Battle Royale (with Cheese): Oladance Wearable Stereo Vs. Shokz OpenRun Bone Conduction Headphones

Open your ears!

Joshua Beck

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A week ago, I dislocated my jaw. Again.

While this wasn’t exactly the most enjoyable experience I’ve had so far this year, it did cause me to pivot back into the world of open-ear headphones. Let me explain.

My dislocated jaw was a side effect of having TMJ disorder, which, among other things, also gives me some mild tinnitus, or ringing in my ears. I’ve dealt with that for a while now, and it is one of the things that continuously spur me on to look into new headphones and earbuds; I’m always looking for the best sound but also in a package that is comfortable for me to wear and doesn’t cause the volume to go up on that ringing.

I’ve tried many types of headphones over the last few years. I really like the total encompassing sound that I get from over-ear headphones like Beats Studio3 or AirPods Max, but pretty much any over-ear headphones that I’ve worn tend to put clamping pressure on my jaw — exactly in the place where it became dislocated; I noticed the pressure prior to this event, but now that I’m in recovery, I can’t even write about over-ear headphones without feeling some pressure in my temporomandibular joint.

Immediately prior to my accident, I’d been writing another Battle Royale story about different earbuds that I had tried over the last year and change. Basically, I had been looking for my next daily wear, a search that had started with Google’s Pixel Buds Pro and ended with a joint win for me between the AirPods Pro 2 and Soundcore’s Space A40 earbuds.

Earbuds don’t bother my TMJ nearly as much as over-ear or on-ear headphones, but I’ve still been finding them to be somewhat uncomfortable for longer listening periods during my recovery; though they don’t put pressure on the joint itself, they still put some small amount of pressure in…

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