Waterproof headphones aren't some futuristic dream device. They're here today, providing swimmers, scuba divers and snorkelers opportunities to listen to their favorite music while enjoying the water.
Pair Your Waterproof Accessories
Headphones are only one part of the equation; to enjoy your music underwater, you'll need to make sure you have a waterproof audio player or a waterproof kit for your audio player. Some waterproof audio players only work with their own branded headphones, so make sure you consult the manufacturers' specifications to ensure your waterproof audio player can use third-party headphones. In some cases, you'll need a player and headphones made by the same company.
Check the Seal
Waterproof headphones use very different designs from traditional headphones. Headphones drive sound by vibrating air against your eardrums. Waterproof headphones generally attempt to form a waterproof seal in your ear canal to prevent water from leaking in and interfering with the sound. Not all under-water headphones are alike, though, so read about specific models to see how the manufacturer addresses moving sound through water.
Headphones that form a good seal in the ear are generally preferable to waterproof headphones that don't, as they're more comfortable and tend to provide better sound. However, if you do much deep-water listening, this type of headphone can be a liability. The seal breaks at certain pressures, and it can also damage your eardrums as the water pressure changes.
Look for Frequency Response
Because of variations in design, you'll find a vast range of quality levels among waterproof headphones. Some low-end headphones are inexpensive but provide very poor frequency response, which almost makes it impossible to listen to music underwater. High-end headphones produce superior sound and responsiveness, but you'll pay a premium for that improved sound. Frequency response is the best way to measure quality. A range of 20Hz to 20,000Hz (or 20kHz) covers everything the human ear can hear. For music, a range of 80Hz to 5,000Hz (or 5kHz) provides good reproduction.
Waterproof, not Water-Resistant
Be very careful when shopping for headphones to distinguish between waterproof and water-resistant. Some unscrupulous manufacturers advertise waterproof headphones, but when you read the product specifications, you find that they are merely water-resistant. In other cases, headphones are rated to function in water but only to a certain depth. Make sure you read all of the product specifications to make sure that the headphones you select are going to meet your needs.
Keep Your Headphones on
If you're engaging in a very active underwater pursuit, such as surfing or diving, you may need to invest in accessories for your headphones. Even the best headphones can pop out of the ears if you're engaging in heavy physical activity with interference, such as swimming in the ocean. You may need to invest in a swim cap to pull down over your ears to help keep earbuds in, and make sure you tuck the cord under your swimsuit to resist drag.
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