Music is such an integral part of all our lives—whether you’re pumping some serious weights at the gym and need “Eye of the Tiger” or you just want all of Adele’s feels or you’ve newly discovered the joys of BTS, there’s so much that music can do for you!
Not surprising then that many folks want to carry their music with them into one of the most relaxing spots on earth—the steam room. Many folks love listening to music in the steam room and AirPods have just made it that much easier to achieve this.
However, is it safe to use AirPods in a steam room? After all, electronics and steam don’t mix, right?
Here’s all you need to know about this much-debated topic.
If you’re a fan of quick answers, this section’s for you.
Though AirPods are IPX4-rated (more later on what an IPX rating is), this only makes them water resistant and not waterproof. Therefore, they can resist water penetration up to some extent, but will not survive anything more.
Additionally, the temperature in saunas, even infrared saunas which are supposed to have lower temperatures, is a minimum of 110℉. This is 15℉ higher than the recommended temperature for Apple products.
So, if your AirPods do suffer any damage in the steam room, as a result of the water and heat exposure, the manufacturer’s warranty will not cover it.
Considering that AirPods aren’t exactly the cheapest devices on the planet, it would be wise not to risk a trip to the steam room with your AirPods!
Here’s a more in-depth look at why you shouldn’t carry your AirPods into the steam room.
Steam rooms are moist, hot, humid places—that’s the point of a steam room! All this heat and moistness together are like kryptonite to your AirPods, causing much damage, such as short circuits and even corrosion of parts.
Your AirPods, like most devices, are not built to function in such intense environments. Their primary function is to work efficiently in normal daily conditions and not in steam-room conditions.
This means that they aren’t heatproof, nor are they waterproof.
What this further means is that your AirPods won’t be able to withstand prolonged exposure to all the water droplets in a steam room.
Even if you just bought your AirPods the previous evening and all the water-resistant seals are untouched and whole, the combination of heat and water will make sure that your AirPods don’t do so well in your sauna sesh the next day.
Therefore, there’s no guarantee at all that your AirPods will survive even their first trip to the steam room, as this, by design, is not made to last—that’s not how and where AirPods are meant to be used.
Apple itself clearly states that you shouldn’t be carrying your AirPods into a steam room.
And if Apple has clearly stated this already, there’s no way your warranty is going to cover damage from steam rooms.
Apple’s warranties don’t cover damage caused by accidents, so even if you did tell the Apple rep that you dropped your AirPods into the pool by accident (which is the only plausible explanation in this case—you can’t really say you took your AirPods into a steam room despite Apple’s clear warning!), it’s still an accident and your AirPods will still remain uncovered by the warranty.
So, our two cents?
Taking your AirPods into a steam room is just not worth the risk. Either you’re going to end up damaging it and breaking the bank for repairs, or you’re going to destroy it completely and break two banks to get yourself a new pair.
Your AirPods, however new, shouldn’t be exposed to any conditions that lie beyond Apple’s specifications.
You could be one of the lucky few whose AirPods haven’t given up on them in the steam room—yes, it happens!
But again, it’s not worth the risk to find out if you’re one of the lucky few.
We’d mentioned earlier that AirPods are water resistant and not waterproof.
What does this actually mean?
To be waterproof means to be able to remain completely unaffected when exposed to water, no matter the amount. To be water resistant means to be able to withstand water exposure to some extent, such as sweat or light rain.
Water resistance generally decreases over time; even if you took all the precautions necessary and never exposed your AirPods to water at all, just daily wear and tear is enough to bring down the water-resistance levels.
AirPods, with an IPX4 rating, can only survive occasional, minor water splashes.
An IPX rating is nothing too complicated—it’s merely a system that is used to measure how resistant devices are to environmental conditions. A device’s IPX rating lets you know how your device will fare against environmental conditions such as rain, fog, sunshine, and so on.
Devices with IPX ratings between 4 and 6 are water resistant; IPX7 indicates the ability to withstand temporary immersion whereas IPX8 indicates the ability to withstand prolonged immersion.
