How Do Waterproof Headphones Work For Swimming?

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Do you want to know how do waterproof headphones work for swimming? You are in the right place. Check out our article now for helpful information.


You are here as you want to know how do waterproof headphones work for swimming? Why do we use headphones to listen to music underwater? 

You might not know this, but music generates an unwinding atmosphere for water sports. Besides, fast-paced songs and catchy lyrics are proven to enhance wearers’ physical performance. 

Today’s article will cover everything you want to know about waterproof headphones. Let’s start to know what waterproof headphones are.

What Are Waterproof Headphones?

Basically, they are regular headphones with internal circuitry and parts waterproofed. You probably wonder, “Water and electricity cannot go hand in hand. How can these headphones hamper water from entering them?”

The reason is that the swimming headphones feature a hydrophobic coating that repels water by boasting a low-energy surface. This measure promotes the water bead formation that resists and glides off the surface of the headphones.

Sony NWWS413BM 4GB Sports Wearable

Sony NWWS413BM 4GB Sports Wearable

The two most popular methods used by manufacturers are waterproofing the headphones with a military-level nanocoating or a thin chemical coating film produced by the plasma activation tech and vacuum environment.

How Do Waterproof Headphones Work For Swimming?

As mentioned above, the manufacturers equip their headphones with a hydrophobic paint coating. When exposed to water, this coating can hinder water particles from getting into the device’s internal components. 

Waterproof Headphones

Waterproof Headphones

This industry applies the IPX Rating to measure the effectiveness of a product against water. The IPX stands for the Ingress or International Protection Rating Scale. 

It ranges from IPX0 to IPX9k. Of which, the IPX0 – IPX8 is common ratings for headphones on the current market. This standard differentiates waterproof earbuds from water-resistant models. Is water resistant and waterproof the same?

Well, they are different. Water-resistance refers to the products only having protection at a limited level against the access of water. The IPX1- IPX5 means the devices are water-resistant. In other words, water cannot access the gears at the low-water exposure levels.

Normally, high-end waterproof headphones tend to have the IPX8 rating.

See more:

10 Best Neckband Headphones for Sound Quality

10 Best Waterproof Headphones Reviews and Buying Guide

Key Features Of Waterproof Headphones

There are five key factors that an underwater audio quality waterproof headphone should have.

IPX Rating

In brief, the IPX waterproof rating is available in the following levels.

  • IPX0: This rating means there is no resistance to water.
  • IPX1 – IPX2: keep the device’s functions working in the light rainfall.
  • IPX3 – IPX4: work in the water spraying condition.
  • IPX5: keep products stay functional in waterjets, for instance, facing a garden hose.
  • IPX6: is capable of dealing with seawater.
  • IPX7: can handle most water sources and submerge in the sea at a meter of water (3.2 ft) for 30 minutes.
  • IPX8: helps devices last longer than half an hour underwater. Besides, it can handle heavy influence from external aggressors.

It is recommended to equip waterproof ear headphones for swimming with the IPX8 and above.


A pair of headphones comes in two kinds of connectivity: Wireless or wired. In general, they have four differences as follows:

  • Functions: Wireless earbuds feature an integrated microphone, convenient for wearers to get hand-free calls with a responsive touch operation.
  • Sound quality: Wired products feature better underwater sound quality as there is no Bluetooth restriction. Besides, they work well with various formats of audio files, including M4A, WAV, and FLC. Meanwhile, wireless ear headphones need older formats to be converted.
  • Device compatibility: Wired buds feature a limited compatible gadgets number as their jack of 3.5mm is not popular in smart gears today.
  • Price: Understandably, wireless headphones equipped with many functions have higher prices. In contrast, wired headphones are more budget-friendly to many customers.

Safety Level

Quality headphones should offer clear underwater audio and be safe for vulnerable ear canals. The level of safety relies on the materials of their tips.

  • Rubber: Its safety level is low as this material can easily trigger allergic reactions. Its grip might be tight, yet its hard surface can make the headphones uncomfortable to put on for a long time.
  • Silicone: Like rubber, silicone is popular for headphone production. It offers a firm hold and offers average comfort. Silicone tips are more likely to fall out when wearers join sweaty workout exercises or saltwater sports.
  • Foam: This material is the most comfortable. Once put in your ear canals, the layer can generate a tight seal and protect your ears entirely from water pressure and leaks.

Battery Life

Conventional headphones can last six hours of battery life once fully charged. A 60-min charging can offer merely three operation hours.

Waterproof Earbuds

Waterproof Earbuds

Integrated MP3 Player

Swimming device manufacturers offer various wireless earbuds built with waterproof built-in MP3 players. It can remove the hassle of seeking compatible devices. Besides, this basic navigation can help wearers change the tracks simply and fast.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some other common questions regarding waterproof earbuds. 

What Are The Best Waterproof Headphones?

Today’s market is full of choices of waterproof headphones. After researching, we have compiled a shortlist for your consideration.

  • Sony NWWS413BM 4GB Sports Wearable – Best Overall
  • Pyle MP3 Player Bluetooth Headphone – Best For Waterproof
  • HydroActive Premium Short-Cord Waterproof Headphones – Best For Wrap-Around Design
  • FINIS Duo Underwater Music MP3 Player – Best For Sound Quality
  • Swimbuds Flip Waterproof Short-Cord Headphones – Best For Durability

These devices can deliver a great waterproof ability so that you can work underwater for a longer time. 

How Can You Tell If The Headphones Are Waterproof?

In general, if wireless earbuds can survive in water, they are waterproof. That said, based on the IPX rating, any headphones that have the rating from IPX6- IPX8 can be referred to as waterproof headphones.


So now you know the answer to “How do waterproof headphones work for swimming?” In brief, it is thanks to the hydrophobic coating that can prevent water access to the device’s internal components.

When considering buying a pair of waterproof headphones, it is worth looking into the five key elements of IPX rating, connectivity, MP3 integration, battery life, and safety.

Anyway, we hope our article is helpful for you. If you have any further questions, please feel free to let us know.

Thank you for reading!


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