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Earphones to Wear When You Want to Hear More Than Music

AfterShokz earphones sit in front of your ear, allowing you to hear what's going on around you while listening to your MP3 player.

Sometimes you don't just want to hear the music. When you're jogging, baby-sitting, driving, or doing anything that requires you to also pay attention to ambient noise, headphones that block out everything else can be a liability.

Aftershokz at CES is showing three headphones that deal with the problem by bypassing your eardrums completely: They sit in front of your ear and use the bones of your skull to transmit audio to your inner ear. The experience isn't as immersive as with earbuds or headphones that sit over or on the ear, but the audio isn't bad, and you can carry on a conversation while your music plays.

AfterShokz is showing three models. Aftershokz Sport ($60) wraps around the back of your skull and slips over your earlobes (like glasses, but in the opposite direction). It has an inline volume control and uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery that runs for up to 15 hours at low volume and takes three hours to charge, the company says.

AfterShokz Mobile is similar to AfterShokz Sport, but with an inline microphone to use with a cell phone. It costs $70. AfterShokz Game, also $70, has a USB connector to support use with PCs for gaming or voice-over-IP calls.

For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out PCWorld's complete coverage of CES 2012.

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