Sweat doesn’t care that your headphones are Sony MDR 1000 X’s. It doesn’t give a crap whether they’re Beats, Bose or Sennheisers, either. You could have paid £20 for a pair or £2,000. Sweat is a little shit for breaking even premium brand headphones.
Most manufacturers will advise you not to exercise in their headphones as moisture damage caused by excess sweating creates two problems:
Firstly, sweat is corrosive. It’ll start to break down the cushioning material on the cans making them look ugly, wrinkled and cracked and way older than they actually are. They’re going to start smelling pretty bad, too.
Secondly, it’s game-over (or rather it’s sound-over) once moisture seeps into the internal electronic components of your headphones. They’ll start crackling, then the sound will drop in and out and then they’re going to stop working altogether. Sweat damage isn’t something that’s usually covered under warranty, and it’s why manufacturers are so quick to tell you not to wear them for exercise.
We told you sweat was a little shit.
It’s Not Just Sony
It’s annoying because we were really impressed by the MX 1000x headphones. Sony has really upped its game over the last few years, and these are easily en par with Bose both for noise-cancellation and for sound quality.
Incidentally, Bose headphones are just as vulnerable to moisture damage and unlike Sennheiser, neither Sony nor Bose have replaceable cups. A quick look on Reddit, however, did unearth a thread showing that it was possible to replace Sony cushions but it’s not an official fix and probably not the best idea if you’re not confident in partially dismantling a pair of £300+ cans.
The only headphones directly addressing the problem of sweat damage is the UA Sports Wireless Train Headphones Project Rock Edition: a collaboration between Under Armor and semi-retired WWE wrestler and action movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
These headphones are designed for the gym and they’re sweat-resistant BUT the focus isn’t sound quality (although the sound isn’t bad) it’s on moisture resistance and having a tight fit on the headband. So it’s a compromise: workout in your Sony headphones and risk ruining them OR buy specific gym headphones that don’t have active noise-cancellation and that weren’t built for audiophiles. You could maybe buy both, but with the Rock’s headphones coming in at around £200, it’s not an ideal economic solution. It’s hardly Sophie’s choice but there has to be a better answer.
(Spoiler alert: There is...).
For those of us who work out regularly, music is important. It can help boost athletic performance by up to 15%. Presumably, it was a love of music that lead you to buy a pair of Sony MX 1000s (Or Bose or Sennheiser) headphones: sound quality must be important to you. So when you’ve got premium brand headphones, then you should be able to use them. It’s got to seriously suck if you have to swap out your good ones for a cheaper pair.
So how can you protect your headphones from sweat damage?
You Can Leave Your Headphones at Home.
This is certainly a 100% sure-fire way to protect your Sony’s from sweat damage. Only, it’s not really helpful, is it? It’s a bit like buying a car and then never driving it because you’re too scared it’ll get scratched. Sometimes ownership is enough to incite pleasure but for most of us, it’s the joy of actually using a thing that gives us that kick. It seems ridiculous to pay £300+ for Sony 1000X Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones and then to have to turn up to the gym with nothing on your ears or (possibly worse) a far inferior pair.
EarHugz Protect Against Sweat Damage
Ear hugs are sweat-resistant headphone covers with Ultra-Stretch, MAX-DRI™ + Machine Washable fabric to wick moisture away from your headphones. They come in a range of awesome designs and are all 100% reversible to black. From each sale £1 is donated to the Mental Health Foundation. Earhugz are the only way to protect your Sony headphones from sweat damage allowing you to exercise hard and enjoy superb sound quality without the risk of damaging your Sony’s. This is the only proactive solution to the problem of moisture damage on premium branded headphones and a pair of Ear Hugz will cost you far, far less money than a replacement. There’s no more leaving your cans in your gym locker, on the backseat of your car or at home, and there’s no more compromising on sound quality.
Wiping down Your Headphone Cushions
Moisture isn’t just an issue for breaking down the cushions on your headphones; it’s a hygiene issue, too. Sweat itself doesn’t cause bacteria but it is an ideal breeding ground for germs and if you’re wearing something on or over your ears then it can cause exercise-induced acne or (if you’re prone to them) middle-ear infections.
It’s important, therefore, to keep your cushions fresh and clean. Wiping them down with an antibacterial wipe will help reduce germs and it’ll help to stop unpleasant odours from forming. The problem? Antibacterial wipes won’t stop sweat getting into your headphones and wrecking them from the inside. So whilst your cushions will be hygienic, your headphones are still at the risk of breaking.
Switch to In-Earphones or Earbuds
This is one of the more popular alternatives and the one most touted in internet forums: don’t even risk your headphones and stick a pair of earphones in instead. Earphones are cheaper, easier to carry around and they’ve improved their sound quality in recent years. The problem is that this isn’t a solution, it’s an alternative. Earbuds can be uncomfortable for many people, and they can be hard to keep in during exercise because it’s certainly not a case of one-size-fits-all. You’re going to suffer some kind of downgrade on sound quality, too.
Ultimately, your Sony headphones weren’t designed for the gym. And yet the gym is probably one of the few places where the MX 1000 comes into its own: cancelling out the grunter working the free weights, stopping Hey Macarena bleeding through from the Zumba class upstairs or the trance-muzak piping through the gym’s PA system, allowing you to enjoy your own playlist.
EarHugz are the only real solution to this problem. Simple and effective, these headphone covers can be as discreet or as bold as you’d like and they come at the fraction of the cost of replacing a whole new pair of headphones.