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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 regularly you wanted to swim). The water seems a little…louder… than usual today. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t really certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.

In most scenarios, you’re right to be a bit worried. Hearing aids are often built with some amount of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.

Hearing aids and water resistance ratings

Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept clean and dry. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.

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

The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have very strong resistance to dry erosion and will be ok under water for around a half hour.

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

Is water resistance worthwhile?

Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Typically, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump into the shower or depending on the IP rating, sit outside in excessively 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 situations where a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:

  • If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet climate
  • You have a history of forgetting to take your hearing aids out 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)
  • You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray

This is certainly not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and decide just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.

You have to take care of your hearing aids

It’s important to note that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.

You might, in some circumstances, need to get 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 (like sweat), so to get the best results, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.

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

Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid 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 enough time to dry out completely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.

How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. At least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.

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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.