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

As a swimmer, you enjoy going in the water. When you were younger, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a little…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you notice you may have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t really certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.

In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a bit concerned. Normally, contemporary 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

Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept dry and clean. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.

Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is assigned a two-digit number. The first number represents the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.

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 higher this number is. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.

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

Is water resistance worthwhile?

The advanced electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t do well with water. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in overly humid weather. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of a swimming pool, but there are some circumstances in which a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:

  • If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet environment
  • If you have a heavy sweating issue
  • There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
  • You enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray

This is surely not a complete list. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be enough for your daily life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.

You have to care for your hearing aids

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

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

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 stay calm. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out thoroughly and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you find out if there is any damage.

How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated 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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