Is Swimming with Headphones Possible?

We discuss the possibility of using headphones underwater and the specific qualities to look out for in a pair.



You may have thought about using headphones for swimming at one point or another. Whether you’re a professional swimmer wanting to get in the zone during training sessions, or just a casual who simply wants to listen to music while swimming, there is a huge appeal with using headphones underwater.

The problem is you’re not even sure if wearing headphones while swimming is even possible in the first place. Not only that, but with the plethora of choices in the market today, what type of headphones do you go for? By jumping the gun and making the wrong purchase of headphones, it can spell disaster for your overall swimming experience (and wallet)!

That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the most important factors to look out for when buying swimming headphones. It’s essential to know that not all headphones are cut out for use underwater, let alone swimming. This guide will give you a crystal clear idea on the features you need so you can find the right pair of headphones that you can swim with.


Can You Swim With Headphones On?

The short answer is, yes.

In the past, the thought about using headphones underwater was absurd because of the fact that exposing any electronic device to water is basically asking for a malfunction. You wouldn’t want to drop your unprotected phone in the water right?

However, thanks to today’s advancements in technology as well as the release of innovative headphone models with newfangled features, it isn’t surprising that there are waterproof options that you can use for swimming purposes.

Picking out a pair of headphones to use on land is relatively easy, while choosing one to use underwater requires a little bit more thought and research. With that being said, finding the right type of headphones allows you to enjoy your music during your swimming exercise routine regardless of how deep the pool is.


Things to Consider When Buying Headphones For Swimming

Below are the essential factors to look out for when buying headphones for swimming.


IP Rating

Understanding the Ingress Protection, or IP rating is probably the most important thing to do as this rating determines whether your pair of headphones is suitable for use while swimming.

This rating is basically used to define the effectiveness against intrusion of electrical devices against foreign bodies such as dust, or in this case, water. Because of the fact that water can easily damage the electrical components of your headphones, a properly sealed device with the appropriate IP rating is essential as it prevents any ingress from happening and keeps the internal electronics safe.

The IP rating starts from IPx0 (fully vulnerable to water or moisture) and goes up to IPx9 (fully waterproof). This is where understanding the difference between water-resistant and waterproof is important. You’ll want headphones with an IP rating not lower than IPx8 if you actually want to get full immersion with your device for long periods of time.


Form Factor

The great thing about headphones is that they come in a variety of form factors, from regular silicone earpieces to rubber eartips with hooks. This allows you to choose one that suits your personal preference. Overall comfort and a reliable fit is essential so as not to feel obtrusive while you swim.

The general rule of thumb when choosing headphones for swimming is to find a pair that does not restrict any type of movement while also keeping firmly in place on your head. It’s also good to avoid waterproof headphones with extremely long cables as these can easily get tangled or flail around during swimming.

If possible, go for headphones with shorter cables that can be strapped on your swimming cap so that they are secured in place without affecting your strokes.


Playback Time

Most headphone models that use batteries and have integrated MP3 players have a playback time of around 4 or more hours. The total battery life usually depends on the brand and overall quality of the product. Simply look for a pair of headphones that has an ample duration for the battery life so as it falls within the duration of your entire swimming routine.

In addition, it’s worth noting that some rechargeable headphone models make use of proprietary connectors that aren’t compatible with the most convenient and conventional ones. This makes quite troublesome for you if the device ever breaks down or you find yourself out of charge with no charger at hand.

That’s why when picking out headphones for swimming, it’s best to get a pair that uses universal connectors for convenience.


Build Quality

When using regular headphones, it’s normal that they are exposed to a significant amount of wear and tear due to daily use for extended periods of time. It’s also pretty annoying having to replace a broken pair of headphones when the damage could have been avoided in the first place if you just bought a more durable model.

That’s why when it comes to headphones for swimming, the risk of it breaking down is significantly higher due to it being constantly exposed to the element of water. Make sure that the headphones you purchase are constructed out of the higher quality materials and are preferably from reputable manufacturers.

It helps to check out reviews from other users to see the different experiences people have with the device and how it performs in action.



There are many factors to consider for swimming headphones, with its Ingress Protection rating and overall build quality being the most important.

For ideal results, you’ll want headphones with:

An IP rating of at least IPx8
A comfortable form factor that reliably fits your ears
Battery life that encompasses your entire swimming routine/duration
High build quality and durable construction

Picking out the right headphones for swimming needs a lot more attention and thought if you want the best possible swimming experience. Hopefully this guide helped you in achieving that.

Stewart Thurlow

Stewart Thurlow

I once shared a lift with Meryl Streep & Julianne Moore. Oh, & Victoria Beckham smiled at me. UK Editor for ADDICTED.
Stewart Thurlow