Can You Use Headphones in The Shower?


There are many different ways to listen to your tunes in the bath or shower these days. From Bluetooth speakers to Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices, listening to music, podcasts, and radio in your bathroom has never been easier. But the question is, can you use your headphones in the shower?

You can wear headphones in the shower so long as they are waterproof. This means you should get a pair with an IPX rating of IPX7 or better.

Why would I want to use my headphones in the shower?

You may think you have the best taste in music in the world, but your family may not. They may also not be overly fond of your choice in boybands or heavy metal. Listening to music on speakers is a sure-fire way to rub other people up the wrong way, especially if you like your tunes loud. 

Then there’s the embarrassment factor. Maybe you are ashamed of the fact that you still listen to New Kids on the Block? Maybe your neighbours are elderly and like their peace and quiet? There are hundreds of different reasons to want to keep your music choice personal with a set of headphones. 

But there is some good news. There is a wide choice of headphones out there today that is rated as waterproof. Most are designed for outdoor use (in rain) or for swimming, but they will equally do for a quick blast in the shower. 

What are waterproof and water-resistant headphones?

earbuds in water

Waterproof and water-resistant headphones are headphones that are have some level of water resistance. While no headphones are truly 100% waterproof (they need to get the sound out through holes somehow) they can be made to resist all but the most intense of deluges. We will talk more about levels of water-resistance in a minute but first let’s chat about features:

  • In-ear only: Nearly all waterproof headphones are of the in-ear variety. This is because over the ear headphones are bigger and less easy to be able to be made watertight. They are also more cumbersome and sound quality is likely to be easier to contaminate (water drops make a hell of a noise) than their in-ear cousins.
  • The sound quality needs to be better: This leads to sound quality in general. If you want your headphones to be able to drown out (forgive the pun) the sound of the shower, you need to make sure that the quality is good enough in the first place and that the volume of noise the headset makes is sufficiently high. 
  • Durability: Any water-resistant headphones need to be durable enough to take a beating and keep waterproof. You are far more likely to batter headphones around in the shower than you are under normal everyday use (sitting in a chair chilling doesn’t really compare) so having a robust pair of headphones is essential. 
  • Be a good fit and comfortable: This rule stands for both in shower use as well as any other type of use, but ill-fitting headphones in wet environments can become uncomfortable really quickly. Make sure you get a good quality pair and use the right size earpiece (most will come with a selection) for your ear.
  • Waterproof: And we come to the most important feature of waterproof headphones, they must be waterproof to the level that you need them to be. It’s no good getting a slightly water-resistant pair if you are going to completely submerge them. Check the IPX rating and make sure you get the right one for your intended usage.

What is an IPX rating?

IPX stands for Ingress Protection or International Protection and is a standardized measure of how much a device is protected from liquids, dust, or other foreign objects. The X in the rating is normally proceeded by a number signifying the magnitude of protection the device has. You may have seen smartphones, smartwatches, and other electronic devices sporting an IPX rating, and headphones are no different. To make the device waterproof it will be treated with a variety of coatings and may have rubber seals along the seams.

Each level of IPX will be suitable for different environments with some offering light protection right up to almost 100% waterproofing where the device is able to withstand total submergence… at least for a short period of time. Knowing the rating of a device and what it is suitable for is vital before you head into your shower, so here is a list of the most common IPX ratings and where you can use them: 

  • IPX0: This rating (or lack of rating) simply means that the device has no protection of any kind against liquids or dust. If you have a device with this rating DO NOT TAKE IT INTO YOUR SHOWER. Unless you want to break it, that is.
  • IPX1: IPX1 means your headphones have low protection against liquids and dust. It will not take a deluge (by any means) but will protect against light showers and infrequent water droplets that hit at 90 degrees. This level of water-resistance is most suitable for outdoor running to protect against sweat and a little rain. 
  • IPX2: IPX2 offers a little more water droplet protection and should be able to withstand drops hitting at a 15-degree angle for up to ten minutes. Again, this rating is best suited to light outdoor work where rain or sweat may be a problem.  
  • IPX3: IPX3 gives protection from water droplets hitting at 60 degrees. While still not offering enough defense for a shower, it can be used for a slightly more prolonged period of time in the rain. 
  • IPX4: This is the first water-resistance rating that offers total protection from liquids hitting it from any direction… but only for short periods of time – like a splash of water that is cleaned up quickly. 
  • IPX5: IPX5 is where serious water-resistance kicks in and can protect your headphones for 10 minutes from light water spray from any direction. Still not quite good enough for shower usage.
  • IPX6: IPX6 is suited to 3 minutes of powerful jet water. If you shower quickly, this might do… 
  • IPX7: Looking for a longer shower? Then this IPX rating allows for total submersion for thirty minutes.
  • IPX8: This rating is suitable for continuous submersion… dependent on the criteria set out by the manufacturer (such as water depth).
  • IPX9: IPX9 is the badass of water resistance and offers almost total water protection from all types of water invasion, including hot, steaming jets of water. 

Obviously, to be able to use your headphones in the shower, you are going to need at least an IPX7 rating or higher.

Does Bluetooth work in the shower?

Yes, of course it does. Bluetooth is just a form of wireless technology and can easily permeate through water. If you have a metal bath this may cause some interference but for those with a regular porcelain or plastic bath, there should be no problems at all. In fact, most water-resistant headphones employ Bluetooth because they are generally designed to be separate from the device you are streaming music from. After all, you don’t want to have to take your phone into the shower with you too. 

My headphones have a warranty. Does it cover water damage? 

This is not an easy question to answer. While any headset that has an IPX rating will be guaranteed to work to the level of waterproofing stated, if you use it outside the recommended parameters the warranty will probably be declared null and void. If the headphones were not designed to be waterproof in the first place, then no warranty on the planet will cover them for water damage. Don’t take them into the shower.

Best Budget Waterproof Headphones

Swimbuds SPORT

Swimbuds SPORT

SwimBuds is a popular brand of waterproof headphones for swimmers due to the high level of water protection they provide. They are comfortable and come with a wide range (seriously, I’ve never seen so many) of earpieces to ensure a great fit.

They may not be the cheapest waterproof headphones you can buy but with great sound quality, they aren’t vastly expensive too. Check out the latest price on Amazon.

They are an easy recommendation for the best budget waterproof headphones available right now. The only problem with the Swimbuds is that they are wired so you will need a waterproof MP3 player or mobile phone to be able to enjoy them whilst showering.

Best Premium Waterproof headphones

Jabra Elite Active 75t

Jabra Elite Active 75t

The Jabra Elite Active 75t headphones are not only a great set of waterproof headphones, but they are also a great set of headphones, period. Sound quality is excellent, and they sport an IPX7 rating for full water submersion up to thirty minutes. They are fully wireless (Bluetooth), extremely comfortable, and have great battery life. They are expensive but the quality shines through.

Check current price on Amazon.

Can you get electrocuted using headphones in a wet environment?

The short answer is yes… but the voltage within most headphones is so low that you would barely feel it. If your headphones are waterproof, then they should be shielded from the water and you shouldn’t have to worry. If they aren’t… well don’t use them in wet environments.

Conclusion…

If you must wear headphones in the shower, this is perfectly possible, and current technology can produce great sound quality and water protection. The thing to weigh up is whether the cost of water protection (which is generally higher for quality headphones) is worth it or if there is a better way to get your tunes while you wash.

Rune Bearson

As you can see, I love my headphones! I use them every day when commuting, watching YouTube videos, playing guitar/piano and doing chores. I'm a podcast addict and I like all kinds of music from metal to chillout ambient.

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