Bone Conduction Myth-Breaking with ORII
Jun 18, 2019

Ah yes, bone conduction. This is one of our most frequently asked questions--and for good reason! Bone conduction, the technology behind ORII, has been used in medical devices such as an assistive listening tool for decades, but misconceptions still exist on how it works. Today, we’ll break down those myths and hopefully answer your questions!

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about the basics.

What is bone conduction?

Bone conduction is a natural way of hearing, where vibrations travel through the physical solids like bones directly into the cochlea, bypassing the eardrums. For ORII, we place the technology on a ring so that the vibrations can quickly travel through the short distance, from your finger into your ear.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, what is the benefit of using bone conduction?

First off, bone conduction on ORII allows you to hear sounds with more clarity in loud environments.

Compared to regular acoustic sound when vibrations fill the air, and sound is delivered to the eardrums, bone conduction through ORII bypasses the eardrums and carries the sound directly to your inner ear while blocking the outside sound.

Think about how difficult it is to hear your friend talking while you are in a loud concert or a club, even when they are shouting. Next time you are in this situation, try putting a finger on their ear and speak right next to it. You’ll find that your finger will actually amplify your voice, making it easier to hear. Pretty cool, right?

But here’s the thing. There’s an assumption that bone conduction works like magic - that it is pure electricity and the sound is silent other than to the listener.

In reality, there are always losses of energy during the vibration travel process which is why for some bone conduction devices, you could hear the sound coming out of it even without having the direct touch to the ear. We’ve minimized this by 1) placing it in a ring form, reducing the distance for vibrations to travel and 2) using a smaller actuator at lower power to minimize sound leakage. 

To help you see how ORII audio really is, I will be doing an experiment on your behalf to test out the sound level coming from ORII. This is our first time doing a head to head comparison of ORII with other audio devices in the market.

Here's what we did

  1. Place each device on the table, 50 cm away from the decibel meter
  2. Play music on maximum volume (100%)
  3. Measure the average decibels over 20 seconds
  4. Repeat the steps 1-3 for each and all devices
  5. Repeat the whole process for the second round when the device is worn in-ear and/or finger

The Findings

Based on the result above, we can see that on the table, ORII’s audio sound detected at the 50cm range is comparable with earphones that are in-ears (all within low 50 dB range). Compared to another bone conduction device (Device 2), ORII’s sound is significantly lower even at its highest volume.

When worn on the finger, ORII outperforms its competitor devices at 39 dB, maintaining its discreetness as it has a relatively lower sound detected from half a meter away and is at a much lower sound level compared to on the table, as expected.

Note that for the sake of accuracy, we conducted the test in a quiet, indoor environment where the ambient noise is around 40 dB and the noise level is controlled. This is the closest we can get to accurately measure sound as we do not have a semi-anechoic chamber on site for perfect audio testing. In reality, the noise heard from the ring should be almost inaudible given surrounding noise.

As promised, we’ll continue to take into your feedback and improve ORII’s performance. We want to let you know that we’ve just released a Firmware V68 with brand-new Dynamic Audio!

What does this mean exactly? Just like how your phone screen brightness adjusts to the light, ORII’s volume will now automatically adjust to your surrounding noise - whether you are in a quiet indoor room or around bustling city noise. Make sure to update your ORII Firmware (v68) on the ORII app to enjoy this new feature!

Want to learn more about how ORII works? Check out our Technology page here.

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