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

You love swimming and are all about being in the water. When you were younger, everybody said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water sounds a little… louder… than usual. And then you recognize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t really sure those little electronic devices are waterproof.

Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Usually, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.

Hearing aids and water resistance ratings

Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splash here and there won’t be a big deal. The IP rating is the official water resistance figure and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.

The IP number works by assigning every device a two digit number. The first number shows the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other types of dry erosion.

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 higher this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely good resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for around a half hour.

Some modern hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.

Is water resistance worthwhile?

The intricate electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in overly humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t do much good, but there are other situations where it can be useful:

  • If you have a heavy sweating problem
  • You love boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
  • If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
  • You have a track record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you take a shower or walk out into the rain

This is surely not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your day-to-day life and figure out just what sort of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.

Your hearing aids need to be cared for

It’s important to note that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.

In some situations, that might mean investing in a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place at 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 should you do?

If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never helps 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 identify 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. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.

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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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