There are some solutions available today that do not require your ears to be plugged to enjoy audio, such as bone conduction devices. I've spent a couple of weeks with the new Zulu Audio wearable speakers and found them to be very effective while also providing excellent sound quality.
I prefer listening to music to motivate me, distract me from the pain, and keep me occupied on long runs. I also ride for many miles on trails, but don't ever wear earbuds while cycling because drivers and pedestrians are too dangerous while riding at high speeds. I also do not like to wear earbuds while running in the dark winter months so I can keep aware of animals and others who might cause problems while I'm running.
These are not the type of audio device you use on a commute with people around you, but they are great for running, biking, gardening, hiking, or doing other work where you want good quality audio and your hands free. You can purchase the Zulu Audio speakers in black or white for $99.99.
The retail package arrived with the speakers connected by a coated cable, three magnets (one extra is included), a carrying case, and a short microUSB cable. The two small speakers are 1.83 inches in diameter with a 0.75 inch thickness and weight of about 75 grams.
When I was first asked if I was interested in these speakers, I hesitated since I figured they would bounc all over the place while running. However, they did look like a great solution for cycling so I decided to give them a try.
There is a power button on one side of the speaker with the volume buttons and microUSB charging port on the other side of the same speaker. The other speaker has no buttons or ports. Attachment is easy with soft touch round magnets that fit under your clothing and hold the speakers very securely in place.
Product specifications of the speakers include:
The speakers stayed put and never slid around my shirt while running, even when in the wind and rain. I was pleasantly surprised that the speakers did not bounce around or anything. I was also worried the speaker magnets would rub on my chest, but again they were perfectly comfortable. Bike riding was no problem as there is not much upper body movement while cycling.
The audio quality was very impressive with true stereo sound, loud volume, and good levels of bass and treble. I paired the speakers with a Note 9 and a Garmin Fenix 5 Plus. I've had some Bluetooth limitations with the Fenix 5 Plus and earbuds, but the Zulu Audio speakers worked flawlessly while the Fenix 5 Plus was mounted on either wrist.
I did not intend to fully test the water resistant rating out, but a passing rain storm hit me on a recent run. The rain was coming down hard, but the speakers kept playing flawlessly and never skipped a beat. The IPx4 rating means splash resistant and they proved themselves on this run.
The power button is raised so you can easily find it and use it to play/pause music or toggle the speakers on and off.
You can skip ahead by pressing and holding the volume up button, go back a song by pressing and holding the volume down button, and play/pause by pressing the power button. You can also hold phone calls through the speakers and microphone. My family members said calls sounded great.
There is also a strap connected between he cables so you can cinch things up around your neck and secure the speakers in place.