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Best kind of headphones while driving
I'm about to start commuting on my bike looking for suggestions or advice on what type of headphones to use to listen to music while riding?
I am aware of the dangers of listening to music while driving and plan to only have one earbud at a time (so think in ear / over-ear headphones).
I would imagine headphones that only "fit" into the ear (example) fall out straight away. Those that go deeper into the ear (example) would not fall out but also reduce the external sound (bad?).
With this in mind, I believe that the best choices for cycling are those who go over the ear (example)
Am I right about that? Is there anything else I should consider when choosing a pair?
NB All links are from Play.Com (UK) and are just the first examples of everyone I have found.
I'm not sure there is a best guy for cycling, but the latter two examples have their pros and cons, and I think you got them pretty close.
The last type you posted gives you a good fit but without the noise isolation of the in-ear type (2nd example) which is not suitable for listening to music due to the wind noise but is preferable for safety reasons. So if you are driving on public roads and safety is your main concern, choose the earphone style with the ear clip (last example). If you're more interested in blocking out wind noise and listening to your music, the in-ear (second example) is the way to go.
Technology has advanced since this question was asked.
Here is a bone conduction earbud that injects the vibration around the ears rather than around the ears.
The price is going down, but they're still a lot more expensive than most headphones. However, no moving speaker makes them more water-resistant and therefore harder.
I've always used a radio while driving and never considered it a safety issue because I don't turn the volume up high enough for anyone next to me to hear it. I value my hearing very much! I use the Phillips or Sony over-the-ear speakers. I've been wearing these for years and have never had a conflict with traffic because I keep the volume down. I can hear the radio and every vehicle from behind. I keep checking my mirrors anyway. They don't distract me and I consider them just like a radio in any vehicle. I can hear vehicles approaching from behind from several hundred meters away, even if I didn't see them in my mirrors at the time because of a hill or curve. I consider the volume of the radio / speakers to be less distracting than that of the radio in my vehicle. This is mainly because in a vehicle the radio can be switched on and a passenger is still trying to speak as well. You are usually one with yourself on a bike. These earphone speakers are way better than when we had to attach a transistor radio to our bike handlebars with the speaker in the radio!
Another thing to consider is mounting a portable speaker on the bike or in a backpack. Maybe a bit bulky, but it does mean your ears can compensate for this like they would with a normal setting. A good friend of mine uses a case speaker with a phone / iPod inside and has attached it to the handlebars and stem with bungy cables. Not a particularly elegant solution aesthetically, but it works well and is great if you are on a budget!
jilles de wit
I think you understood pretty well the main issues related to fit and listening to the surroundings. Real in-ears are dangerous if you keep the volume too high.
One topic that I missed you in your discussion is sweat resistance. I don't know how long you commute, but depending on the length and the amount of work, I do find my headphones get wet at some point, and I've found headphones not to work as well, even most of those advertised as "sports" headphones become.
My experiences so far:
- Sennheiser sports headphones (I've tried these) fail after about 6 months and they refuse to replace them because "abuse" internals were completely corroded. The remote control on the cable gave even faster.
- Philips (I've tried different versions of this version) fails after around 9 months to a year, the remote control fails a little earlier and after around 6 months there is a drop in volume. Philips has been very generous in sending me replacements (I'm on the third one now) but of course this is not ideal.
- I'm trying this for a change at Polk Audio's time (over the ear instead of over the ear). I find that this leads to both more wind noise and better contact with my surroundings. Really a mixed bag. It's too early to tell how it's holding up my sweat.
jilles de wit
jilles de wit
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