Wearing glasses isn’t comfortable, though you get used to it, and many people find the same thing with bone conduction headphones. The tight fit and vibrations against your face can be a bit irritating until you get used to it and don’t notice it anymore. But what happens if you combine the two? Can you wear bone conduction headphones and glasses simultaneously?
You can wear your glasses and bone conduction headphones simultaneously, though it won’t necessarily be very comfortable. It depends on your head’s size and shape as well as your specific frames. You can experiment with different orders and techniques to find a way that’s comfortable for you.
Comfort is a very subjective thing. Some people hate the feeling of bone conduction headphones on their own. Similarly, some people hate wearing glasses so much that they’d rather use contact lenses, while others can’t stand the thought of putting contacts in their eyes. So let’s see how well bone conduction headphones work with glasses and what you can do to improve the experience.
Wearing Bone Conduction Headphones with Glasses
You can wear bone conduction headphones while you’re also wearing glasses. Bone conduction headphones pass around the back of your head and fold over your ears. Glasses go around the front of your face and then also fold over your ears.
The only challenge with simultaneously wearing glasses and bone conduction headphones is that both devices use over-ear support, and there’s only so much space available up there. This problem isn’t unique to bone conduction users; many types of headphones and even some earbud models have the same issues when sharing space with your glasses.
Many people wear their bone conduction headphones with prescription glasses or sunglasses without problems. Think of countless athletes who run entire marathons, spending hours in the sun wearing their sunglasses and AfterShokz with no apparent discomfort. Others complain that they just can’t manage to make it work.
So, what’s the difference? What factor determines if you will be able to wear them simultaneously?
What Determines If Bone Conduction Will Work With Glasses?
Several factors determine how comfortably you can wear bone conduction headphones with glasses. The main ones to look at, preferably before you buy your headphones, are:
- The shape and size of your head. Some of us have broader heads than others, or some parts of our skulls may be more prominent than the same parts in other people. A notable example is the cheekbones, where bone conduction headphones sit, which can be very noticeable.
The shape of your head also affects the amount of space between your ears and scalp. If your ears are smaller and closer to the side of your head, you may have more trouble fitting two devices over them. Wider ears further away from your scalp may lead to a more comfortable fit.
- The glasses’ frame width. Many prescription glasses have fine frames that don’t take up too much space, though they are usually padded around the ears for added comfort. On the other hand, sunglasses tend to have thicker frames for a sturdier fit since many people wear sunglasses during strenuous activities like running or sports.
Narrower and finer frames will work better with bone conduction headphones since they take up less space.
- The width of the bone conduction headphones. Like sunglasses, most of these have thick, padded frames over the ears for added comfort. That’s great, but it takes up more space around your ears, leaving less room for glasses.
- Your comfort levels. Some people have higher tolerance levels for discomfort than others. For certain people, just wearing glasses or bone conduction headphones on their own is unbearable, and they can’t stand the discomfort of wearing just one device, let alone both.
If you have a lower tolerance for discomfort, you will likely have trouble wearing bone conduction headphones and glasses simultaneously.
- How motivated you are to make it work. Humans are resilient, and we can often get used to something if we keep trying long enough. If you find yourself in a situation where you already have bone conduction headphones and don’t want to let them go to waste, but you also have to wear glasses, you will likely get used to it sooner than you think.
Improving Your Comfort Wearing Headphones And Glasses
You can do a few basic things to try and wear bone conduction headphones with your glasses more comfortably.
Opt For Thinner-Framed Glasses
If you don’t have your glasses or sunglasses yet, try to find ones with thin over-ear frames. You can even ask your optometrist for a recommendation for frames that suit your needs.
Manufacturers of spectacle frames must remember that some people who wear glasses must also wear over-ear devices like hearing aids. With this in mind, some frames provide extra space over the ears, and such a frame will help improve your comfort wearing bone conduction headphones.
Get Bone Conduction Headphones With Thinner Over-Ear Padding
Different brands and models of bone conduction headphones have different designs, and part of that is the over-ear padding. If you can shop around to find a model with less padding and thinner frames running over your ears, you might be able to make it work more efficiently. Just note that less padding could also mean less comfort.
Try Different Orientations To See Which Should Go First
You can wear bone conductor headphones and glasses together in two orientations: headphones first or glasses first. Most people prefer one way over the other, but which one that is will come down to personal preference.
Putting on your glasses first, then your headphones over them, could cause the headphones to not make as close contact with your cheekbones as they usually would, leading to lower sound volume and quality. It doesn’t always happen, but you should remember that it’s a possibility.
On the other hand, putting on your headphones first and then your glasses could cause the glasses to press the headphones too tightly against your scalp. Though it should improve the sound, it could lead to discomfort and skin irritation.
Both options have pros and cons, but you should try each and see which works best for you.
Get Two-In-One Bone Conduction Glasses
If you’re mainly concerned about sunglasses rather than prescription glasses and haven’t bought your sunglasses or bone conduction headphones yet, there’s another option: get one device that’s both.
Many manufacturers of bone conduction headphones and sunglasses have begun to partner together to create bone conduction glasses. These are sunglasses with built-in bone conduction headphones, so only one device fits over your ears, ensuring optimal comfort.
A notable example is AfterShokz’s OptiShokz, made by one of the leaders in the field of bone conduction technology. These stylish sunglasses have headphones discreetly hidden behind your ears where they can make contact with your mastoid bones.
Many brands and models are available, and they could be the perfect solution to the problem of wearing glasses and bone conduction headphones simultaneously.
Bone conduction headphones can work well with glasses, but comfort is a significant problem. If the manufacturers of the headphones and glasses both considered the possibility that people might wear them together, it shouldn’t be a problem. But even if not, you can try different orientations to see what works and then give it time. It probably won’t take long to get used to the sensation.