Bose updating SoundSport Wireless headphones after some units experience problems with heavy sweat

If you've had issues with the new SoundSport Wireless, Bose will replace your unit free of charge with an updated model that will arrive at the end of August.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Mobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
3 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

A few weeks ago I contacted Bose about some comments I saw on Amazon about people experiencing problems with the company's new SoundSport Wireless headphones, which I'd rated very highly. The problems seemed to be related to sweat, or more precisely heavy sweat.

I did my best to replicate the problems, using the headphones on more than a dozen runs (I tend to go about four miles), some of them in temperatures over 80 degrees. I sweat, though apparently not enough. I've had no problems with the headphones -- they continue to work perfectly -- and there are plenty of 5-star reviews on Amazon from people who apparently love the product.

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The updated version of the SoundSport Wireless will be available in August.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose reps promised to get back to me once the company received any "problem" units and were able to ascertain what was going wrong, if anything.

Well, the company has now responded to my inquiry. Bob Maresca, Bose's president and CEO, contacted me to let me know that Bose's engineers tore down every returned headphone and did extensive analysis to understand what was happening.

For the vast majority of SoundSport owners, he said, the product was delivering on its promise. However, "we found that SoundSport is sweat and weather resistant, but for a small percentage of people it wasn't working right under pretty specific conditions related to heavy sweat and moisture," Maresca said.

Maresca didn't specify exactly what the problem was, but he said Bose's engineers worked on it and have now found a solution that "will be part of all SoundSports in the future, and they'll be ready at the end of August." (This means the upcoming SoundSport Pulse, which is due to arrive in September, will get the update).

Customers who contact the Bose about the problem will get a new, updated SoundSport Wireless free of charge. "If they need a sport headphone between now and when we ship," Maresca added, "we'll send them a wired SoundSport, also free of charge."

Bose will also be reaching out to customers who've returned their SoundSport Wireless units and were sent a replacement. They'll be offered the option of receiving an updated SoundSport Wireless (when it comes out), even if they haven't had any problems with their replacement headphones. If impacted customers want a refund, Bose will honor that request with no questions asked, a Bose spokesperson informed CNET.

Maresca said he's talked to a few customers directly who've called Bose's customer service team. "Our priority is to do whatever we need to make it right," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's a small percentage or not. We want everyone who bought a SoundSport wireless to have a great experience, and we're all obsessing over that now, including me."

This is not the first time Bose has experienced an issue with one of its in-ear headphones. A few years back, when it released its first in-ear model, users experienced problems with the tips staying attached to the buds. The company came up with an updated design and offered to replace any tips free of charge.

While we await the update to the SoundSport Wireless CNET will remove the Editors' Choice award from our review. If there are no issues with the updated headphone, we'll reinstate the award.

Watch this: Bose SoundSport Wireless: The Bluetooth sports headphone to beat