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Can You Listen to Music While Scuba Diving? What You Need to Know

As we delve deeper into the underwater world, we’re met with deadly silence – the kind that can only be found in the depths of the sea. However, with music being such an integral part of our daily lives, it’s only natural to wonder if we can bring our favorite tunes with us on our underwater adventures.

While the idea of listening to music during scuba diving may seem thrilling, there are several limitations to what is technically feasible at present, as well as genuine safety and practical concerns that make it a less sensible choice. So, while it may be tempting to bring your music along on your underwater adventures, it’s important to consider the practicalities and safety concerns before taking the plunge. Let’s take a dive then, shall we?

Why It Is Better to Avoid Listening to Music While Scuba Diving

Listening to music while scuba diving does sound tempting, however, the bigger question is: Should you? Listening to music can be a distraction from the critical task of monitoring your dive, and it can make it more difficult to communicate with your dive buddy. Plus, it can impair your ability to be aware of your surroundings, including the sounds of your equipment and any potential danger.

Risks of Getting Distracted and Losing Focus

Listening to music can be a distraction, potentially compromising your safety and the safety of those around you. While listening to music it’s fairly easy for you to lose your focus as well as the situational awareness to identify potential dangers brewing in your surroundings.

A diver distracted by music has higher chances of:

  • not paying attention to the air supply and eventually running out of air.
  • getting separated from their dive buddies.
  • not noticing malfunctioning equipment.
  • not monitoring dive time and ascent rate and risk of developing decompression sickness
  • running into inadvertent encounters with aggressive marine life.

Communication Difficulties

Sound waves travel differently underwater than they do in the air, so the music you are listening to while diving can make it more difficult to hear important safety signals such as dive alarms or warnings from other divers. While you are lost in your own world enjoying your favorite song and studying coral reefs you might miss out on your dive buddy trying to convey emergency signals to you, leading to unforeseeable circumstances.

Potential Disorientation

Music can have a powerful effect on the mind and body, and it’s possible that listening to music while scuba diving could cause disorientation or impaired judgment, leading to potentially dangerous situations.

Environmental Impact

It has been scientifically proven that underwater anthropogenic sounds pose a severe threat to marine lifeforms of all levels. Underwater environments are fragile ecosystems, and the use of music no matter how insignificant it may seem can potentially disrupt the natural soundscape and disturb marine life.

Equipment May Add to Bulkiness Concerns

In Scuba diving, the bulkiness of diving gear can present some challenges for divers. Although it’s possible to bring specialized music equipment underwater, these devices can add additional bulk to your diving gear, making it more challenging to move around and adjust your equipment as needed.

Is it possible to listen to music while scuba diving?

There is no widely available music-on-the-go technology specifically catered to Scuba Divers yet because water pressure at diving depths poses a big hindrance. Although generally advised against if you are really pressed on listening to music while diving underwater these may some potential alternatives as listed below:

Waterproof MP3 players:

There currently are commercially available waterproof MP3 players that are suitable only for the surface of the water. Even the sturdiest players have poor water pressure resistance of only IPX8 which means these MP3 players are no good beyond the depth of 1m. It is nowhere even near the Recreational diving limit for divers trained under ISO 24801-2 standards (often called Open Water certification) which are 18 m (59 ft).

Additionally, these devices come with earbuds in the shape of in-ear headphones, which are absolutely not recommended while scuba diving as they pose risks of Barotrauma injuries. The earphones would clog your ears and make it hard to equalize pressure resulting in a ruptured eardrum.

Hence, you should avoid wearing musical equipment that comes with earbud-shaped headphones while scuba diving irrespective of the IPX rating of the equipment.

Specialized Diving Phone Cases

Rigid phone case housings specifically designed for withstanding water pressure at Diving depths do exist. They have been rigorously tested and proven to be waterproof, which means you can take your phone with you when you go diving. They help a lot in taking pictures underwater with your phone without worrying about damaging it. It is also possible to play music through the phone’s speakers but the sound quality will be compromised and can be uncomfortable for your dive buddies.

One thing to keep in mind while looking for Waterproof Phone Housings is to always go for Rigid Housings as they are the most suitable at Scuba Diving depths. The Flexible bag housings are prone to trapping air inside them which can damage your phone underwater.

Full-face diving masks with built-in communication systems:

Some full-face diving masks come equipped with in-built communication systems that allow you to communicate with your dive partner. With a little tweaking, it is possible to add music-playing capabilities to these comm systems.

These systems use bone-conduction technology to transmit sound so they don’t hinder the diver’s ability to hear external sounds. Although, you can expect the music quality to be underwhelming and not pleasant at all.


So to summarize it all, you may be tempted to listen to music while scuba diving, and while our current technology puts a dent in your desires, it may become a reality in the near future.

But if you are to take this old man’s advice I would personally suggest you ditch the idea of listening to music underwater altogether. Setting aside the safety reasons I mentioned above, it’s better to enjoy the otherworldly muffled silence of the submerged kingdom and savor every moment of it in its raw and pure form.

William Dupre

William Dupre

Retired Master Diver with 20+ years of experience and 2100+ logged dives. Presently, spending my time blogging about Diving and checking off locations one by one from my bucket list of dive destinations.

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