Spending time in a sauna offers many health benefits – from detoxification and stress relief to improved circulation and joint pain relief. Listening to your favorite music or podcasts can make the sauna experience even more enjoyable and relaxing. However, high levels of heat and humidity inside saunas can easily damage headphones not designed for such conditions.

Using regular headphones in a sauna is risky. But new advances in audio technology have produced headphones that can withstand the demands of sauna use. This guide covers everything you need to know about using headphones safely in a sauna, plus recommendations for the best sauna-proof headphone models.

An Overview of Sauna Conditions

Before exploring suitable headphones, it helps to understand the environment inside a sauna.

Saunas heat air or water to produce dry or wet heat. Here are the typical conditions:

Dry Sauna

  • Temperature range: 150°F to 195°F
  • Humidity level: 10% to 20%

Wet Sauna

  • Temperature range: 110°F to 125°F
  • Humidity level: 40% to 60%

These high heat levels and humid conditions in wet saunas can damage electronics and audio components not built for such extremes.

Risks of Using Regular Headphones in a Sauna

While it may seem harmless to wear your regular headphones in a sauna, most are not designed to handle sauna conditions. Doing so comes with several risks:

Overheating batteries – The lithium-ion batteries in wireless headphones can overheat and fail above 140°F. Sauna temperatures far exceed this limit.

Moisture damage – Humidity and steam can condense inside headphones, leading to corrosion, electrical shorts, and failed components.

Mold and bacteria growth – The warm, moist environment promotes mold, fungus, and bacteria growth on headphone pads and inside nooks and crannies.

Permanent damage – Excessive heat and moisture cause cumulative damage each time headphones are exposed. Eventual failure is inevitable.

Voided warranties – Using headphones in conditions beyond manufacturer limits voids most factory warranties. Sauna damage will require out-of-pocket repair costs.

The risks apply to all headphones including sports headphones designed for workouts. Sweat resistance does not equal sauna or steam room protection.

Sauna-Proof Headphone Features

To withstand sauna conditions without damage, headphones require specific moisture protection and material technologies:

  • High IP rating – Look for waterproof IPX7 or IPX8 ratings.
  • Tight seals – Prevent steam from entering earcups and drivers.
  • Sweat/water resistance – Repels moisture and dries quickly.
  • Sauna-safe materials – Plastic, rubber and titanium withstand heat better than leather or foam.
  • Replaceable batteries – Allows switching out batteries once they lose capacity.
  • Moisture sensors – Detect incoming damage before it ruins headphones.

Best Headphone Types for Sauna Use

You have three main headphone style choices for listening in a sauna:

1. Bone Conduction Headphones

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Bone conduction headphones transmit sound by vibrating the cheekbones instead of the eardrums. AfterShokz is the most recognized bone conduction brand.

Benefits

  • Don’t cover ears so you can still hear ambient sounds. Safer for solo sauna use.
  • Stay cool around ears. Titanium bands minimize heat absorption.
  • Allow free airflow to keep head and ears cooler.

Drawbacks

  • Limited high volume capabilities. Sound quality lags behind conventional headphones.
  • Fit is not as secure and comfortable as earbuds.

2. Over-Ear Headphones

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Over-ear headphones surround the ears with padded cups. Popular examples are Beats Studio and Sony WH-1000XM5.

Benefits

  • Sealed earcups block heat and moisture when properly designed for sauna use.
  • Comfortable for long wear.
  • Often provide better sound quality and noise cancellation.

Drawbacks

  • Earcups can get hot next to skin.
  • Sweat and moisture stay trapped inside earcups.
  • No ambient sound awareness. Higher safety risk.

3. True Wireless Earbuds

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Completely wireless earbuds sit inside the ear canal for direct sound. Apple AirPods are the most ubiquitious example.

Benefits

  • Super portable and easy to wear in saunas.
  • Custom tip sizing for secure moisture-sealed fit.
  • Exposure to heat/moisture only in ear canal itself.

Drawbacks

  • Higher loss risk in public saunas.
  • Limited high volume capabilities.
  • Battery case must also be sauna proof.

