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

You enjoy swimming and are all about going into the water. When you were a kid, 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.

In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a little worried. Normally, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water isn’t 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 good working order. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splatter now and then won’t be a problem. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.

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

The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) signifies how resistant your device is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and work for about thirty minutes in water.

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

Is water resistance worthwhile?

The intricate electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Typically, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or jump in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in excessively humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t help much, but there are other situations where it can be useful:

  • There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
  • If you perspire substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
  • You have a proclivity for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
  • If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment

This is surely not an exhaustive list. Naturally, what level of water resistance will be enough for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.

Your hearing aids need to be taken care of

It’s important to note that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.

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

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? Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t help anything anyway. But you will want to completely allow your hearing aids to dry and consult with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.

How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. At least, try to remember to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. 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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