HEARING TIPS

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, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to go swimming). The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you notice you may have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.

In most cases, you’re right to be a little concerned. Hearing aids are frequently constructed with some level of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.

Water resistance ratings and hearing aids

Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in good working order. But for most 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 designated water resistance number.

The IP number works by giving every device a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is represented by the first digit.

The second digit (and the one we’re really interested in here) represents 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 really good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for around 30 minutes.

Although there are no 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. Normally, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in overly 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 situations where it can be useful:

  • There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
  • If you have a heavy sweating problem
  • If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet climate
  • You love boating or other water activities that produce over-spray

This list is just a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your day-to-day life and decide just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.

You have to care for your hearing aids

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

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

If your hearing aids get wet, what can 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 panicking won’t help 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 identify if there is any damage.

The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a picture of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, 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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