If you’re teaching and attending committee meetings remotely, you’re spending some serious quality time with your headphones. I had never found earbuds that didn’t irritate my ears after an hour or so. Over-the-ear headphones make my ears hot, and the pressure on my head bugs me. A year ago, I bought bone conduction headphones, and I am thrilled with them.
Bone conduction headphones sit in front of your ears and transmit sound, not through your ear canal, but through the bones of your skull. Here’s a blog post I wrote in a different forum on how bone conduction headphones work. They take a little bit to get used to. The best way to describe the sensation is “weird.” I predict you’ll adapt quickly, though.
Because they sit outside your ear canal, you can still hear ambient sound. Of course, given how attention works, you can only pay attention to one sound: the sound from your headphones or the ambient sound. If someone is talking to me, I have to take off my headphones to pay attention to what they are saying. When I put in earplugs, however, I can’t hear anything but the sound from the headphones. I find that the bone conduction headphones/earplug combination works better at blocking out external sound than noise-canceling headphones do.
If your current headphones aren’t working for you, give bone conduction a try. You can get them wired or Bluetooth wireless. This April 23, 2020 MakeUseOf.com article identifies “The 5 Best Bone Conduction Headphones.” For what it’s worth, I have the AfterShokz Trekz Air headphones (and as far as you know, I look exactly like their model when I wear them).