Many users find it uncomfortable to wear button-type earphones: they hurt their ears or cannot stand the empty feeling produced by models with cushions. If this is your case, you should know that there are alternatives so you can listen to music personally without bothering anyone while you’re walking down the street, working, or traveling on public transportation.

These are models like the Ultra Open Earbuds, just presented by the audio company Bose, which have what is already known as an open design: they take the earphones outside the ear canal by placing them like a bracelet around the ear. Without going too far, as if they were earrings. This has an additional benefit, and that is that while you use them, you are always aware of what is happening around you, you can hold conversations… There is no need to worry about adjusting the volume based on noises because the earphones automatically adjust it.

Only You Can Hear Them

The reality is that this type of earphones are still not widely available in the market, and most of the ones that exist are models from unknown brands with questionable quality and warranty, sold in popular stores for much lower prices. However, they are extremely comfortable, to the point of completely forgetting you’re wearing them. In the case of Bose, moreover, the audio quality is spectacular; it would only improve how callers perceive voice during calls, as it can sound slightly canned. Additionally, despite what may seem at first glance, the sound of music, calls, or podcasts is directed straight to the ears, and people around you don’t hear a thing; even if they’re just centimeters away.

To achieve this, they use a technology very similar to that of their connected glasses, the Bose Frames; a now discontinued product that came in both regular and sunglasses versions, directing sound to the ears from the temples. Nowadays, there are other alternatives to this type of wearables, with the main one being Meta and Ray-Ban’s Smart Glasses, which, as a differential feature, include a 12-megapixel camera and 5 microphones to capture photos, record videos, and even livestream on Facebook and Instagram.

Returning to open design earphones, the other example I would highlight is the Huawei FreeClip, with a very peculiar characteristic: they don’t distinguish between left or right ear, so they are totally interchangeable. Once placed, the system detects which earphone is on each side and adjusts the sound accordingly.

Via the Cheekbone

Another alternative: earphones that use bone conduction technology to deliver sound to our ears. Or not exactly. Because, in this case, they are placed on the cheekbones instead of in the ears and generate small vibrations that propagate through the skull without passing through the eardrums. At first, the sensation of using earphones with this technology, like those proposed by Shokz or Suunto, is strange, precisely because you’re aware that the sound isn’t entering through the ears, and although the audio quality is normally inferior to open design systems, they are quite comfortable for sports practice; their main application, as most models are sweat, dust, and water-resistant, and their behind-the-head band design makes them quite stable with sudden movements.