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How to Listen to Music While Swimming

Thanks to the advancements in audio technology, people can now listen to their favorite music in almost any situation. Wireless headphones and Bluetooth speakers allow us to enjoy music while exercising, traveling, or relaxing.

Using a set of bone conduction headphones is an effective way to listen to music while swimming. These headphones work by transmitting sound through the bone structure of your head and face, as opposed to through your ears. The headphones must have at least an IPX7 waterproof rating.

headphones for swimming

In addition to using bone conduction headphones, there are other methods you can use to enjoy music while swimming. The most important factor to consider is that any equipment you use must have at least an IPX-7 water resistance rating, so that it can withstand being immersed in water.

In this guide, we’ll explain in detail all the potential ways you can listen to music while swimming.

The Best Way to Listen to Music While Swimming

Wireless earbuds have been dominating the headphone market in recent years, but the likes of AirPods are not suitable for swimming. Thankfully, the less well-known but equally as innovative bone conducting headphones have this capability.

Although many wireless earbuds and headphones have some resistance to water exposure, there aren’t many that can withstand being fully submerged. Obviously, this is a must-have feature if you want to use them while swimming.

Bone conduction headphones might well be the perfect solution you’ve been searching for. These headphones are commonly placed onto the listener’s cheekbones, rather than inside or over the ears.

This means that the vibrations from the headphone’s speakers are directly transmitted to the facial bones of the listener, and then to the cochlea, which allows the music to be heard.

The main reason that bone conduction headphones have the potential to be suitable for swimming is because sound vibrations don’t travel the same when they’re underwater. Therefore, normal headphones will not be able to project the sound into your ears.

However, because bone conduction headphones don’t rely on soundwaves travelling from the speaker into the ear, they allow the listener to hear the music through the direct contact between the speaker and the cheekbone. The vibrations still reach the inner ear where they become audible sound, but they take a more direct route.

There are, of course, other requirements that will determine whether these unique headphones are suitable for swimming.

Firstly, they must be rated IPX7 waterproof, which we’ll explain in more detail in the next section. The headphones must also have a built in MP3 player or be connected to a Bluetooth device while swimming.

They must also fit tightly or be suitable for being worn underneath a swimming cap to keep them in place.

IPX Water Resistance Ratings for Swimming

One of the most important things to look out for when searching for devices that will allow you to listen to music while swimming, is their IPX rating. This rating system provides a clear indication of how resistant earphones, smartphones, speakers, or any other electronic devices are to water exposure.

If headphones, earbuds, or an MP3 player are rated IPX7 or above, then they will be suitable for use while swimming. IPX8 rated devices will be even more resistant to being submerged in water, so if you find some headphones with this rating, they’re definitely worth considering.

Many wireless earbuds are rated IPX4 or IPX5 water resistant. While this does mean that they can handle being splashed by water from specific angles, it doesn’t make them suitable for being used while swimming.

That’s why it’s essential that you check the water resistance rating of any headphones, MP3 players, or other devices that you’re considering purchasing to be used while you are swimming. If they’re rated under IPX7, then unfortunately they’re not suitable for this purpose.

You can see the various IPX water resistance ratings in this table.

RatingWater Resistance
IPX1Resistant to condensation
IPX2Resistant to water that is sprayed at a 15-degree vertical angle
IPX3Resistant to water that is sprayed at a 60-degree vertical angle
IPX4Resistant to water that is sprayed at any angle
IPX5Resistant to water from any angle at low pressure
IPX6Resistant to water from any angle at high pressure
IPX7Resistant to being submerged in water for 30 minutes
IPX8Resistant to being submerged in water indefinitely
Water Resistance Ratings

Other Ways to Listen to Music While Swimming

Another way that you can listen to music while swimming is by using a waterproof MP3 player along with waterproof earphones. Indeed, this combination is a little outdated, as most people have moved on from MP3 players and use their smartphones for listening to music, but for use in water, it’s very reliable.

There are many waterproof MP3 players available, which can be connected to wired headphones. Manufacturers are able to make these devices highly resistant to water, with many of them being rated IPX8 water resistant.

The Sewobe Waterproof MP3 player is designed specifically for swimming, and it also comes with a set of waterproof headphones. This combination will allow you to listen to music while fully submerged in water without worrying about damaging the devices.

It’s worth noting that even though waterproof MP3 players and headphones can be effective for listening to music while swimming, you’ll need to keep them fixed to yourself otherwise the connection will be broken due to your movement.

Wearing a swimming cap is the best way to secure your headphones while in the water, but it can be tricky to also fit an MP3 player into the cap. This may cause a buildup of pressure and it could become uncomfortable for you.

Another option for swimmers who want to listen to music in the water is to use a wireless headset, which is waterproof and has an MP3 player built in. These are often bone conducting headsets, like those we described earlier in this guide.

The final option you have if you want to listen to music while swimming is to simply play it through a loudspeaker that is positioned out of the pool, but there are two downsides to this.

Firstly, everyone else who is swimming will also hear the music, and secondly, every time you submerge your ears in the water, you won’t be able to hear it clearly, which could be pretty frustrating!

In conclusion there are several ways of listerning to music whilst swimming, some more easy to use than others, the best option being bone conducting headphones as they are designed to do just that amonst other things. The second best option would an Apple watch along with a H20 Audio Interval as detailed below.

Related Questions

Can you use an Apple Watch while swimming?

It’s possible to use the Apple Watch while you are swimming, but you’ll also need another device known as an H20 Audio Interval. Apple watches are water resistant from the 2nd generation onwards, and therefore can be used while swimming.

Does Bluetooth work in water?

Bluetooth is not very reliable when used in water, because it uses the radio 2.4 GHz radio frequency. The range of a Bluetooth device is shortened to less than 1ft when it is used underwater.

Can you use AirPods while swimming?

AirPods Pro and 3rd Generation AirPods are resistant to water splashes, but they are not suitable for swimming. If you submerge AirPods in water, this will likely result in them being permanently damaged.