How to Choose the Good Waterproof Headphones

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Factors to consider in determining the best for swimming

Swimming and listening to music at the same time may have been an impossible scenario in the olden days, but that, fortunately for the enthusiasts, no longer holds true. Technology has, after all, given us that gift that now allows for those two things to be done at the same time. Ladies and gentlemen, waterproof headphones.

Form Factor

The form factor refers to the overall design and functionality of the electronic hardware, in this case, the waterproof headphones. As a swimmer, you would not want to choose headphones that affect your swimming strokes for obvious reasons. Be wary of headphones with long cords, then, as these can get tangled easily, especially when you do your flip turns. 

Your headphones of choice should also stay on while you are swimming. Remember that when swimming, there are external forces you have to contend with, the moving water when you make your strokes, the water pressure, which increases as you go farther underwater, among others. The solution is to look for headphones that can be strapped to your swimming cap so that they can stay in place. 

Ingress Protection (IP) Rating

The IP rating describes the level of protection that the external cover of a device provides the device against the ingress of dust, water and other particles or fluids. The first letter or digit after IP refers to the protection level against the ingress of solids. The second digit that comes after IP refers to the level of protection against liquids. For example, a rating of IP65 means a rating of 6 for solid particles, and 5 for liquids.

If the device provides no protection against solid particles or liquids, then the symbol 0 is inserted in their respective positions. If the device was not tested, the symbol X is inserted instead. A device with an IPX7 rating, for example, has not been tested for solids, but has a rating of 7 for liquids.

To listen to music while swimming, look for waterproof headphones that have an IPX8 rating or above.

At the very least, headphones with an IPX8 rating can be immersed in water deeper than 1 meter, typically up to three meters. Those with an IPX7 rating, although also waterproof, can only be immersed 1 meter underwater. Headphones with IPX5 or IPX6 ratings are only water-resistant, which means they can survive a splash of water, but not immersion in water.

No to Wireless Headphones

Wireless headphones are not advisable for listening to music while swimming. Bluetooth headphones, in particular, work terribly underwater since they rely on a 2.4 Gigahertz (GHz) radio frequency to receive the signal to play music from a source, and water molecules attenuate this signal. Try putting the headphones underwater and you’ll see that the range becomes limited.

Built-in MP3 Players

Some headphones come with built-in MP3 players. They typically have a sole exit, which is connected to a computer for the loading of music. 

Once you get into the pool, though, the headphones are no longer connected to the computer, and you primarily rely on storage to listen to your favorite songs. The storage space ranges only from 2 Gigabytes (GB) to 4 GB, allowing for the device to remain physically small.

The storage space range, however, is just enough to hold songs in the hundreds, probably more than enough for the laps you will be making.

When using headphones with built-in MP3 players, you also have to consider their battery life, which ranges from around five to ten hours on average. This is important since you wouldn’t want your headphones to die while you’re in a swimming session.  After swimming, make sure to clean the charging point because the chlorine in the pool can result in scaling.

Conclusion

Thanks to technology, there are various headphones available in the market that allow swimming enthusiasts and lovers of music to do what they love at the same time. Nowadays, it is only actually a matter of choosing the swimming headphones that best suit you. With a little bit of research, there’s no reason you can’t do just that.

 Guest post by Mark Orloff 

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About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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