Is it safe to wear headphones in the bath? A question which, while it divides opinions, shouldn't as only science can have the final word on it.
Since the start of the 21st century, wireless headphones have exploded in popularity. So much so that in a span of three years – between 2013 and 2016 – almost 100-million headphones were sold worldwide. While their increasing usage is a good thing – since we can listen to music at 2 in the morning without waking the whole neighborhood – it has also posed some questions.
One of those questions is whether it is safe to wear headphones when bathing or not. To answer this question, let's see what science has to say about it.
Why You Wear Headphones When Bathing?
Unsurprisingly, science has no answer to this question because it relates to our feelings. Using those same emotions of mine, I've come up with a few reasons why we wear headphones when bathing.
- To drown out the noise of shower and destress yourself
- To enjoy some of those treasured moments when you are alone
- To make the best of this free time
- To declutter your mind after a long day at work
- To save you from procrastinating which you'd have otherwise done if there was no music
- To give uncensored reactions to your favorite music without the fear of anyone seeing – and judging – you
What Should You Know When Wearing Headphones In The Bath?
Now that we've given you some reasons for wearing safety headphones when bathing, here's what you need to know BEFORE actually wearing them in the bath.
Are Your Headphones Waterproof?
When checking your headphones is waterproof or not, you can do one of two things. First, you can rely on the claim of the manufacturer – which in most cases is vague at best, and false at worst. Second, if you want to follow the pros, check the IP rating of your model.
Also known as Ingress Protection rating, IP rating classifies electric devices on the basis of the degree of protection they provide against the ingress of water and dust. Since dust won't be a problem under the shower, what you should focus your attention on is resistance against water.
Generally, an IP rating of a product is written something like IP22 – which means two digits follow the term IP. The first of those digits indicate protection against dust whereas the second digit indicates protection against liquids. Obviously, then, you should concern yourself with the second digit.
Remember, the greater the second digit is close to 8 – which is the ultimate level of protection – the more chances there are that your device is waterproof. Conversely, if you see 0 or X in place of the second digit, that means your headphones are not protected against water.
Type of headphones
As we found out during our research, two types of headphones provide better protection against water: over-ear (the one which forms a loop around your neck) and in-ear (which fit directly into your ear canal). However, that doesn't mean that you could take either to the bath.
Instead, as professional swimmers can recall, most over-ear headphones have are rated IPX5 or below – which means they are ill-suited to handle shower water. That leaves us with only one choice; high IP rated in-ear headphones.
There is another type of waterproof headphones may consider provided you can afford to pay over-the-odds: bone conduction headphones. These headphones deliver sound straight to your ear organ by bypassing the eardrum.
Are they Bluetooth?
Although it should go without saying, let me mention here that you SHOULD NOT wear wired headphones when bathing. Even if the wire has a large length, it could still carry water droplets to your smartphone, hence damaging it in the process.
Therefore, of all the headphones available nowadays, only Bluetooth headphones can be taken to the shower. However, as we stated earlier, being Bluetooth isn't enough. Instead, your Bluetooth headphone should also have a respectable IP rating.
But what do I mean by respectable IP rating? Respectable IP rating – especially when we talk about water resistance – means 6 or above. Remember, six is the borderline limit, so if you want to be extra-careful, you might not want to settle for less than 7.
What is Your Budget?
Ever wondered why, if the market is inundated with waterproof headphones with respectable IP ratings, don't consider them? Well, in case you've been living in a cave, here's the answer: the best waterproof headphones cost a lot.
In fact, if you want to differentiate between cheap and safety headphones, IP rating is the best indicator. Generally, headphones with an IP rating of 7 or above cost north of $500. Some models which offer the noise-cancellation and/or aptX technology go as far as $1000.
Therefore, while using safety water headphones is in vogue nowadays, it is going to cost you a lot of money.
Features You May Want In Your Headphone
Here are some of the features which separate the best waterproof headphones from the riffraff. Take a look.
In terms of controls, there are two types of waterproof headphones in the market. First are those which delegate controls to the smartphone via an app. The second category of waterproof headphones contain all those controls. Needless to say, that it is the 2nd category that you should prefer.
After all, none of us would like touching our smartphone's screen with wet hands, lest we can afford it to go awry. It is for this reason that we recommend that you get only those headphones which have maximum controls onboard.
Finally, when it comes to the number of controls on the headphones, the list is endless. Therefore, the choice is yours as to how many controls you want on the inline remote.
Sound Quality and Battery Life
To be honest, being waterproof or not has zero effect on these two factors of your headphones. For, if the sound quality of your headset sucks outside the shower, it would suck in it too. Hence you don't need to worry that being waterproof would adversely affect your headphones quality.
What you need to worry about, however, is sound quality on the whole. As for the battery life, anything north of 6 hours and close to 8 hours runtime should be enough. Having a battery indicator is also a plus-point should you want to be made aware in advance that the headphone needs recharging.
Active Noise Cancellation
When it comes to the sound quality of a headphone, active noise cancellation is hugely important if you want crystal clear sound quality. That is, because, this technology doesn't allow outside noise to interfere with the sound. It does the same by canceling out the frequency of outside noises by creating an inverse frequency of its own.
In addition to increasing your headphones sound quality, active noise cancellation also protects your hearing. For, with no noise to disturb your ears, you won't have to increase the volume of your headphones. In the long term, that would mean a lower pressure on your eardrum and less chance of hearing problems.
Integration with Third Party Apps
Don't have a large collection of songs in your smartphone? Want to play directly from 3rd party apps like Spotify and Sound Cloud? One way you could do just that is by having headphones which support integration with third-party apps.
Apart from playing songs directly, these headphones – via their own smartphone app – let you create playlists, add songs and much more. However, as you might guess, they don't come cheap.
Are There Any Risks When Using Headphones In The Bath?
Only a fool would tell you that there aren't any risks when using headphones in the bath. Fortunately, I'm not one, hence the reason why the below-mentioned list was created.
Here are some of the risks of using headphones in the bath.
- If you aren't using waterproof headphones, water might go into the main casing to damage the headphone and render it useless.
- If you're using a wall-powered headphone, there might be a risk of electrocution
- Using wired headphones in the bath might cause damage to the smartphone
How To Reduce The Damages?
Unfortunately, once the damage has occurred, there's no way for you to reduce it. That means if your headphone has stopped working after water got into its casing, there's a very good chance that it is gone for good.
Even if by some unforeseeable chance you can get it repaired – the odds of which are starkly dim – the money which you'd have spent by then could have easily got you a new pair. Therefore, if you ask me, there is no point trying to get a damaged headphone repaired.
As we have stated earlier, it is safe to wear headphones in the bath provided they are waterproof. The best way to make sure your headphones are waterproof is to check their IP Rating. Provided the second digit of the rating approaches 7, you can use that headphone in the bath. Otherwise, that model is unsuitable for the task.