Woman with hearing aids in her ears wearing a backpack overlooking a lake on a summer day.

You love swimming and are all about going into the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to swim). The water seems a little…louder… than usual today. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.

In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a little concerned. Hearing aids are frequently constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a lot different than a device that’s waterproof.

Hearing aids and water resistance ratings

In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept clean and dry. But some hearing aids are made so a little splatter here and there won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the official water resistance number and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.

The IP number works by giving every device a two digit number. The first digit signifies the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.

The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second digit which represents the device’s resistance to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and function for about thirty minutes in water.

Although there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.

Is water resistance worthwhile?

The sophisticated electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Normally, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in excessively humid weather. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some situations where a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:

  • If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet climate
  • If you have a heavy sweating issue
  • You have a passion for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
  • You have a track record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you shower or go out into the rain

This list is only a small sample. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be adequate for your daily life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.

Your hearing aids need to be taken care of

Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.

In some situations, that might mean purchasing a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a clean dry place every night (depending on your climate). And it will be necessary to thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.

If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?

Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out completely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.

The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At the very least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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