Hearing Health Blog

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. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to swim). Today, the water seems a little… louder… than usual. And then you recognize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.

Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Hearing aids are frequently built with some level of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.

Water resistance ratings and hearing aids

Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But some hearing aids are made so a little splatter here and there won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the established water resistance number and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.

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

The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second digit which signifies the device’s resistance to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and function for about thirty minutes in water.

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

Is water resistance worthwhile?

Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Ordinarily, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go swimming or hop into 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 circumstances where it can be useful:

  • You have a passion for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could call for high IP rated hearing aids
  • You have a track record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you shower or go out into the rain
  • If you perspire substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
  • If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid

This list is only the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and identify just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.

Your hearing aids need to be taken care of

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

In some cases, that might mean purchasing a dehumidifier. In other cases, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place at night (it depends on your climate). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.

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

If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you will want to completely let your hearing aid dry and consult with us to make certain 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 stay, 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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