Ask a Geek: Finding the right headphones

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Adam Darack is the IT administrator for the town of Edgartown. He writes regularly about the technological issues facing Island business owners. Got a question? Send it to onisland@mvtimes.com with the subject line “Dear Geek.”

 

Dear Geek,

I’m looking for a new pair of headphones/earbuds to use for running and general music listening. The problem is, I hate having anything in my ears, even the most “comfortable” earbuds annoy me, and no earbuds ever stay in. What should I do?

 

Yours truly,

Can You EAR Me Now?

 

Dear Ear,

I think we have the same quirky ears and impatience for things being put in them. My favorite headphones had been the yellow ones that came with my Sony Walkman (mentioned a few articles ago). They folded in half and could fit in a pocket when not in use, felt pretty good, but always left my ears sore. I have never, ever understood the earbud fascination. I think they actually look good, I just find them all to be very uncomfortable, and when I’m going on a run, they won’t stay in more than a block or two.

I recently tried, and bought, a product made by Aftershokz called Trekz Titanium. They are bone-conducting Bluetooth headphones that go over your ears and rest on your cheekbones, just in front of your ears. Bone conduction sounds like something Dr. Frankenstein would have invented, I know, but it’s pretty amazing. The music travels from the headphones through the cheekbones directly into the inner ear. This skips the path of normal headphones and earbuds, which travel through your eardrums. A huge advantage is that your ears are uncovered and you are still able to hear everything around you, a tremendous safety advantage. Too many people have been seriously injured or worse due to an inability to hear what’s going on around them on the streets.

Safety is the most important feature, but I rave about other things when talking about my Trekz. The first is what you and I will appreciate most: There’s nothing in my ears, and they are extremely comfortable. Dovetailing on the comfort comment, I have to mention that the Bluetooth connection eliminates the wire from my headphones to my phone. It always flopped around, and was an annoyance I had previously resigned myself to live with. An added bonus is that they just don’t move while running. No sliding around, no falling off my face, just comfort.

Wait — they are headphones with the main purpose of delivering music to the ear, so how do they sound? I’m happy to say they sound great, and I’m impressed. I thought the background noise would detract from the music, but somehow it doesn’t. Other functions of the headphones are buttons that pause music and skip tracks, and there is a built-in microphone that allows for phone conversations. These are all useful aspects of the headphones, and phone calls do sound clear both to me and the people I have spoken with.

I know I sound like a commercial for these, but they honestly fill a need I’ve had for a long time, and fill it well.

Thanks for writing in, and hope I’ve helped.

 

The Geek