The Technology behind Swimming Headphones

The Technology behind Swimming Headphones



Swimming isn't just a sport. It's a way of life. Don't you swimming enthusiasts, thalassic scuba divers, and Olympians, agree? Combine the beauty imagery underwater with the frenzy of your favorite music playing! Now we're on the same page. It's about time you explore the technology behind headphones for swimming; it might be the unseen dream you've been waiting for!

How swimming headphones work and achieve the waterproof effect?how do waterproof headphones work

The waterproof effect is achieved in three ways. The first way is only to design them to have less to none vulnerability to water seepage. Thus one whole piece of plastic is used to fabricate them. They come with several ear tips and earplugs to make the ear watertight.

The second way is to coat it with a nanotechnology-based transparent water-repellent layer. And thirdly, bone conduction technology can be used to transmit sound waves through the bones rather than from ears, the design of these headphones have absolutely no weak points for water seepage. However, the quality is compromised.

Now, let' s talk about features which help swimmers to experience the ecstasy of listening to their favorite jam under water. They provide a tight fit and earplugs to seal the ears from water. They are light and comfortable to use with high battery life and are obstruction free for least resistance in the water.

Wireless headphones include most intuitive controls with all the features on the headphones. Mp3 players are custom made to be soundproof with clips. They can be clipped to Google straps or tucked in swimming cap for least obstruction. Their durability is tested for in-water use and is made from flexible plastic, to endure high underwater stress. Some good ones also come with noise canceling features, to block out the gurgle and splash of water while swimming.  

Water-resistant vs. Water-repellent vs. Waterproof!

When buying headphones for swimming purposes, it is necessary to know the difference between the terms mentioned above before you make your choice. Water-resistant headphones resist penetration of water for short durations and general moisture.

They resist splashes and a wee bit of rain time too if they have an excellent rating. Waterproof headphones are utterly impervious to water for a reasonable period, they design and build entirely different from water-resistant headphones. These are the headphones you choose for swimming.

Water-repellent headphones offer a fair resistance, close to the waterproof headphones. They build average but are protected by a protective cover and surface coatings to contrary water invasion. The most durable option for swimming would be waterproof headphones!

IPX Ratings Explained

IP stands for Ingress Protection. It is an international standard for defining sealing effectiveness level of a device against the invasion of foreign bodies like dust, moisture, etc. The higher the IP rating of a device, the more durability it has in daily life usage. It has two digits, i.e., IPXY where "X" and "Y" are variables.

  • X, the first digit represents protection from solid particles
  • Y, the second digit represents protection from liquids

As we' re discussing headphones for swimming purposes, we' ll discuss the “Y” variable in this article.

The variable Y can have any value from 0 to 8. 0 rating means worse protection against moisture and 8 rating mean absolute moisture protection.  An overall look at the IPXY ratings and what they say is found in the chart below.

IPXY Ratings   



Moisture Resistance Level:




Not moisture resistant




Dripping water (1mm/min), Sweat




Dripping water (3mm/min), Rain, vertically dripping water




Sprayed water




Splashed water




Water stream from the nozzle




A strong jet of water




30 minute at a 1m depth of water submerged




30 minute at a 3m depth of water submerged

Is waterproof headphone good for swimming in the sea (salt water)?

First of all, don' t believe anyone blindly, who says their headphones work long without any issue or wear and tear on headphone due to saltwater or ocean swimming. The difference between “lake/pool” and “Ocean” water matter here as much as it does when choosing to drink water.

Salt is harder and rougher than water, and while its concentration in oceans is three percent or less, it's enough to alter its properties from "refreshing" to "deteriorating" – for humans and electronics alike. It's capable of completing circuits in electronics and around the area of the headphone jack of your mp3 players.

It's also capable of corroding metals if there's any metallic material on your headphone or mp3 player. However, some headphones are much better at dealing with salt water for the shorter amount of times. Just make sure to rinse all the salt off to increase the lifetime of your headphones.

Can you use underwater Bluetooth headphones while swimming?

Can you use underwater Bluetooth headphones while swimming?

It' s considered hard in this era with the current technology to transmit signals proficiently underwater through Bluetooth wireless technology. The water is denser than air and makes it harder for signals to travel on the same frequency.

However, that doesn't mean you can't use it at all. There are quite some Bluetooth Headphones out there, many of them reasonably good, but from our experience, you're somewhat better off with wired headphones for swimming purposes. You can tuck the mp3 player in the swimming cap or clipped onto your goggle straps, to avoid entanglement in active fast paced swimming sessions. Though, we recommend the wired headphones with an mp3 player that is waterproof, of course.

How to take care of your swimming headphones?

Taking care of your swimming headphone is a bit more laborious than your ordinary headphones, which sit around your computer table or mobile pouch. While they have a good IP rating to take care of the more obvious water problems, being attentive of your swimming depth falls as your responsibility.

It is necessary to maintain the structural integrity of your headphones as ambient pressure increases with the depth of water. You should protect coated headphones against damage to deny the possibility of water seeping in. It's recommended to keep them in a sturdy carrying case as you'll be moving around with them often.

Often dropping them may reduce their water resistance, so don't. Keeping the headphones clean is another aspect because swimming pools are contaminated with chlorine and human dirt, which causes hygiene issues as well as scaling in the charging points.


In the end, there's no easy way around cost though. Swimming headphones are specialized for use in an entirely different fluid from our every-day air with great features to combat the high density while also catering to the sound it makes with even slight movements.  They provide you with the best fit and handling with reasonably high battery life for tension free usage.

We hope the article helps you to choose your dream headphones for swimming. Here's a challenge for you, count your lap times usually and then wear your headphones, put on your favorite song and see if you beat them! And on a lighter note, count how many songs spend in the pool now?  It' s a whole another world now, isn' t it?


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