Top Sauna-Proof Headphones

Based on sauna-focused design, proven durability, and customer reviews, here are top headphone recommendations:

AfterShokz Open Ear Bone Conduction Headphones

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Aftershokz Titanium Open Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones (Black)
  • Rebranding Update - Aftershokz has been renamed as Shokz. Welcome to SHOKZ!
  • BONE CONDUCTION TECHNOLOGY - Our bone conduction technology and OpenFit design delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring your ears remain completely open to ambient sounds for maximum situational awareness during long-term wear.
  • BLUETOOTH CONNECTIVITY - Modern wireless headphones with Bluetooth v4.1 connectivity and convenient multipoint pairing compatible with your iOS and Android Bluetooth-ready smartphones or tablets and Mac and PC computers and laptops.
  • DESIGNED FOR LONG WEAR - Trekz Titanium wraparound headbands are lightweight and flexible to ensure maximum comfort during extended wear. Combined with a long battery life, this compact, slim fit allows you to enjoy continuous music and calls for six hours at a time.
  • QUALITY SOUND - Innovative AfterShokz headphones deliver a premium audio experience. With PremiumPitch technology that delivers a wide dynamic range and rich bass, and LeakSlayer technology to significantly reduce natural sound leakage, you are ensured the best on-the-go audio.

Last update on 2024-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Models: Aeropex, Titanium, Air

AfterShokz markets their headphones for sauna and open water use. The open ear design allows hearing ambient sounds for safety. Sweatproof performance and bone conduction technology deliver quality sound without overheating ears.

Key features:

  • IP55-IP67 waterproof ratings. Withstand total immersion.
  • Flexible, lightweight titanium headband.
  • Guided bone conduction sound to cheekbones. Leaves ears open.
  • 8 hour battery life. Quick charge ready.
  • Bluetooth connectivity and built-in mic for calls.

JBL Endurance Peak II

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JBL Endurance Peak 3 - True Wireless Headphones (Black), Small
  • JBL Pure Bass Sound: Get the most out of your favorite workout playlist with rich bass from a 10mm dynamic driver that delivers bold sound when you need it most.
  • Up to 50 total hours of playback with speed charge: Whether you measure your energy output in miles, pounds, or minutes, the JBL Endurance Peak 3 can match you beat for beat, with up to10 hours of battery power in the earbuds and 40 in the case. And when you need a boost, speed charge up to an hour of playtime in just 10 minutes.
  • IP68 dust and water proof: An IP68 rating means the JBL Endurance Peak 3 earbuds are ready for your most active adventures, rain or shine. And they'll endure for 30 minutes at depths up to 1.5 meters of salt or fresh water. So you can surf with your earbuds, or rinse them after a workout, all without missing a beat.
  • Ambient Aware & Talk Thru: Whether you're out for a run or in the zone at the gym, TalkThru makes it easy to make and hear calls anywhere. And with Ambient Aware, you can stay alert to your surroundings without removing your headphones.
  • 4-Mic Crisp, Clear Calls: Even on a windy bike trail, your voice will be heard thanks to dual beamforming mics in each ear help to ensure clear communication.

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JBL designed the Endurance Peak II for intense workouts and water use. The adjustable, over-ear hooks provide a secure fit for saunas.

Key features:

  • IPX7 waterproof rating.
  • Flexible hook design creates stable fit.
  • 30 hours total battery life.
  • Powerful bass performance.

Jabra Elite Active 75t

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Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Bluetooth, Navy – Earbuds for Running and Sport, Charging...
  • SECURE ACTIVE FIT – We scanned thousands of ears to create the best-fitting earbuds for a sport that we’ve ever created, with a special grip coating to make sure they stay in while you move; Plus, they’re sweat proof and waterproof with IP57-rated protection
  • ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION: With these noise cancelling earbuds, you can filter out the world and focus on your music; Use the Jabra Sound plus App to activate ANC the first time you use it and enable toggling between ANC and Hear Through via your Earbud button
  • CRYSTAL-CLEAR CALLS – 4 microphones, the latest digital signal processing and pioneering beam form technology mean these Jabra earbuds offer great call quality wherever you are; Plus, they’re compatible with Siri, Google, and Alexa
  • LONG BATTERY LIFE – With Jabra Elite Active 75t wireless Bluetooth earbuds, you get up to 24 hours of battery time (ANC on) with the pocket-friendly charging case, the Elite 75t earphones let you take calls and play music while staying connected
  • MY SOUND IS YOUR SOUND – Our latest pioneering technology tests your hearing in the Jabra Sound plus app, and tailors your music to suit your individual hearing profile; My Sound makes the music you love even better

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Jabra’s Elite Active model earbuds are optimized for active lifestyles and wet environments like saunas. Just avoid full submersion.

