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, everyone said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water seems a little… louder… than normal. 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, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.

Hearing aids and water resistance ratings

Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in good working order. But some hearing aids are made so a little splatter now and then won’t be a big deal. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.

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

The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) represents how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely strong resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for around a half hour.

Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof.

Is water resistance worthwhile?

The sophisticated electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t mesh well with water. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in excessively 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:

  • You have a history of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you take a shower or walk out into the rain
  • You have a passion for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could warrant high IP rated hearing aids
  • If you have a heavy sweating issue
  • If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet environment

This is surely not a complete list. Of course, what level of water resistance will be enough for your day-to-day life will only be able to be identified 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 dry and clean.

You may, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a clean dry place at night (depending on your climate). But some types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids completely.

What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?

Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you need to panic if your hearing aid gets 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 thoroughly and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.

The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you an idea of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. At least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids 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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