Bone Conduction Headset

-----------------------First, some background-------------------------

I really hate bluetooth headsets. I hate having things inside of or directly on my ears. Because of that fact, I either use ear-cuff headsets or bone conduction headphones.

Bone conduction headphones are really nice in theory; being able to listen to music or talk on the phone privately without blocking your hearing. However, they require too much power and usually anyone within a couple feet can hear what you're listening to.

So what I'm interested in making/having done is a bluetooth bone conduction implant.

I know this subject has been touched on before in the form of several different implant discussions. I've followed those with a lot of interest but I'm just not confident enough in existing batteries to explore implants like that yet. What I'm interested in would be a more consumer level of the Cochlear Baha 4 Attract system:

What makes this system so interesting is that they essentially screw a medical grade washer shaped magnet to your skull and then the actual bluetooth unit is external and connects through it's own magnet.

-------------------------------My Questions---------------------------

The parts lists and even surgery guide for the Baha system is all available right on google. What I want to know is, where/how could I buy just the magnetic implant? I have tried calling local hearing aid specialists and even tried to contact Cochlear themselves to no avail. (I was at least hoping to get some details on how they made them bio-inert)

If I couldn't find a willing doctor, would screwing it into place be doable by an average person? (Assuming all of the correct equipment is used of course). I believe pain shouldn't be much of an issue other than the incision to get to the skull.

Are there any other places selling similar bio-magnets, or at least wider diameter disc ones?

Would the magnet have to be secured directly to the skull to work? Obviously it would allow the most direct energy transference, but what I'm worried about the most is the wait of the headset pulling the magnet down and away from my skull.

I'm basically at a dead end with my own research so I'm asking for anyone elses advice, thank you!


  • You might consider a tragus implant instead. I know several people on the forum were experimenting with them a while back. It's much less surgery, though I'm not sure how sound quality compares.

  • That involves wearing an electro-magnetic necklace though doesn't it? I think having the magnet implant behind the ear makes more sense for my needs because I can just reverse engineer a small bluetooth headset to stick to it
  • That is something else to think about though, thank you
  • I've heard mixed results from tragus implants as well. I wanted to experiment with bone conduction hearing aids on my own so I had a magnet installed behind my right ear.
    Recently, my job changed me to 100% travel so I'm 1700 miles (2700 kilometers) from my workshop and that makes it tough to work on this project.
    It has been installed for five months now and it still feels tight against the bone. I've tried to stimulate it with a field but I haven't had great results. Obviously, the Cochlear brand implant has enough juice to vibrate an implant but they also use a bone-mounted magnet with a larger surface area than mine. If I make any headway, I'll be sure to update everyone.

  • @McSTUFF

    That's exactly what I was thinking of doing. I thought it would be as simple as modifying a regular bluetooth headset or earphones to work with it.

    So you literally had it placed against your skull?
  • @DarkReformer, a regular Bluetooth headset won't be ready to handle the kind of power necessary to vibrate a magnet through the skin. It will take some kind of amplifier. As @Benbeezy has mentioned, a transformer may also be useful for generating a useful field.

    I don't have enough anatomical knowledge to know if there's anything else between the bone and the magnet coating but there's nowhere else for it to go and if there is anything, it should be nothing more than a membrane. When you touch the skin over the bone behind the ear, it's pretty thin and tight against the skull. I would also like to note that the installation went really well and healing went pretty well but it was impossible to keep it perfectly dry while washing my hair daily.

  • Nice, thank's for the help :)
  • Nice McStuff! I'm always impressed by your blog and need to check it more. I've done them being the ear as well.
    I really like the BAHA. Especially that it's so inexpensive a procedure. I think it really was someone who wanted to help people.. not make money or else it would be more. Anyhow, the magnet has a pretty sizable diameter.. but look how small the anchors are. In fact, they have a tool to check and make sure that the overlying magnet doesn't touch the skull.. just the anchor system.
    Have you ever seen a contact mic? It's funny. I think rich left one at my lab actually. It's kind of like the inverse. Big vibrating plate going to a tiny screw.

    An alternative idea.. and engineering isn't something I know a whole lot about but.. what about a magnet loose in an enclosure which was tight to the skull? I've made a tube version of this and it worked better than the normal plain tragus magnets.
  • @Cassox, I'm glad you know a lot about it. I had no idea it was actually a cheap procedure; is it elective at all or do you need a referral? I also didn't know that the magnet doesn't actually touch the skull but only the anchor part, I would have assumed the more direct contact the better. I need to check out the contact mic, no idea what that is.
  • @Cassox, for the foreseeable future, my blog won't have as much tech stuff. My company sent me 1,700 miles to Reno, NV away at 100% travel. There will be some eletronic and electric business cards soon but biohacking isn't that easy in Nevada since implants aren't allowed in the piercing parlours. Sad fact.
    Contact mics come in different styles, no? You can just adhere a piezo element to the surface of something and it'll pick up sound. I'm sure there are higher quality versions.
    I'd be curious to measure the sound output of a magnet inside a container versus a coated magnet. I worry that the contained magnet could be prone to 'clanging' against the container and you would hear that more than the intended sound. Definitely worth an experiment.

  • I have trialed BAHA systems (single sided sensonueral deafness). If you wanted to experiment a bit more they have test headsets that you wear with a headband. I got pretty good results and I can only imagine the increase in conduction with an actual magnet or stud mount. For these purposes I would suggest having a magnet implanted rather than a stud as the the titanium stud actually exits through the skin. When speaking to an audiologist they stated that while technically the stud has better performance the difference was fairly negligible (at least for my purposes).

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