most people will not be able to have conversations with strangers while they are using bone conduction headphones. Sure, they’re more discreet than wearing headphones, wearing AirPods, or something in your ears, but they’re not as discreet as something like slim discreet hearing aids.

High pitch, high-frequency sound cannot get through your skin

High pitch sounds have a tough time passing through skin when played via bone conduction. Using bone conduction sound therapy through your skin, you may run into some trouble because it has a roll-off in the high pitches. Higher pitch sounds will not be able to transfer through the skin and that means all things equal. These will not have the same full bandwidth, the same richness, the same dynamics of your sound therapy as if you were listening to something through a high quality speaker or through hearing aids that have the ability to amplify very high pitched high frequency sounds.

How Does It Compare?

How do the bone conduction headphones measure up with popular in-ear headphones, or traditional hearing aids?


The AirPods 3 are small and go in the ear. They do not have a closed fitting. They have an open fitting. They’re not truly as open of an ear canal presence as wearing bone conduction headphones. The AirPods 3, like Shokz, are Bluetooth devices. So, they can be used for sound therapy.

If you’re someone who has hearing in the normal range or just a very slight loss of hearing in the highest pitch tones, then using something like AirPods 3 or the Shokz could be very useful and provide sound therapy throughout the day.

Hearing Aids

If you’re someone who has hearing loss, we would recommend using hearing aids for your tinnitus sound therapy. The amplification benefits of hearing aids are extremely valuable. Managing tinnitus can be tricky. There’s a limited number of resources or tools that you can use. At Treble Health, we specialize in trying to educate people on those tools. If you have hearing loss, it makes complete sense to use hearing aids during your retraining period, and potentially longer.

If you have hearing that’s in the normal range, you would still be a candidate to try hearing aids for tinnitus. It is something that we use quite often in the audiology profession. You only have one chance to start off on the right path to manage tinnitus. No matter where you are, three weeks, three months, or three years into tinnitus, there are ways to manage it and improve it over time. Please reach out to our team of audiologists at Treble Health if you’d like help with your tinnitus.

What To Do Next For Tinnitus

Still on the hunt for the best tinnitus sound therapy? Don’t feel lost. At Treble Health, we have compiled a comprehensive consumer guide to the best tinnitus devices on the market. Click here to get the Tinnitus Guide: 2022 Edition

Want to speak with an expert audiologist about your options for tinnitus treatment instead? At the tap of a finger, you can schedule a free Treble Health Tinnitus Consultation today! You’ll be connected with a real audiologist, not a salesperson, and there is no obligation or commitment.

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