Key features:

  • IP57 dustproof and water resistant rating.
  • Customizable EarGels for secure fit.
  • Around 7.5 hours battery life per charge.
  • Audio prompts indicate moisture detected.
  • Active noise cancellation capability.

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 3150

Plantronics - BackBeat PRO 5100 True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds (Poly) - Listen to Music & Take...
  • True Wireless Design: Unleash your music and calls with true wireless earbuds designed to deliver a freeing listening experience wherever life takes you.
  • Single or Dual Use: Use left, right or both earbuds when you want to listen to music or take calls while staying connected to your surroundings.
  • Long Lasting Comfort: Long-lasting comfort with tiny, ultra-lightweight earbuds and unique eartips that create a snug seal without deeply penetrating the ear canal.
  • Noise Canceling Mics: Cancel disruptive background noise with four noise-canceling mics while our exclusive WindSmart technology detects wind and responds accordingly so your voice comes through clear, especially outdoors.
  • Compatibility: Listen/Talk/Standby Time - Up to 6.5 hours listen time, Up to 4 hours talk time. Roaming Range - Up to 33 feet/10 meters. Charge Time - Up to 2 hours for full charge, Up to 3 hours for full charge of earbuds and charging case.

Last update on 2024-04-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Affordable and durable, these behind-the-neck wireless earbuds by Plantronics work great in saunas.

Key features:

  • IP57 dustproof and waterproof rating.
  • P2i nano-coating protects components from moisture.
  • Flexible and stable fit with ear gels and fin.
  • Up to 7 hours listening per charge.
  • Sound isolating to hear content clearly.

Precautions for Safe Headphone Use in Saunas

To avoid headaches, damage, or safety risks, follow these precautions when using headphones in saunas:

  • Never exceed time limits – Limit sauna sessions with headphones to 10-15 minutes.
  • Thoroughly dry after use – Gently dry headphones with a towel after exiting saunas. Allow to further air dry.
  • Clean regularly – Disinfect headphones and replace earpads regularly to prevent mold growth.
  • Avoid sealed earbuds – Opt for open earbud designs you can easily remove. Avoid trapped moisture risks.
  • Listen for trouble – Distorted or reduced sound can indicate moisture damage.
  • Prevent moisture traps – Store headphones in hard cases, not bags, to allow ventilation.
  • Gradual cooling – Slowly transition headphones to lower temperatures. Avoid condensation from quick cooling.

Finding the Right Sauna Headphones for You

Choosing the best headphones for your sauna comes down to:

  • Intended use – Do you need waterproof headphones for the shower and hot tub too? Or just for occasional sauna relaxation?
  • Headphone style – On-ear, over-ear and bone conduction each have pros and cons to weigh.
  • Sound quality needs – Assess audio quality requirements. Bone conduction models are limited on high fidelity sound.
  • Comfort and fit – Make sure headphones stay secure and don’t get too hot against your skin.
  • Budget – Costs range from $50 to $250+ for sauna-proof headphone models.

No headphones are totally indestructible. But following sauna headphone best practices helps ensure you can relax and enjoy your music without damage. Treat your headphones with care and inspect them regularly for any issues.

Conclusion

While regular headphones often can’t survive steam, heat and humidity – specialized sauna headphones do exist. Look for waterproof ratings like IPX7 or IPX8 and sweat-resistant materials. Popular sauna headphone options include AfterShokz bone conduction, JBL Endurance, and Jabra Elite Active models. Follow usage precautions and any manufacturer guidelines for sauna use. Finally, replace headphones at the first sign of lowered audio quality or moisture damage before problems worsen. Your headphones will thank you by continuing to deliver amazing sound.