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

You love swimming and are all about being in the water. When you were younger, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a little…louder… than usual today. And that’s when you notice you may have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.

In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a little concerned. Usually, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water is not 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 dry and clean. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the established water resistance figure and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.

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

The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second digit which represents the hearing aid’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 around thirty minutes in water.

Although there aren’t any hearing aids currently 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 electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Ordinarily, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or jump into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside 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 circumstances where it can be useful:

  • If you have a heavy sweating problem
  • You love boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
  • You have a record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you take a shower or walk out into the rain
  • If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet climate

This list is just a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your daily life and figure out just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.

You have to take care of your hearing aids

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

In some circumstances, that could mean investing in a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.

What can 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? Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t improve anything anyway. But you will want to completely let your hearing aid dry and check in with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.

The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of 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 you can.

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