Saunas are a place where you have 15 to 20 minutes to relax. Some people want to catch up on reading but if you didn’t know it already, the environment inside a sauna with the sweating and the moisture is not suitable for books. So, your next best option is to listen to music or an audiobook.
That is a common go-to for most people, and you want to plug in your earphones or AirPods so that you don’t disturb others in the sauna. But we’re here to tell you that it’s a bad move too.
Here’s the gist of it. AirPods are not meant to be used in a sauna or a steam room because they are not made to withstand the sweat and moisture that’s inevitable in these places.
And you should know how the warranty works if and when you make this mistake. Let’s dive into the details.
Are AirPods Okay to Use in a Steam Room?
Steam rooms have traditional heating mechanisms. This includes, as the name suggests, steam which means the atmosphere will be very humid. When your AirPods come into contact with this level of moisture, they will get damaged. And Apple’s manufacturer warranty doesn’t cover this type of damage.
The first thing to know about AirPods is that they have a rating called IPX4 which means they can handle splashes from different directions, but they are not waterproof.
If you want to put that in perspective, IPX5 rating is given to electronics that can resist a jet spray with sustained but low pressure. IPX6 rating is for electronics that can resist heavy sprays of high-pressure water jets. And IPX6K is for electronics that can handle extremely high-pressure jet spray.
Add to that, the temperature in a sauna is typically at least 110 degrees F. And Apple says that the maximum temperature your AirPods can handle is 113 degrees F. That’s cutting it close, isn’t it? You may think 15 to 20 minutes is not a long time. But, first of all, any exposure to such high temperatures kills their battery life.
Second, think of it this way. If your phone isn’t water resistant, would you leave it wet for 15 to 20 minutes? The same logic can be extrapolated to AirPods as well. Now, steam rooms have a lot of moisture as well. So, that’s another problem in addition to the heat because now you’re also risking corrosion.
So, when you look at the big picture, you will realize that you’re fighting a losing battle if you take the AirPods into a steam room. It’s also good to remember that all electronics are designed to battle regular ups and downs in the weather. The atmosphere in a steam room or a sauna is extreme.
Steam rooms also have a lot of splashes of water and your AirPods can’t withstand even that because they are “resistant” at best and not waterproof. Since AirPods are not waterproof or heatproof, it would be foolish to expect them to be just fine.
Even brand new AirPods can’t fight these extreme conditions simply because they aren’t meant to. And your warranty ensures that this is a pricey mistake to make. Now, it’s possible that someone you know has tried this and their AirPods were just fine. But that’s just a matter of luck. You can’t assume that it’ll work the same way for you.
Are They Waterproof?
As mentioned earlier, AirPods are not waterproof, but they are water resistant. How does that help? Water resistance gives you a little wiggle room. You could go for a vigorous workout and sweat a little without worrying about damage to your AirPods.
Since they are water resistant, they can handle small splashes of sweat. You might also be okay if you go for a run when it’s raining. But that’s still a bit of a risk. And over time, the level of water resistance will drop anyway. So, if your AirPods are old, be extra careful.
Will Your Ears Hurt If You Wear AirPods in a Steam Room?
Your AirPods are powered by lithium-ion batteries. While some people have confirmed that their ears hurt, this isn’t a common occurrence. Users have also reported AirPods getting overheated and even catching fire but these are also not common occurrences.
When it does happen, it’s because lithium-ion is made with organic solvents. When these solvents come into contact with oxygen, they combust. That’s why extreme conditions are not a friend to your AirPods. And if you have a set of imitation AirPods, you can expect an increase in that risk.
But what you really have to worry about is that the moisture will leave the nooks and crannies of your AirPods damp, and that’s just perfect for bacteria to grow and lead to infections. The oils and sweat your body releases while you’re in the steam room or sauna aren’t doing you any favors either. Plus, the heat makes it cozy and pathogenic.
What about AirPods in a Dry Sauna?
You might think that with dry saunas, you have circumvented the problem of steam and the water droplets that exist in that environment. Well, you’re wrong because if you look at the big picture, you’re still in an extreme environment that your AirPods aren’t designed to withstand.
Dry saunas recreate an arid climate where static electricity tends to build up. When this reaches a critical point, and it so easily does in a dry sauna, your ears get zapped. Now, that’s not exactly dangerous, but it’s extremely uncomfortable. You’re in the dry sauna, presumably to relax and feel rejuvenated when you get out.
If that’s not going to happen, the purpose of your sauna session is defeated. Apart from that, if you didn’t know it, dry saunas have a temperature range of 150 to 175 degrees F. That’s a lot more than the temperatures in a steam room and it’s almost double the amount of heat Apple says your AirPods can take.
So, when you take AirPods into a dry sauna, whatever advantage you think you might have because of the dryness is offset by the increased heat.
Does Sweat Cause Problems with AirPods?
Let’s not forget that even though dry saunas don’t have steam in the room, you will still sweat profusely. And that’s the point, isn’t it? So, it doesn’t take away the problems your AirPods have with moisture.
Yes, they can take small splashes of water, but the amount of sweating that happens in a dry sauna is no small splash. So, even though the room doesn’t have a lot of moisture, you still have the problem because of your own sweat.
It also helps to remember that sweat is salt water which is a good conductor of heat. And that’s the last thing you want in a sauna or steam room. So, your AirPods’ wiring may get compromised and you’ll have problems charging and/or connecting it.
Will Your Ears Hurt If You Wear AirPods in a Dry Sauna?
Dry saunas may work differently in terms of moisture, but the problems with respect to using AirPods here don’t change drastically. The facts are that AirPods are still made of lithium-ion batteries, and they still don’t work well with heat. Now, it is low risk, but it exists and unless you want to take a chance, don’t take them in.
And since the temperature in a dry sauna is a lot more than a steam room, the battery will act out at a higher rate. You’ll also see the buildup of static electricity in a dry sauna, and even here, it’s not dangerous, but it’s definitely uncomfortable.
Do You Have Better Options?
No manufacturer makes earphones especially for sauna use, so here are your options. If you have a private sauna, some of them come with entertainment centers and that’s a good way to go.
If you don’t have that luxury, there are a couple of brands we can recommend that can help you out. You can’t exactly dunk them in water but Aftershokz Aeropex performs better in these conditions compared to AirPods.
This model has an IP67 rating which means it is waterproof. It’s only about one level higher than AirPods, but it’s a step up for sure. This is because the manufacturer uses bone-conduction tech and the products are called bonephones.
There’s some anecdotal evidence that says that these bonephones are a pretty good choice for your sauna sessions. But you should control your session duration, and anecdotal evidence should always be taken with a pinch of salt.
Your other option is Jabra Elite Sport Earbuds which are sleek and comfortable. They are great if you want to wear them in the rain or sweat a lot during a workout. They also have an IP67 rating, which means they’re waterproof.
These earphones go into the ear, which makes them flexible and gives them some protection from the outside environment. That is also the design that makes it easier to clean these earphones. And most importantly, they are made of titanium, which makes them a little more resilient than your AirPods.