Choosing the Best headphones for swimmers
Aug 29,2023 | David
For those of you who enjoy exercising with your favorite songs to keep you motivated, there is a solution that makes the experience possible for swimming and various water sports. A waterproof headphone (or MP3 player) is an essential tool in your arsenal, whether you want to do laps in the pool or run in the rain.
There are many options available, and it's challenging to know which is the best pair of headphones for swimmers for you. So, let's go through the different criteria together to help you find the product that suits you.
Buying Guide - Criteria for Finding the Best headphones for swimmers
Complete water resistance
The best waterproof headphones for swimmers must have a protection rating (IP) of at least IPX7 or IPX8 to be comfortably used in water. Water is a major enemy of electronics, and it's essential to keep it away from vital parts. Most headphones (or MP3 players) use nano-waterproof technology, an invisible layer of liquid-deflecting material that keeps water away from the inside.
For your information, IPX7 products can be submerged in water up to 1 meter for a maximum of 30 minutes. Those with an IPX8 certification have better water resistance and can withstand immersion at depths ranging from 1 to 3 meters for 1 hour.
Lower ratings do not offer sufficient protection against water pressure. That's why waterproof earphones alone are not enough for open water swimming. You need a fully waterproof MP3 player.
Secure fit in the water
If the earphones you wear in the water keep falling out, you'll be more annoyed than anything else. Choose the right ear tips that prevent water from entering the ear canal. In general, triple-flanged tips are essential for a good user experience. Make sure to use a swim cap to aid stability.
On the other hand, you can always get bone conduction headphones, which transmit sound through bone vibration, or supra-aural headphones, which sit beside your ears.
Bone conduction headphones are a relatively new type of headset compared to traditional headphones. Many people may not be familiar with these types of headphones. I will briefly introduce bone conduction headphones after I have explained how to choose headphones for swimmers.
Music quality and performance
Let's be clear: you will never get lossless HiFi sound quality in the water for physical reasons, so abandon that idea. But you can expect appreciable sound. Additionally, you may need more than 2 GB of storage space in your waterproof music player for your songs. Oh, and don't even think about FLAC format, stick to good old MP3, it will take up less space, and anyway, as mentioned earlier, it won't be HiFi quality.
How are waterproof headphones for swimmeers different from others?
The only difference is the additional improvement in water protection. The MP3 player itself offers the same file storage capabilities, music quality, and performance. The same goes for other music players. They work the same way but can also survive a prolonged dive in fresh or saltwater.
How to choice a waterproof headphones (or MP3 players)?
You can read more user reviews
Due to the inclusion of bone conduction headphones in waterproof headphones (or MP3 players), this type of headphone is a relatively new product, and many well-known brands have not started selling them yet. However, some niche brands or new brands have gained recognition by offering these types of products. Therefore, when making a choice, it is advisable to observe user reviews for unfamiliar brands and select products with positive user ratings. Even products from new brands can have excellent quality.
Avoid products with dubious features
Some manufacturers present their products as waterproof and suitable for swimming, but they are not genuinely designed for that purpose. Opt for a proven product, even if you have to pay a little extra.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why are Bluetooth headphones bad for swimming?
Bluetooth headphones do not work underwater because the signal does not transmit in the same way underwater. Wireless signals like Bluetooth are easily absorbed by water.
This renders wireless Bluetooth headphones useless for swimming as the connection does not work.
How can I listen to Spotify, Deezer, YouTube Music while swimming?
You can listen to any type of music streaming service. However, you need to download all your music (or playlist) to listen to it offline since you cannot stream it via WiFi. Neither WiFi nor Bluetooth works underwater.
Can I wear my Apple Watch and listen to music while swimming?
Unfortunately, no. You cannot wear an Apple Watch and listen to music while swimming. Smartwatches like the Apple Watch transmit sound to headphones via Bluetooth, which does not work underwater. One option is to use an accessory like the H2O Audio Interval and attach the watch to it.
Can I wear AirPods while swimming?
