Waterproof Headphones Buyers Guide
What is a waterproof headphone?
A waterproof set of headphones function in exactly the same manner as a regular set but they have been manufactured from parts which have all received a seal of approval to counter water damage. Know we all know that water and electricity do not mix, so some of the lengths companies have to go to to protect against full immersion are pretty advanced.
The materials used are nearly always synthetic by nature, and typically they are rubber, plastic, and silicone based. Quite often the circuitry can remain the same if they are completely self-contained. To encase the electronic components inside something the size of an ear-bud is no easy feat and generally nano-technology research is relied upon to assist in miniature manufacturing. Some metallic components will be switched to metals which will not rust, or if not they are covered with an anti-rusting coating.
Waterproof headphones/earphones/earbuds are sometimes referred to as amphibious or hydro-active.
Why buy Waterproof headphones?
There are many reasons someone might require a waterproof set of headphones. Many are listed for athletes because as anyone who likes to work out knows the perils of having a set of ear-phones exposed to the heavy sweating of a more rigorous regime.
With waterproofing being much more reliable than ever before we are now seeing models marketed towards rowing, windsurfing, white water rafting, and other water sports. Some can withstand submersion making them suitable for swimming.
Another angle, that some may have not considered is that there are many people with sensory needs who rely on being able to wear noise-canceling earbuds to protect them from an auditory overloaded. All of the models we have looked at have noise canceling abilities, with the exception of the pair designed specifically to stay aware of your surroundings for added safety by Plantronics.
This can be a great solution for some people on the Autism spectrum, who can also have an attraction to water, finding swimming and floating soothing. Having waterproof noise canceling headphones provides a way for them to enjoy the water without the noise stimulus that many of them can struggle with.
Do waterproof headphones really work?
If they are suitably protected then yes some come with a certification which helps to gauge the level of resilience. To truly be waterproof all electronics need to be housed in an airtight/watertight sealed unit. Any metallic components need to be of metals which do not rust or to be treated to prevent/eliminate rust (rust-proofing).
How reliable are waterproof headphones?
Once again, the better quality products on the market we have explained sufficiently protected so in general, they are pretty reliable, however as with anything else electronic they have a ‘shelf-life’.
Everyday wear and tear will inevitably take its toll and long term this can have a detrimental effect. If any barriers or sealed areas become compromised then obviously you are going to be in murky waters.
What is the difference between water-resistant and waterproof headphones?
They are essentially both words for a product which has been designed, changed, upgraded or treated to remain unaffected by water, though generally, people associate water resistant with being less effective at persevering than water-proof. This is pretty misconceived as there are varying degrees to which an object can be waterproof or water-resilient.
Water resilient actually tells us that the materials used within the construction of the product, especially its outer elements (shells/casing etc) are able to repel water droplets to a certain extent. If you spill liquid on a very water resistant object you would see the water droplets roll off of it and pool away.
We IP (or IPX) rate the enclosure of each item, designating it a number that relates to how ‘dust-tight’ or ‘air-tight’ and also waterproof the housing of the product is. If it is suitably dust/airtight then the product is deemed proofed against water and other particles getting inside to damage internal parts.
The numbers generally go from 1-7 but recently an additional level IPX8 was added as the waterproofing available to the public is now on par with professional scuba transmission equipment.
1 indicates not at all, 2 means condensation proof it continues all the way through to fully submersible via a series of incremental categories which include water droplet proof, protected against water sprays, spills, and low-pressure jets and temporary immersion (which protects against accidents).
IPX8 states that it features the most up to date immersion protection and can deal with greater depths and pressures.
Within product specifications that feature 2 figures, the first is in reference to how air/dust tight it is and the second digit determines how watertight. For example, the Plantronics BackBeat FIT set are certified as IPX 5/7 this means they are not completely airtight but are very waterproof, this is because of the unique ‘Always Alert’ design concept they employ which leaves parts of it exposed, the rain, however, will not affect any internal components.
Whether you want to synchronize your swimming to the psychedelic sounds of the sixties, or simply lounge pool-side on Spotify soaking up the sun waterproof headphones are a sensible solution.
Many of the lower-end sets won’t set you back more than twenty bucks and they offer reassurance against the rain and quite often, are completely wireless. This eliminates one of the most common culprits to break on you, extending the life of a typical pair tenfold.
Heck, even the wired sets have nifty features like retractable/extendable wires to help counter the all too familiar ‘knotting in your pocket’ routine. We would highly recommend any of the over-ear sets for any joggers out their they allow for great freedom of movement and they won’t sweat to death on you, but if you are looking to swim with them we suggest you set your sights a little higher.
With any luck, our reviews and waterproof headphones buyers guide will have shed a little light on just what you can get your hands on as well as how and why it works. We hope they serve useful on the path to your purchase.
If you are going to swim with your set of headphones make sure you adhere to the recommended lengths of time submerged, heed the maximum stated depths and make sure you allow them to properly dry before packing them away, they will succumb to ruin if improperly used.
Did You Know?
Whilst the majority of public products only allow for a depth of between 2-4 meters, the worlds first 20 meter diving headphones the MH180V-AA’s were the first amphibious tactical-headphones developed for military use they incorporate a boom and a microphone and work utilizing bone conduction!