The 4 Best Ways To Listen To Music in a Sauna

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Listening to music in the sauna, while difficult, is possible. Whether you’re thinking of using headphones, a Bluetooth speaker, or mounting higher-end speakers within a sauna, you’re going to have to think through the specific challenges of the sauna environment to find something that works well.  

The best ways to listen to music in a sauna are sauna-proof headphones, a portable speaker, a sauna speaker system, or your smartphone. That said, the hardware is going to break or malfunction eventually unless it’s specifically rated for use in saunas.  

For many sauna-users, listening to music in a sauna enhances the experience and deepens relaxation. If you are among the sauna music lovers, you most certainly can do so by using one of these four ways to listen to music in the sauna. Let’s look into some of the details about how to pull this off and how to do it right.

What Are Your Options for Listening to Music in a Sauna?

Lounge interior in wooden sauna house

It makes sense to want to listen to music in a sauna. Both saunas and music are relaxing. Different studies indicate that saunas are great for relieving stress and boosting mental health and that certain types of music also relieve stress and improve mental health.

Unfortunately, listening to music in a sauna is trickier than you might think. It’s not the music itself that is difficult but the device that plays it. The most convenient devices for playing music are electronic, and using electronics in a sauna is generally a bad idea.

The sauna environment is detrimental to electronics. Saunas are very hot. Traditional saunas boast temperatures of 150-195 degrees Fahrenheit (65-90 degrees Celsius).

At temperatures between 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit (49-60 degrees Celsius), infrared saunas are cooler, but not by much as far as electronics are concerned. Both types of saunas are too hot for electronic devices, causing them to overheat and fail.  

Not only are saunas hot; they’re moist. They produce dry heat, with traditional saunas creating short bursts of steam when you pour water on the rocks in the heater, but because of the heat, you sweat while you’re in the sauna. Any type of moisture can either seep inside your devices or cause condensation to form inside them, leading to short-circuiting and rusting.

It is difficult to listen to music in a sauna, but you do have some options. As you’ll see, some are better than others. We’ll explore them now so you can decide whether or not you want to listen to music in the sauna and, if so, how you want to try to do it.

Use Sauna-Proof Headphones

Because they are electronic devices, it’s not recommended to use any type of headphones in a sauna. As mentioned above, the sauna environment is too hot and moist. Heat and moisture will either cause your headphones to shut down quickly or break beyond repair. The electronic components inside headphones can warp, fry, melt, and/or short-circuit.

It’s especially important to avoid Bluetooth headphones. They use lithium-ion batteries, which can explode when exposed to excessive heat. Not only will this destroy your expensive headphones, but it could also seriously harm you.

If you still need more convincing, consider the moisture you’d expose your headphones to. Humidity and perspiration insidiously roll into the tiny microphone and speaker holes in your headphones. Any amount of moisture can short-circuit the electronic components as well as cause metal parts to rust.

What are the Best Headphones for Sauna Use?

Handsome young sportsman with bare torso and towel listening to music in headphones on red studio background

If you are adamant about listening to music with headphones in the sauna, there are some models that claim to be sauna-friendly. Good models to try are the Aeropex AfterShokz Headphones (on Amazon) and the Aeropex Titanium Bone Conduction Headphones (on Amazon).

Both of these headphones are designed to hold up to heat—even the high heat of a sauna—for short periods of time. While they can withstand a bit of sweat, they still shouldn’t be subjected to excessive moisture and thus are probably better suited for infrared saunas than traditional saunas.

Both of these Aeropex headphones use bone conduction, which means that the sound travels to your inner ear through your cheekbones rather than your ear canal. This leaves your ears open, which can be helpful if you want to have a conversation with someone in the sauna.

If you’re trying to block out other people’s conversations while you’re relaxing in the sauna, though, you’d be better off using earplugs (they block noise, are cheap, and won’t break).

Take a Speaker in with You

While not ideal, you could take a speaker into your sauna room. If you have your own private sauna, you don’t have to be concerned about others. If you’re in a public sauna, though, using a speaker is poor sauna etiquette and is downright rude. Not everyone wants to listen to music while they’re enjoying the quietude of the sauna, and not everyone has the same taste in music.