No, neither of the two AirPods models is fully waterproof. Apple's AirPods Pro have an IPX4 rating, which means they can resist sweat and light water splashes, such as rain.
Why doesn't Bluetooth work underwater?
The 2.4GHz frequency is commonly used for wireless communications like Bluetooth or WiFi. However, it is also the exact frequency that interacts with water molecules, which absorb most of the energy. As soon as your earphones touch the water, you experience signal interference. You end up losing the Bluetooth connection, and the earphones stop working.
The microwave in your kitchen uses the same frequency to heat your food but at a much higher power. That's why only the food heats up and not your plate. And even in that case, thicker food pieces are not heated all the way through, despite the microwave's power. So you can imagine how difficult it is for an ordinary wireless headset to penetrate the water in a swimming pool.
Currently, we still do not have a cost-effective wireless technology that could be used for sound transmission underwater. Therefore, the only way to listen to uninterrupted music underwater is to use one of the waterproof music players.
However, for surface sports like kayaking and windsurfing, you can still use the best waterproof Bluetooth headphones.
Why not use your phone while swimming?
This question has been asked several times lately, and it is certainly due to the fact that more and more phones are equipped with water resistance ratings (IPX8 and others...).
Although this is a great thing for consumers, it does not mean that your phone is designed to be used underwater. This rating is intended to protect the device, not to use it underwater.
It is more of a protection for short submersions. I know most of you take swimming seriously, but you would be surprised how many times someone contacted me to recommend a waterproof MP3 player because their supposedly waterproof phone stopped working after swimming.
How to take care of your waterproof headphones(or MP3 player)
There is one thing you must do, and I cannot stress it enough. When you're done swimming, take your MP3 player and rinse it thoroughly with clean freshwater, then dry it.
This is especially important if you swim a lot in open water in the sea or even in chlorine-filtered pools. Over time, saltwater or chlorine can cause all sorts of issues with electronic devices. A quick rinse after each swim will add years to the lifespan of your device and a few euros to your bank account.
Now I will briefly introduce the bone conduction headphones
1. What is bone conduction technology
Bone conduction technology is a special audio transmission method that delivers sound vibrations through the skull, bone, and inner ear, rather than the traditional air conduction pathway. This technology was initially designed for military and medical purposes but has also been applied in consumer electronic products, such as headphones, in recent years.
In swimming headphones, bone conduction technology provides a unique way of listening to audio while meeting the needs of users during swimming. Since traditional air conduction headphones do not function properly in water, bone conduction technology has become a viable option.
2. Advantages of Bone Conduction Swimming Earphones
(1)Excellent Sound Quality Underwater
Water is a medium with poor sound conduction properties. Compared to transmitting sound in the air, transmitting sound in water encounters more resistance and attenuation. This poses a challenge for traditional air-conduction earbuds or headphones. Bone conduction technology can transmit sound signals by vibrating the bones, skull, and inner ear, bypassing the obstacles of the ear canal and eardrum. This direct conduction method provides clearer, more accurate sound quality, enhancing the underwater auditory experience for swimmers. Therefore, this type of earphones improves the auditory experience for swimmers.
In conclusion, the application of bone conduction technology in underwater earphones overcomes the challenges of sound transmission in water and provides excellent sound quality. This enhances the auditory experience of swimmers, making it more enjoyable and fulfilling.
(2)Waterproof Design and Durability
The importance of waterproof rating has been mentioned above, and bone conduction swimming earphones have superior waterproof performance. Most bone conduction swimming earphones are designed and sealed to prevent water from entering the earphones. The specific waterproof ratings may vary among different brands and models, but they generally achieve IPX7 or IPX8 levels, allowing for use at certain depths underwater without damage. Therefore, bone conduction earphones offer durability and reliability.
In summary, bone conduction swimming earphones typically have good waterproof performance, providing a durable and reliable user experience in water. Their waterproof rating and design allow swimmers to use earphones with confidence, enjoying music and other audio content without worrying about damage or performance issues.
