Are Headphones Safe In The Sauna?

Do you have a question about the safety of using headphones while you’re in the sauna? We’ve got answers!

Woman relaxing in a sauna

Saunas are a common sight in American gyms. Some people love them, and some people ignore them altogether. But they’re usually there, waiting to lock you in for some good, old-fashioned sweat time.

In some countries, like Finland, there’s a sauna in nearly every home. Honestly, I’m totally on board with that kind of thinking. For me, there’s nothing better than a little downtime after a workout or a long day to set my mind and body at ease.

That makes me sound fancy and sophisticated, doesn’t it? Like I’m a jet-setting European who’s ready to have a top-of-the-line sauna installed next to the veranda in my summer home. I like that imaginary me.

Home sauna

I wasn’t always so evolved in the ways of the sauna. To tell the truth, the first time I tried one, I was bored out of my mind.

It’s one thing to torture yourself on the treadmill for half an hour with five TV screens in your face. We love our media at the gym because it helps us forget that we’re suffering through something uncomfortable. Music and mindless TV shows are our spoonfuls of sugar to make the medicine go down, so to speak.

In the sauna, though, there is nothing to do. All I could think about was how sitting in this hot little room would be so much easier with an audiobook or a playlist to help me pass the time. Seriously. What are you supposed to do? Stare weirdly at your own feet for fifteen minutes?

If you’ve ever wondered whether earbuds are safe in the sauna, you aren’t alone. I did a little digging to find out the rules.

Are Headphones Safe In The Sauna?

Most manufacturers advise that you do not use any electronics in a sauna. This is because the heat and humidity exceed the headphone operating limits.

Depending on the type of sauna and the type of headphones, chances are pretty high that you will end up doing more damage than good. The annoying fact is that both heat and humidity can hurt most headphones.


A “dry sauna” feels like going to Las Vegas in the summer. It is the sensation akin to sticking your face in front of a furnace and taking a deep breath.

The sauna usually maintains a high temperature while introducing a little moisture from water poured over hot stones. You’ve probably seen this in movies. The classic “tssssss” sound of the water instantly evaporating from the rocks happens at the start of just about every sauna scene I can think of.

The problem with headphones here is the battery. Double-check the product warnings on your particular brand. Chances are that you’re supposed to avoid extreme heat if you don’t want to damage the battery life or even destroy the battery altogether. Yes, even a few minutes in the sauna can cause problems, so it’s not worth the risk even for one sitting.

Steam in a sauna


The other type of sauna isn’t called a “wet sauna.” It’s actually called a “steam room.” This is about as humid as submerging your head in the swamps of the Everglades in August. If you’re looking for tons of moisture in the air while you warm your muscles, this is the room you want.

But these saunas can be murder on headphones, it turns out. Even water-resistant ones. “Resistant” isn’t the same thing as “proof,” so your little audio buds aren’t going to be safe from the tiny beads of condensation (yeah, your ears will sweat) that will form on the inside to slowly destroy them.

And then there’s the stuff that will start to grow in your headphones that can transfer to your ears before you know anything has happened. We’re talking mold. We’re talking bacteria. Ever had an ear infection? I’ll bet you don’t want another one.

Again, it is not worth the risk just to listen to fifteen extra minutes of your favorite true crime podcast.

Interesting read – What To Do If You Drop Your AirPod Pro In Water

Steam room

Headphone Warranties And Automatic Defense Systems

Check your headphones’ warranty information. Chances are good there’s something in there about exposing them to extreme temperatures and/or water. This means it’s possible that using them in saunas could void your warranty. So, if you’re using some expensive items, I’d recommend leaving them in your locker until you’re done with the sauna.

Many headphones are even able to detect unfavorable conditions and automatically shut down before anything bad happens. You may have noticed this behavior on your phone, too. It’s super annoying when it happens, but the feature is there to save our devices from all the things that can happen to them in the heat, so I guess we shouldn’t really complain.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that heat and humidity will both do a number on headphones, so it’s best to keep them out of the sauna. Airpods, earbuds, headphones, and whatever else you can find. They are all likely to be in trouble within minutes of being in a sauna.

So, How Am I Supposed To Stay Sane In The Sauna?

Okay, hear me out. At first, visiting the sauna for fifteen silent minutes is beyond boring. It can even be oddly anxiety-inducing the first time you try it. Especially if you’re used to having constant access to distractions. But if you try it a few times, you might find that the quiet time feels great.

Yes, I recommend embracing the silence. Fight through the boredom if you possibly can. The experience of sitting quietly with your thoughts – or with no thoughts at all – is amazing. I didn’t believe it at first, either, but it’s true.

In fact, there are studies that show sitting quietly for a few minutes every day can do wonders for your health. Lower blood pressure. Better memory and brain function. More energy. All the important stuff.

Related article – Best Headphones For Binaural Beats

But if you’re really going nuts, there are other options.


First and foremost, look for a fully “water-proof” description on any device you’re interested in. “Water resistant” isn’t going to be enough. If it’s a water-proof device, then you will likely have an easier time using it in a place like a steam room.

Related article – Are iPhone Headphones Waterproof?

How Hot Is Too Hot?

The next thing you’ll need to check is the temperature your device can handle. A typical dry sauna gets to about 150-195F or 65-90C.

Any audio device that has a warning about extreme temperatures isn’t going to be happy in there. A steam room is slightly cooler at around 110 F or 43C, but that’s still going to be too hot for many headphones. Check the product warnings before jumping in and jamming out.


If you know you’re going to be alone in the sauna (maybe you’re using that personal one you had installed next to the veranda), then you could try a waterproof Bluetooth speaker.

These are often inexpensive and pretty durable, and you can use them to connect to your phone’s Bluetooth if the phone is being stored nearby. Again, you’ll want to double-check the product information on the speaker to make sure the heat won’t be an issue.