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

As a swimmer, you love being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to swim). Today, the water seems a bit… louder… than usual. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.

In most scenarios, you’re right to be a little worried. Usually, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a lot different than a device that’s waterproof.

Water resistance ratings and hearing aids

Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in good working order. But some hearing aids are made so a little splash here and there won’t be a problem. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.

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

The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which signifies the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and work for around 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?

The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t 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 excessively 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 advantageous:

  • If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
  • If you have a heavy sweating problem
  • There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
  • You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray

This is surely not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your daily life and identify just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.

You have to take care of your hearing aids

Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.

In some instances, that might mean obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best results, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids completely.

What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?

If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t help anything anyway. But you will want to carefully let your hearing aid dry and consult with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.

How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. 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.