Are Hearing Aids Waterproof?

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

As a swimmer, you love going in the water. When you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water seems a bit… louder… than usual. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.

In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a bit worried. Usually, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.

Water resistance ratings and hearing aids

In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept clean and dry. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splash now and then won’t be a big deal. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.

Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is given a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other forms of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.

The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second digit which signifies the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.

Some contemporary hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof.

Is water resistance worthwhile?

The advanced electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t mesh well with water. Ordinarily, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or hop into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in overly humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some situations in which a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:

  • You have a passion for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat may warrant high IP rated hearing aids
  • If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet environment
  • If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
  • You have a history of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you shower or go out into the rain

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and determine just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.

Your hearing aids need to be taken care of

It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.

You may, in some circumstances, need to purchase a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain kinds of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best results, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.

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

If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.

How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.

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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