Sweating doesn’t damage AirPods too much, but sweating excessively, as you would in a sauna, does.
The high amount of salt in your sweat, together with the copious amounts of sweating you’ll be doing, can damage the internal wiring in your AirPods by causing corrosion. In fact, this is more of an issue than plain water alone can cause.
All this corrosion can further lead to charging and connectivity issues.
Your AirPods’ water and sweat resistance capabilities may not be up to the task, so this is just another reason that goes to show that you shouldn’t be using AirPods in the sauna.
We get the logic—if moisture is the issue, then a dry sauna should be safe, right?
Well, not really. Though there is no moisture, the dry heat in dry saunas can give rise to static electricity, which could cause problems to your AirPods by building up in them—just think of those times you’ve experienced a shock after rubbing your hand against some really dry fabric and touching something else!
In the same way, static electricity builds up in your AirPods, except this time, the shock’s going directly into your ear. That sounds more dangerous than it actually is, but it’s not exactly the world’s safest and most pleasing experience, either.
Even if you put the static electricity issues aside, you’ve still got heat issues to contend with! Dry saunas are even hotter than steam rooms, with temperatures between 150 and 175℉—a whole 80℉ hotter than what your AirPod is meant to withstand!
Though it is rare, there are instances where AirPods have caused injuries.
In steam rooms, the lithium-ion batteries in AirPods have caused them to overheat and even catch fire, in some cases. Lithium-ion batteries are full of organic compounds that will ignite on contact with oxygen; inside the battery itself, these two elements are carefully and strongly separated.
The extreme heat and moisture in a steam room could cause a leak in the lithium-ion battery, releasing oxygen and creating the opportunity for combustion.
This also makes it highly necessary that you buy AirPods from authorized dealers; genuine AirPods rarely face such issues, but that’s not the case with fake AirPods.
Apart from this, your AirPods could give rise to ear infections; the combination of heat, sweat, and plugged earphones which don’t give your ears breathing space is perfect for bacterial growth.
The oil and sweat secreted from your body during a sauna session don’t help the cause, as bacteria feast on these. Even good bacteria become the bad guys in such conditions.
The risk of combusting lithium-ion batteries also exists in dry saunas, but the risk is much lower.
Unfortunately, no sauna-specific earphones have been made as yet, but there are some earphones and headphones with the IPX ratings necessary to make it out of a sauna sesh alive!
These wireless earbuds are designed for sports activities, with an IP67 rating that lets you use them through rain storms and sweat storms. The earbuds feature a titanium composition with an IP55 rating.
The connectivity is great and with two mics in each earbud, you’re assured of crystal-clear sound, while calling and listening to music, without background noise.
The Jabra Elite’s got a portable charging case, though, with 13.5 hours of playtime, you won’t need it much! The sleek and convenient design ensures that they sit well in your ears as well as in your pocket.
If you’re looking for a level up from the Jabra Elite, this is your best bet. The Aftershokz features an IP67 waterproof rating, making it completely waterproof—a sauna is no sweat for these open-ear headphones.
Even better, several users have used these headphones in the sauna and left firsthand accounts of how well they fared.
The headphones’ dust and water protection features mean that the Aftershokz can withstand splashes of water; it can also do you one better and withstand small water jets.
The open-ear bone conduction design ensures that you can enjoy music sans the worry of bacterial ear infections and an 8-hour battery life means uninterrupted music and calls throughout your day.
Unless you’re willing to invest in a pair of Jabra Elite or Aftershokz, it is highly recommended that you don’t take earphones/headphones of any sort into a sauna, wet or dry.
AirPods, as you’ve read so far, are not designed for saunas, as clearly stated by the manufacturer itself.
In any case, a sauna is one of those spaces that give you the opportunity to disconnect from everything, letting you listen to your own thoughts and make sense of them—something this fast-paced world rarely gives you the time or space for anymore.
So leave the electronics behind and give in completely to an immersive experience—your mind (and your wallet) will thank you for it.