It’s great to listen to music while exercising if your exercise is running or hitting the gym, but what if you like to swim? Electronics aren’t made to work well in the water, which can be challenging. But unlike a few years ago, it’s not impossible, and modern technology has made it relatively easy. So, how can you listen to music while swimming?
The best way to listen to music while swimming is to get some kind of waterproof music player. There are great waterproof MP3 players, and some earphones are also waterproof. A few of these MP3 players are already built into bone conduction headphones, like Shokz OpenSwim, making it much easier.
Even though some earphones are waterproof, not all of them can be used for swimming, so you should double-check that your devices will work before trying to swim with them. They may not take damage, but you won’t necessarily be able to listen to music while swimming. Let’s look at the best ways to take your music into the water with you.
Challenges for Listening to Music While Swimming
There are a few reasons why it can be challenging to listen to music while you’re swimming, and you will have to keep all of them in mind when you shop for the right equipment.
Electronics Don’t Like Water
This part is obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Even electronics with a high water resistance rating aren’t always safe to swim with. This means you might not be able to take your phone or earphones, or even your smartwatch, into the water with you. Your devices will need a rating of at least IP68 or 5ATM before you can consider swimming with it.
Bluetooth Doesn’t Like Water
Bluetooth devices use the 2.4GHz radio frequency to connect and send data. At this frequency, water molecules attenuate the signal, meaning your Bluetooth range (usually about 30 feet or 10 meters) drops to just a few inches. This makes Bluetooth earphones unsuitable for swimming.
Wi-Fi Also Loses Signal Strength Underwater
If you like to stream your music, podcasts, or audiobooks, you might have trouble when swimming since Wi-Fi signals also struggle underwater. You will probably need a music player with locally downloaded music, such as an MP3 player or a device that lets you download music from apps like Spotify or Apple Music.
The Best Ways to Listen to Music While Swimming
Now that we understand the limitations, we can look at the best ways to overcome them.
Bone Conduction Headphones with Music Players
Bone conduction headphones are fast becoming the most popular option with most athletes for various reasons, and they are great for swimmers, too.
Bone conduction headphones don’t have speakers. Instead of sending sound vibrations through the air like regular earphones, they pass vibrations directly into your skull, leaving your ears open. This means you can still wear your earplugs, and you will be able to hear your music clearly.
Shokz’s OpenSwim is a popular choice for swimmers. The OpenSwim isn’t compatible with Bluetooth, which isn’t a problem if you only use it while swimming. Instead, it has 4GB of storage to load your favorite MP3s. It’s a complete MP3 player with built-in bone conduction and an IP68 water resistance rating, so it’s fine in up to 2 meters of water.
Remember that bone conduction headphones can’t currently match the sound quality of regular earphones or headphones. Though they’ve improved considerably over the last few years, you will notice a difference in quality. However, if it’s only for swimming and you already have headphones or earphones for day-to-day listening, they are probably your best option.
Equipment Using Special Radio Frequencies
We’ve seen that most radio frequencies that we use for our devices, like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, don’t work well under water. But there are a few frequencies that are less susceptible to water interference, and there are some specialist headphones that use those frequencies.
A notable example is the Zygo Solo. It’s a set of waterproof air conduction headphones with an in-ear design that can stream music from your phone. But instead of streaming directly from your phone, the Solo Swim comes with a transmitter. Your phone sends the audio through Bluetooth to the transmitter, which then transmits it to your earphones using a radio frequency that works underwater.
It is rated to work for up to 50 meters under one or two feet of water, which is much better than the few inches offered by Bluetooth. It also works very well, though you might notice some audio break-ups when you move more than 35 meters away from the transmitter.
One of the primary benefits of this option is that you can listen to any of your existing playlists in any streaming app of your choice; you don’t have to struggle with MP3 conversions and transfers.
Waterproof MP3 Players and Earphones
Understanding the needs of swimmers, some manufacturers invest time and money into developing equipment designed for use underwater. A waterproof MP3 player with wired earphones can be a great way to listen to music while swimming.
However, remember that your earphones also carry electronic signals, so you can’t just use any earphones in the pool. They must be waterproof, too, and they must have a waterproof connection point with your MP3 player.
SYRYN’s waterproof MP3 player is an excellent example. It’s a compact device that’s easy to keep with you in the pool. Its controls are simple, so you can easily play, pause, skip, or shuffle between your songs. You simply connect it to a PC or MAC to transfer MP3, AAC, FLAC, or M4A files you want to listen to. It doesn’t support music streaming or apps but has 8GB of storage space.
You can also get it in a bundle with SYRYN’s own Swimbuds – water-resistant earbuds that fit in your ears in such a way that they minimize drag while swimming. The downside is that you have to make a plan with the cable, but the package includes some clips to help with this.
If you don’t like bone conduction, either because of the lower sound quality or because you don’t like the vibrating sensation against your skin, a waterproof MP3 player and earbuds are the easiest and most efficient option.
H2O Audio Interval
The H2O Audio Interval is a waterproof device designed to play music from an Apple Watch. This might be an option if you have an Apple Watch that you take into the pool.
It attaches to your swim cap and plays music through built-in earbuds. You can then play any pre-downloaded music on your Apple Watch and listen to it over the H2O Audio Interval while swimming. Bluetooth still connects because there isn’t much distance between your Watch and the device.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it works quite well most of the time because of the proximity between your Apple Watch and the Audio Interval. It can be quite expensive if you don’t currently own an Apple Watch, though.
Waterproof Micro Tablets
This might be a good solution if you don’t have an Apple Watch. Micro tablets are a bit like smartwatches. They have touchscreens and usually run Android, so it’s possible to install apps like Spotify and Audible on them and download what you want to listen to (since Wi-Fi won’t work well underwater, you can’t stream).
Most of them have headphone sockets, so you can connect some waterproof earphones and listen to music that way.
The Delphin Micro Tablet is a good example. It runs Android 5.1, which is quite old but still supports Spotify and Audible, for example. It’s available with either 8GB or 16GB of storage space, and the package also includes a set of waterproof earbuds designed for swimmers.
A benefit of these micro tablets is that they could also have benefits outside of listening to music. They have access to app stores, so you can install a few other apps that might be useful during the day. But they aren’t premium devices, so don’t expect full smartwatch capabilities.
Waterproof Phone Cases
Probably the most straightforward option is just to get a waterproof phone case. Delphin, the manufacturer of the Micro Tablet we just looked at, also manufactures waterproof cases for various phones, usually with armbands included. Combine that with waterproof earbuds, and you’re all set to listen to music while swimming.
Just a few years ago, listening to music while swimming meant taking a radio or Hi-Fi system to the pool with you and barely hearing the music when you went underwater. But modern technology has made it easy for us. Using some combination of waterproof devices or bone conduction headphones, you will find a method that works perfectly for you.