Gilberts Audiology & Hearing Aid Center - Oklahoma

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

You enjoy swimming and are all about being in the water. When you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water seems a bit… louder… than usual. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t really certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.

In the majority of cases, you’re right to be a bit concerned. Hearing aids are frequently constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. 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 clean and dry is the best way to keep them in good working order. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the established water resistance figure and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.

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

The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second digit which signifies the device’s resistance to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and work for about thirty minutes in water.

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 advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Typically, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or hop in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in overly 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 where a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:

  • You have a passion for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
  • If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
  • If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment
  • You have a record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you take a shower or go out into the rain

This is surely not an exhaustive list. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be sufficient for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.

Your hearing aids need to be cared for

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

In some situations, that could mean purchasing a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best benefits, 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 completely allow your hearing aids to 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 aid will give you a picture 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. The drier your hearing devices remain, 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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