Skullcandy doesn’t have the greatest reputation when it comes to manufacturing quality headphones.
They don’t impress audiophiles, anyway. Those trained to spot subtle shifts in mid-tones or the decay of a cymbal will tell you that Skullcandy headphones are very heavy on bass. Overall, it’s a style over substance approach to the development and design of headphones but each to their own. They’re not bad. They’re average but with the redeeming feature of being affordable.
Reviews for the Skullcandy Hesh 3 over-ear headphones have been pretty positive, however, and with an average retail price of £89.99, they’re a decent wireless option for anyone unwilling to spend hundreds of pounds on a pair of cans. The sound quality is reportedly pretty good. The design isn’t cheap looking nor is it flimsy. Its rapid-charge function gives 90 minutes playback from a 5-minute charge, making them ideal for those of us who are always running on low battery. It's fair to say that Skullcandy has released a fairly good wireless headphone.
The problem is that if you’re planning to workout in them then you’re going to face a problem: they’re not sweat-proof headphones.
Sweat is corrosive. The excess moisture caused by exercise will seep into the cushions of the headphone leaving an unpleasant odour before getting into the internal electronics and killing the sound. The Hesh 3 might be a good buy for £89.99 but how often are you willing to replace them?
This isn’t a problem specific to Skullcandy. It’s a common problem with headphones, affecting even the premium brands such as Bose QuietComfort 35 II, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2.0 and Apple Beats. It pissed Dwayne Johnson off so much that he teamed up with sports brand Under Armor to develop the UA ProjectRock Gym headphone which was designed specifically because of what sweat does.
Skullcandy might get away with this more than the premium brands as their range doesn’t cost as much. Maybe we’re willing to accept that we’re going to have to replace them sooner because we didn’t pay as much money for them. Regardless, we should expect our headphones to remain in good working order for as long as possible.
So how can we protect the Skullcandy Hesh 2 Over-Ear Headphone from sweat damage?
It’s a ridiculous thing to say but it’s worth saying: if you don’t want sweat to ruin your headphones in the gym then don’t wear them during your workout. It’s not a helpful answer but it’s true. Premium brand manufacturers often advise customers not to wear headphones during a workout because the warranty won’t cover them when they break. Humans can sweat as much as 1 to 3 litres per hour and over-ear headphones collect sweat which can then seep into the cushions as well as pressing bacteria to your skin. It makes sense to leave your headphones in a gym locker not only to protect the electronics but also to reduce your risk of excise-induced acne.
Of course, this is a stupid answer.
It’s like buying a new car and then never taking it out of the garage in case it gets bumped. Unless you’re a Nana collecting Wedgewood porcelain figurines, then we normally buy things because we want to use them. And if you enjoy listening to music when you workout then why would you want to leave your headphones at home? Music has been shown to improve performance by as much as 15% so what other way is there to protect your cans during exercise?
You want to wear your headphones during a workout without sweat seeping into the cushions and the internal components. What you need is something that’s going to remove moisture before it has a chance to get inside the headphone.
EarHugz are sweat-proof covers that wick moisture away from your headphones. Their Ultra-Stretch, MAX-DRI™ + Machine Washable fabric is entirely compatible with the Skullcandy Hesh 3 as well as with a wide range of other makes, too, including Bose, Beats, Sony, Sennheiser, Phillips and many others. This is where form meets function. Not only will Ear Hugs stop sweat ruining your headphones but they also come in a range of designs and all are fully-reversible so you don’t always have to workout in colour. We all have those days when we’d rather paint everything black.
EarHugz ship worldwide and for each pair purchased they’ll donate £1 to the Mental Health Foundation.
Buying sweat-proof headphone covers is far cheaper than having to keep buying replacement pairs of headphones.
Your other option is to switch your headphones to earphones. Many people do this. Earphones are generally cheaper to buy, they’re easier to throw into a gym bag or pocket and they’re less likely to break due to sweat damage. Of course, not everyone can wear earbuds comfortably. Every ear canal is different but manufacturers design their earphones with the assumption that one size will fit all. For some people, earbuds are difficult to keep in the ear or they’re uncomfortable and ill-fitting especially during exercise. There are also some very specific hygiene issues associated with using earphones which is enough to put anyone off using them.
Earphones do come in a number of sports ranges, however. The Skullcandy Method Wireless Sport Earbud is sweat-resistant with 9 hours of wireless battery, for example. For those with more cash to splash on this make, however, there’s the XTFree BT Sport Earbud which is sweat-resistant and is billed as one of the lightest sports earbuds on the market.
This is a solution only if earphones work for you. If you like listening through on-ear headphones though, switching to earbuds probably isn’t much of a satisfactory answer.
Use Antibacterial Wipes
Another half-answer to the question would be to wipe down your headphone cushions after each workout with an antibacterial wipe. This will help reduce the number of bacteria and it will help to prevent odours from forming. Good headphone hygiene is something we should all be practising regularly, but this is a simple way to help maintain clean and fresh cushions. That being said, it doesn’t stop the sweat from damaging the electronics inside. It could be enough if you don’t sweat hard during a workout. Maybe it’s enough if you never push yourself in the gym. Either way, it’s a partial solution at best.
You can absolutely use your Skullcandy Hesh 3 headphones in the gym but without a proactive approach to protecting your cushions from moisture damage, you’ll be risking them at every workout. The smart choice is to use EarHugz for a longer and healthier relationship with your headphones.