Safe and sound

Safe and sound

As more people adopt active lifestyles, safety becomes increasingly important, especially when they are plugged into music. Infographics journalist FADZIL HAMZAH ( shows us how to tune in safely while on the move

Despite becoming deaf in the latter part of his life, Beethoven was able to compose great works of music.

Ludwig van Beethoven bit a rod attached to his piano to listen to his own compositions.


This technology is not exactly new, but its application is constantly evolving. Conventionally, with over-the-ear listening devices, sound waves reach the eardrums directly. With bone conduction, sound travels to the temporal bone (or cheek bones in some cases), bypassing the ear drums and greatly reducing the risk of damaging them with long-term direct exposure to loud sounds. This is how we hear our own voices and how whales hear as well.


Bone conduction has seen military, police, medical and industrial applications. In the military, for example, operatives in the field can communicate clearly with their command centres and remain alert in dangerous surroundings at the same time. People with hearing disabilities have been using hearing aids that utilise bone-conduction technology for years.


Expecting bone-conduction headphones to match the sound delivered by their ear-covering, noise-cancelling counterparts would be too much. While this technology is still being perfected, its selling point to the active masses is safety. These devices, wireless or otherwise, are available for both sports and casual users.


This article was first published on Mar 10, 2015.
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