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 a kid, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to swim). Today, the water seems a bit… louder… than usual. 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 certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.

In the majority of cases, you’re right to be a little concerned. Hearing aids are often built with some amount of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.

Hearing aids and water resistance ratings

Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in good working order. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. 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 hearing aid is assigned a two-digit number. The first number signifies the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.

The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.

Although there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.

Is water resistance worthwhile?

The sophisticated electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t do well with water. Before you go swimming 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 help much, but there are other circumstances where it can be useful:

  • If you have a heavy sweating issue
  • You have a passion for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat might warrant high IP rated hearing aids
  • There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
  • If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively humid

This is certainly not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your day-to-day life and figure out just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.

You have to take care of your hearing aids

It’s important to mention that water-resistant doesn’t 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.

You might, in some scenarios, need to get a dehumidifier. In other cases, it might just mean keeping your hearing aids in a clean dry place every night (it depends on your climate). But some types of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.

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? 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 consult 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. At the very least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.

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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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