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

As a swimmer, you love going in 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). Today, the water sounds a little… louder… than normal. And that’s when you realize you may have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely sure those little electronic devices are waterproof.

Normally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Hearing aids are typically constructed with some level of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water isn’t 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 clean and dry. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splash here and there won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the established water resistance number and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.

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

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

Some contemporary 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 advanced electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in excessively humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t help much, but there are other scenarios where it can be useful:

  • If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
  • If the climate 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
  • There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower

This is surely not an exhaustive list. Naturally, what level of water resistance will be adequate for your daily life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.

You have to care for your hearing aids

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

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

What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?

If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out entirely 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. If you can avoid 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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