(3) Comfort and Stability
Comfort is an important consideration while swimming. The movements and water pressure in the water may exert pressure on the ears and earphones, causing discomfort or pain. Intense movements and water flow during swimming can also cause traditional earbud-style earphones to fall out or become unstable. Bone conduction swimming earphones typically use lightweight and soft materials to reduce pressure and discomfort during wear. Moreover, bone conduction earphones do not need to be inserted into the ear canal, avoiding potential ear pain and discomfort associated with traditional earbuds. This wearing method allows swimmers to perceive water flow and ambient sounds, enhancing comfort.
Bone conduction swimming earphones often employ special designs and securing mechanisms to ensure the earphones remain stable during intense movement and water flow, minimizing the chance of them easily falling off.
In conclusion, bone conduction swimming earphones provide a more comfortable user experience in swimming through their comfortable design and stable wear.
(4) Safety and Auditory
Protection Bone conduction technology transmits sound to the inner ear through bones, bypassing the direct transmission of sound to the eardrum, reducing the potential risks to hearing. Additionally, the open design of bone conduction earphones allows users to simultaneously perceive the sounds of the surrounding environment, enhancing safety, particularly in scenarios where alertness is necessary, such as crowded swimming pools with potential hazards.
In summary, bone conduction earphones reduce direct pressure on the eardrum, lowering the risk of hearing damage, and allow users to maintain awareness of the surrounding environment, enhancing safety. This safety-oriented design is crucial for swimmers, ensuring they can remain alert and hear important sounds while engaging in activities in the water.
Comprehensive introduction to bone conduction headphones above, I have reviewed three headphones that perform well in the water, so if you need a swim headphone you can refer to the review data to see if they fit your needs.
1. Wissonly hi runner
32 GB internal memory
10-hour battery life
Wissonly Hi Runner with the latest technology for superior closure and 90% less sound leakage, ensuring durability and a high-quality music experience even in challenging environmental conditions. This headphones boast excellent durability and stability. They are constructed using high-quality materials and a robust design. And it can wireless 5.0 Bluetooth connectivity, allowing users to easily pair them with smartphones, tablets, or other Bluetooth devices for a convenient audio experience.
Wissonly Hi Runner is certified with IPx8 waterproof rating. It can work under 20 metres of water. Its excellent water and sweat resistance makes it suitable for swimming, running, exercising, cycling, hiking, diving and other outdoor sports.
The Wissonly team, which consists mainly of engineers and designers, designed the headphones to fit the skull with three support points, which are the temples, the ears and the back of the head, so they are very stable and won't fall off while swimming.
Wissonly Hi Runner comes with Bluetooth 5.0 and the effective distance of Bluetooth connection is 15 metres. We all know that underwater Bluetooth signals are unstable, and the Bluetooth connection may be interrupted as you swim away from the place where you put the connected device. This is where the MP3 mode comes in handy, so you can listen to music downloaded from your headphone library without being affected by the distance, and the sound is stable. 32G of memory can store more than 5,000 songs, which is more than enough to hold all your favourite songs!
2. Sony NW-WS414B - The best in-water headphones
8 GB internal memory
12-hour battery life
This Sony headset deserves its place of our ranking. Whether you're in the pool or the ocean, it'll keep you motivated. With more than enough internal memory, it can record over 1,600 songs (8 GB). That's more than enough to enjoy your favourite tracks while you're out and about. To download the music, all you have to do is connect it to your computer via a USB cable. This may not be very convenient, but bear in mind that you'll be able to download over 1,000 tracks. So it's not a task you'll have to perform every day.
3. AGPTEK S07: Waterproof MP3 player
8 GB internal memory
8 hour battery life
The AGPTEK S07 is a more affordable waterproof MP3 player. This compact waterproof MP3 player attaches to swimming goggles at the back of the head. It with 8 GB of memory, allowing you to carry up to 2000 songs. The AGPTEK S07 has good battery life, lasting approximately two weeks between charges (when swimming every day). The average battery life observed is 18 hours. The design is well-conceived for this waterproof MP3 player, with user-friendly buttons.