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. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to swim). The water seems a bit…louder… than usual today. And that’s when you realize you might have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.

Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water isn’t 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 good working order. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splash now and then won’t be a big deal. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.

Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is assigned a two-digit number. The first digit signifies the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.

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

Although there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.

Is water resistance worthwhile?

Your hearing aids have sophisticated technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. 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, try not to use them in excessively humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t do much good, but there are other situations where it can be useful:

  • If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
  • You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
  • If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
  • You have a history of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or go out into the rain

This list is only the tip of the iceberg. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be adequate for your daily life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.

Your hearing aids need to be cared for

It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.

In some instances, that could mean investing in a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place every night (depending on your climate). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.

What should 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. Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t improve anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out thoroughly and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you find out if there is any damage.

How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated 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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