Tag Archives: Aftershokz

How for me, bone conduction headphones by Aftershokz is one of those technologies that is not just nice to have but a huge game changer for blind people

Posted on July 17 2018
Shortly after Christmas when i. Was 5, my sister Andrea introduced me to headphones with one of those single ear plugs from the 1970s, and showed me how I could plug it into my radio and listen to it. After a few minutes of private listening I couldn’t understand at all why she or anyone else around me couldn’t hear it. That just blew my 5-year-old mind, and it hasn’t been the same since.

As I got older, headphones became more a part of my workflow. I knew there are good speakers out there, I’m just a headphone guy at ear. Part of this came from. Using screen readers on first computers and later phones, besides using headphones for privacy, I’m sure people around me appreciate not being annoyed by it. I even used headphones on the bus, at work, and even when I took classes in college. There was still one area where headphones couldn’t help me though, when traveling alone using the white cane. I began to use GPS apps on my phone, but all the headphones I knew of still blocked some of the sounds from my environment, thus I didn’t feel safe using them when walking, and when traffic was loud I couldn’t hear the GPS info on the phone. Then I learned about bone conduction.

My friend Hai Nguyen Ly told me about Aftershokz and their line of bone conducting headphones, and how they rested on the face using transducers to convey sound through the cheek bone thus leaving the ear completely uncovered and blocking none of a person’s natural hearing. I couldn’t afford them then, so Hai sent me an old pair he was no longer using. Like Andrea introducing me to headphones so long ago, Hai improved my life again.

The first time I used the Aftershokz psychologically I wasn’t quite sure that it really wasn’t blocking my hearing, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that they really weren’t. I could hear traffic just fine, and the GPS info from my phone was always hearable even in the loudest truck or bus roared by. Now 5 years later after buying 2 more pair of Aftershokz headphones, I still use them pretty much every day. I wear them all the time when I’m in public, they work great at meetings and conferences. Even when I’m not needing to hear traffic when cane traveling, they still let me have the ability to use my phone without interrupting anyone around me but still be able to hear what they’re saying. Yes, trying to understand both audio streams might not work as well as I’d like, but sighted people get distracted too.

Some of you reading this might be wondering, ok but why does this matter? In my last post I talked about how for most of us most of the time technology is a nice convenience, but for those with disabilities, technology can be a huge life changer; this is definitely one of them.
Especially for blind users of screen readers. Bone conduction headphones allow them to get the info they need in real time while still having full access to their environment through their primary sense. Bone conduction technology may have been initially invented for the military, but now thankfully it is now also being used to help humans also be more human.

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Instructions on how to get your Aftershokz Trex headset to work with Bluetooth Multipoint

Posted on November 9, 2017

About a year ago, I wrote how useful the Apple watch was for me, but one problem still was unless I used my mess of cables hack I couldn’t get VoiceOver from both my iPhone and watch simultaneously.
The Aftershokz headphone company released their Trekz-Titanium model in early 2016 and many people in the blind community were excited because they claimed the titaniums had Bluetooth Multipoint. They did, but after 1-2 hours of trying to get it working I gave up in frustration.

Then the Apple AirPods came out and I was hoping they could do the trick, but no, the user has to switch between devices; they won’t do it automatically.
Then my friend Hai Nguyen Ly who introduced me to bone conduction headphones 4+ years ago said in passing last month, that he’d gotten them working in Multipoint with both his iPhone and Apple watch, so I decided to reexamine the challenge, and this time was successful within about 30 minutes.

Here are the steps to do it, this works for both the Aftershokz Trex Titanium, and Trekz-air models; hopefully they make sense.

1. first you have to reset the headset, Turn off the headset before beginning to reset it.

2. Enter pairing mode by turning on the headset and holding the volume up button for 5-7 seconds.
You will hear the Audrey Says™ voice say “Welcome to Trex Titanium, and then shortly after, “pairing”. The LED will flash red and blue.
Audrey will say Trex-air if you have that model instead.

3. Then press and hold all 3 buttons on the headset for 3-5 seconds. You will hear a low pitched double beep, or feel vibrations.

4. Turn the headset back off.

5. Enter pairing mode again by pressing and holding the volume up-power on button. Audrey will first say “Welcome to Trex Titanium” and then “pairing.” The LED will flash red and blue.

6. Continue to press-hold the volume up button while then simultaneously also pressing and holding the triangular multi-function button on the left. after about 3 more seconds Audrey will say Multipoint enabled.

7. In your first device’s Bluetooth settings, select your Trekz model. Audrey will say “Connected.”

8. Turn the headset off.

9. Reenter pairing mode again by pressing and holding the volume up-power on button. Audrey will first say “Welcome to Trex Titanium” and then “pairing.” The LED will flash red and blue.
10. In your second device’s Bluetooth settings, select your Trekz model. Audrey will say “Connected” or “Device 2 Connected.”
11. Turn the headset off.

The next time you turn your Trex headset on it will connect to both devices. It works pretty well, though here are some things I’ve noticed.

If I move out of range of one of the connected devices and then move back into range, the device doesn’t always reconnect. Turning the headset off and back on reconnects both again.

I said Multipoint lets you connect 2 devices simultaneously but that doesn’t mean you can hear audio from both simultaneously. only one at a time. This means if I’m playing a podcast on my iPhone, I won’t hear anything from my Apple watch; that has already bit me a few times. if I pause the podcast on the phone, audio from the watch will start playing in about 2 seconds.
Beyond that, using Multipoint is still quite useful. I can use either device in a meeting, concert, or at church. I can also use either device while traveling in loud situations like around heavy traffic. I can also use the watch in situations where the watch’s built-in speaker would be too quiet to hear. Even with the limitations I’ve mentioned , I think you’ll still find using your Aftershokz with Multipoint a productivity boost.
Oh, my mess of cables hack is still useful if I want to hear more than 2 devices; and with that solution, the audio really is simultaneous.