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Bonephones are a set of earphones and other tools that conduct sound using bones in the skull. These new types of communications equipment work through the principle of physical conduction, rather than traditional headphones that simply stream audio directly into the ear.
Bonephones may seem relatively new, but some models date back to the 2000s. There’s a rich record of various innovators, including major classical musicians, creating their own primitive bone noise conductors in past centuries.
Bonephones bypass the eardrum and deliver sound directly to the inner ear. Some experts consider this to be a safer way to deliver sound, though some users complain that the result doesn’t quite sound the same. In terms of their design, bonephones are in some ways a first step toward technologies such as cochlear implants that provide alternatives to simply inputting audio through the outer ear.