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 a kid, everybody 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 then you recognize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.

Usually, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are often designed with some degree of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.

Water resistance ratings and hearing aids

Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept clean and dry. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splatter here and there won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the established water resistance number and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.

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

The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which represents the device’s resistance to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have very strong resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for about 30 minutes.

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

Is water resistance worthwhile?

The intricate electronics inside your hearing aid case won’t do well with water. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will definitely 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 the pool, but there are some scenarios in which a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:

  • If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
  • 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 generate over-spray
  • If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively 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 determine just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.

Your hearing aids need to be cared for

Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.

You might, in some scenarios, need to purchase a dehumidifier. In other cases, 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 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 need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you will want to completely allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.

The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you an idea of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.

The content of this blog is the intellectual property of MedPB.com and is reprinted here with permission.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a personalized free hearing test and hearing loss consultation, call today to set up an appointment.
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