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Music becomes increasingly important for golfers when they practice and play. Many players choose headphones that completely block out external noise, but in this review I tested an interesting alternative, Aftershokz
. Their headphones use a method called bone conduction, which allows users to listen to their music without covering their ears, so they can hear what is happening around them. If the concept sounds strange, I thought it was too long before I tried it out.
Although I would not recommend Aftershokz to every golfer, I will try to emphasize for whom I think they can benefit. Their motto summarizes their main advantage: "listen to your music and the world around you." All in all, I found them a very interesting concept that could fit well with golf and other sport-related activities.
What is bone guidance?
To understand what makes Aftershokz different, you should know something about bone conduction. Essentially, the headset bypasses your eardrum by sending vibrations through your bones and skin. It sounds a bit strange, but it works pretty well. As you can see in the picture, nothing covers your ear.
The technology is beneficial for people with hearing loss. Beethoven, who was completely deaf, discovered bone guidance himself in the 18th century by attaching a rod to his piano and clamping it with his teeth shut so that the sounds would pass from the piano through his jaw. But enough with bone guidance trivia …
Because the sound quality of leg guidance has improved, companies such as Aftershokz have focused on people who want to listen to music while they are active. The main advantage is that you can still hear music without missing out on what's going on around you because headphones don't cover your ears. You probably wonder why you would want to do that, and I did myself before I tried them, but it does have useful applications with various activities, including golf.
Like many of you, when I listen to music, I generally want the world to drown out. I have owned Bose Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones for almost four years
and they are easily one of my favorite products I have ever bought. Writing articles while babies screamed in the background was a problem they solved very well. However, they are so good at it that they do not make me aware of what is happening around me; There are certain situations in which I would never wear them, for example on a golf course or when I walked or ran on the street.
I have been using Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones
for almost a month on and next to the golf course. I will try to summarize what I like and dislike about them for you from the perspective of a golfer (and beyond).
When I first tried them, it was a little strange to be able to hear music without my ears being covered, but they work as advertised. I would describe the sound quality as pretty good, but not great. If you are used to listening to music through higher quality headphones, you will be a bit disappointed at first, especially if you are an audiophile. If I had to judge the sound quality, it would be somewhere around a B to B +. From what I understand, the quality has increased dramatically compared to earlier models.
If you keep the volume somewhere at a low to medium range, you can hear what is happening around you fairly well. I would not recommend talking to people around you because you are distracted, but if someone tries to get your attention or if a car arrives, you can easily hear it. However, if you have raised the volume to the highest level, you may not hear everything around you.
How Aftershokz could work for golf
Music is becoming increasingly popular for golfers. An increasing number of golfers want to listen to their favorite songs as they practice or play.
I recently conducted a poll on Twitter and almost half of the respondents said they listened to music.
Do you listen to music?
– Jon Sherman (@ practicalgolf) June 4, 2019
I think Aftershokz can work well in a golf application for certain people. First, the headphones are very light and comfortable. Once I got used to them on my head, I found them very easy to swing a bat with because they stay firmly in place. If you are a runner, a cyclist or do any other activity while listening to music, these are well designed to stay on your head and deal with sweat (they are IP55 certified, which means water resistant).
In the past I did not use my noise-canceling headphones during the practice sessions because I want my club to make contact with the ball. People's opinions on this may differ. I know that many golfers with headphones want to go to a universe without distractions. If that is the case, I would not recommend this product.
However, if you want to let music play, but still be able to record your surroundings around you, they work well. I found them particularly useful in working with my beats at the swing pace, and it could be my most important recommendation on how you can practice effectively with the Aftershokz.
When I was on course early one morning, I listened to music while I played. I found it very pleasant. I could still hear the birds singing and everything else that was happening around me. If you are someone who wants to listen to music while playing, they can work well for a few reasons. For security reasons you can still hear what is happening around you (for the future!) And you can still communicate with playing partners. I'm not sure if I would wear them while playing with other people, but that's a personal choice.
Not for everyone, but I like them
Aftershokz and bone conduction technology is not a product for everyone. Many people want to listen to their music and hear nothing around them – don't buy them if that's what you want. And if you want the highest quality audio, you'll probably be a little disappointed.
However, let's say that you often run or cycle with cars around you. They are a much safer way to listen to music while being aware of your environment. In addition, I usually make phone calls on my Bose headphones, but because they cancel all the noise around me, I only keep one ear on so that I can hear my voice. The Aftershokz was much better with telephone conversations because I could listen to myself. The microphone works well, and the person on the other hand told me that they could hear my voice very clearly.
If you want headphones that you can wear comfortably while swinging a golf club, they will also serve that purpose. I enjoyed hearing music, but not completely drowning out the sound of the club that made contact with the ball, or even someone who said hello. Moreover, if you want to disable them, I think they serve that application.
All Aftershokz wireless headphones are less than $ 150, making them comparable to many other wireless fitness headphones. You can buy the Aftershokz Trekz Air here