What if everyone in the sauna wants to hear your music or you are using a private sauna? Using a speaker won’t be obnoxious, but you do need to be cautious for another reason.

Speakers are electronics, so they’re vulnerable to heat and moisture in the same way headphones and other devices are. Take care in choosing which type of speaker you use in the sauna.

Look for speakers that are rugged and tough, able to withstand the extreme sauna environment. A good option is the Muzen Wild Mini Rugged Outdoor Speaker (on Amazon). One caveat with this one is that it uses Bluetooth technology. As we explored above, their lithium-ion batteries can overheat and explode. Keep your session short if you’re using a speaker like this one.

Some JBL speakers may also work; however, their simple waterproof speakers aren’t rated for being outdoors or in intense heat, so they may malfunction. You’d be better off with the more robust JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker (on Amazon). The same Bluetooth warning does apply here.

If you decide that using a speaker is a good option but don’t want to risk using a portable speaker system, you do have another option.

Install a Sauna Speaker System

Installing a sauna speaker system connected to a stereo or radio outside the sauna is probably the best and safest option for you and your electronic devices. While speakers are electronic and thus prone to damage from heat and moisture, dedicated sauna speakers are much more likely to hold up to the environment than regular speakers.

You can mount your sauna speakers almost anywhere in your sauna. Mount them on a wall, ceiling, or, if you don’t want them to be visible, under a sauna bench.

Be sure to place them on or near an outside wall so you can drill a small hole to run the cord through and out of your sauna to an outlet on the other side. (Then, remember to caulk or otherwise seal the hole to prevent heat loss.)

While you can buy waterproof Bluetooth speakers so you don’t have to deal with wiring, remember that Bluetooth technology is not designed for high-heat environments and may cause your device to easily overheat, shut down or completely break, and possibly even explode.

Instead, look for weatherproof speakers designed for use in hot, humid environments. A great choice for sauna speakers is the Polk Audio RC65i 2-Way Premium In-Wall 6.5″ Speakers (on Amazon). These are described as suitable for sauna use and can withstand hot, moist environments.

Sauna speaker systems tend to be a bit pricey. However, when you consider how expensive it would quickly become to replace your other electronic devices, the price of a dedicated sauna speaker system might not seem so bad. You can listen to the music you want, enjoy great sound quality, and relax knowing that you’re not damaging or destroying your devices.

Listen on Your Smartphone 

While frequently people save the best option for last, in this case, we saved the worst option for last. Taking your smartphone with you into the hot, moisture-intensive sauna environment is very bad for your device and can quickly ruin a very expensive and important piece of equipment.

At best, you won’t be able to listen to music with your smartphone for long. Phones protect themselves from overheating by shutting down. Electronic devices like smartphones are vulnerable to heat, and they overheat and turn off quickly.

This is because they generate heat of their own when they’re operating—including playing music. And because they have many metal components, they also conduct heat. Even if you weren’t using your phone for music, the metal parts would conduct the sauna’s heat, causing your phone to shut down. Furthermore, phones don’t have built-in fans to cool their internal parts.

Don’t forget about moisture inside the sauna, whether that is steam in a traditional sauna or your own perspiration. Sure, newer smartphones are rated as waterproof and can even withstand submersion.

They are waterproof, but they aren’t condensation-proof. The hot, humid sauna room will cause condensation to occur within the phone. Condensation kills electronic devices such as phones.

Smartphones’ own generated heat, the sauna’s heat they conduct, their lack of an internal cooling system, and their susceptibility to condensation are a deadly combination. We recommend that you don’t listen to music in a sauna by using your smartphone.

Can You Wear AirPods in the Sauna? 

AirPods are popular for many reasons, but sauna use is not one of them. Do not wear AirPods in the sauna. They cannot handle the heat and humidity and will break.

Final Thoughts

If listening to music in the sauna will help you relax and de-stress, by all means, tune in happily. Of the ways to listen to music in a sauna we’ve explored here, installing a sauna speaker system is the way to go.

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