Are Hearing Aids Waterproof?

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

As a swimmer, you enjoy being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to swim). The water seems a bit…louder… than usual today. And then you recognize your oversight: you went into 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. Usually, 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

In general 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 problem if you get a little water on them. 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 device is given a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.

The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) represents how resistant your device is to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have really good resistance to dry erosion and will be ok under water for about 30 minutes.

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

Is water resistance worthwhile?

Your hearing aids have sophisticated technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Normally, 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 overly humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of a swimming pool, but there are some scenarios where a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:

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

This list is just a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your day-to-day life and determine just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.

Your hearing aids need to be taken care of

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

You may, in some scenarios, need to purchase a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.

What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?

Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you will want to completely let your hearing aid dry and consult with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.

The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a picture of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids 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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