Wearing headphones while cycling is contentious issue that divides road users. Damson claims to have produced a safe solution for those wanting to listen to music whilst riding in traffic.

With many road users suggesting that wearing headphones while riding a bike should be outlawed, the suggestion of listening to music while riding is a controversial one. While at the recent Wearable Technology show in London we came across some new headphones from Damson, which may make riding whilst listening to music safer.

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Designed in Yorkshire, but made in China, the Damson head bones transmit micro vibrations through your cheek bones.

The concern is that when wearing in-ear headphones, you are severely diminishing your sense of hearing, subsequently endangering yourself and others through not being able to hear vehicles or other hazards. Damson headphones, or ‘Headbones’ to give them their proper name work in an ingenious way to solve this problem.

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The rear module houses the battery, Bluetooth connectivity, jacks and USB port.

Rather than using speakers, the sound is transmitted through your cheekbones. They send micro vibrations to the inner ear, which are heard as sound. This means you can still hear surrounding noise, as your ears are not blocked. Furthermore they are sociable, as the sound is only audible to the wearer, potentially meaning an end to louts with irritatingly loud headphones on public transport.

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The head bones are comfortable to wear and can be worn under a helmet. The button on the side is for accepting and cancelling calls.

The Headbones can also take phone calls, working as a handsfree kit, feature 6-20 hours of battery life, feature a line in and line out, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. We will be doing a full review of the product, but our initial impression is good. The sound is impressive with a deep bass response, although there is a slight tingling sensation when using them. Damson told us that you do not notice the tingling after a few uses.

We previously reported on a BBC poll that found 90% of people would want a ban on riding with headphones, while one in six admitted to doing it. What ever your stance, if this could make cycling while listening to music safer, it can only be a good thing. So what do you think? Would you wear these while riding? Let us know in the comments below.

For more information, head over to Damson.

  • Guest

    senses dulled, that’s dancing with the devil.

  • Volodia

    Thanks for the link. Alas, a bit too expensive for me

  • ras

    No one is saying that at all. And fault is irrelevant. If you want to stay alive, the more useful input you have from your surroundings the better.

  • Damson

    @Mark Jones It is illegal in most Western countries to wear any headphones that block your hearing. Even one ear, although that’s often overlooked.

  • Stephen Goat

    I would not dream of listening to buds whilst cycling. I just think you’re asking for trouble. To me these are the answer. I saw some early reviews of the Headbones last year and pre-ordered them on a whim and I’ve got to say I am impressed. They are way better than I anticipated. I thought they might be like the After Shocks which I have tried before – pretty lame with too much sound leakage rather than actual bone conduction. Hats off to the guys at Damson as these ARE bone conduction. To add the build quality, the fact they fold away and have a protective case is great. Sold it to me. One happy customer who safely cycles to work!

  • Steph Selling T

    I got mine on the Kickstarter campaign that Damson did. I already had a pair of the aftershokz for cycling to work and I’ve got to say the Headbones are way better than the aftershokz. Sound quality alone blew me away in comparison.

  • fixed

    I used to use”sports”in ear headphones but got a pair of aftershokz for the safety aspect. Probably the best thing I have done,r they perfect no, but for the price& the fact I can listen to some music to keep cadence, tempo & commuting boredom at bay& hear what’s going on around me they are much better

  • troublebaker

    Clearly there is only one way to wear them other than very slight comfort adjustments, though I am not going to split hairs in a cycling forum.

    As I stated in my comment before Mike, yes I am well aware they are not new, nor is the technology – I originally was introduced to this well over 3 years ago. Like most things, it’s a personal preference. “Safer” cannot be proven with the use of these, in-ear, noise cancelling, those that rest in the ear, yet allow sound in et’al, we all know those that trip over their own shadow much less multitask with music and riding a bike.

    With a racing background I am use to having ‘noise’ in my ears (crew etc) while out on the circuit. Do I listen to music while cycling, sure do – once in traffic it’s easier to pop out the ear-bud on the traffic side of things, otherwise all senses kick in and you look around more, turn down the music a little or?.

    On the flip side I have friends that will never wear them because of close calls in traffic, dogs from behind, mountain lions while on back trails and so on (the ones that get a few songs in their head and hum along for 200+ mile rides). Personally I would go nuts w/o music, podcasts, audiobooks etc with anything over about 20 miles.

    Again, preference – though I think as mentioned in the article, or sub article “outlawing” or “banning” is over-kill. Too many people want to ‘save the children’ or have the ‘government protect’ them and make decisions for them – lazy to say the least.

    And to just be an @ss, yes getting a song stuck in your head will ALWAYS be safer than wearing any headphones. C’mon, common sense – think about it!!

    **one point you did make that was worthwhile was that Headbones over Aftershokz have less leak and do sound better in your opinion – I may have to try them ‘just because’ – it’s only money – gotta do something with it 😀

  • NitroFan

    You are falling into the trap of thinking drivers actually pay attention, we do it to stay alive its an entirely different incentive!

  • Aidan Green

    You Clearly arent wearing them correctly. I have a pair and the sound is very different than the aftershokz. The aftershokz use less bone conduction so it creates a more tinny sound due to your ear picking up the leakage from the driver.

    The Headbones uses more bone so is a truer sound and less sound leakage.

    Bone conducting technology isnt new as Mike states below but is a much safer option to using your buds or “getting a song stuck in your head”!!

  • Aidan Green

    You can buy them at Probikekit now

  • troublebaker

    Interesting & good to hear someone has had luck with the Aftershokz! Maybe I am used-to / was expecting higher quality audio, if even from a small earbud / headset speaker (no matter the tech) – interested in buying yourself another pair really cheap? 🙂

  • Mike Prytherch

    I’ve been using aftershokz for ages so this isn’t new, they are brilliant, you can hear everything and are perfectly safe, much safer than using a radio in a car as you can hear much more of whats going on around you, they are not though silent for the people around you, in fact I would say they leak sound more than in-ear.

  • troublebaker

    These are actually not ‘new’, I have a pair and they are the most uncomfortable things to wear as well as listen to no matter the activity. These look like a knockoff to the originals made by ‘After Shokz’ (Bluez 2 model). Not to mention if you have this type of headphone turned up loud enough to get decent sound, the vibrations in the jawbone have proven to be overly annoying for some and the music quality declines as well.

    You’d be better off getting a song stuck in your head before you left for your ride and hum that for a few hours while enjoying all the ‘music’ around you!

  • Craig Howells

    So if a car pulls out in front of me, turns into me or just opens the car door on me while I’m listening to music through my head phones then it’s my fault that I couldn’t hear them. Before making any manuvor I always look behind and if it’s not safe I stop I don’t listen and then move

  • Sam Birkinshaw

    why would you want to listen to music on the open road in the first place? be aware of your surroundings, take in the view, the fresh air and the natural/industrial sounds. that’s enough to listen to!!!

  • Volodia

    I’d be very glad if I could by them asap

  • Mark Jones

    If that’s the case, then shouldn’t they also be outlawed when driving