Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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, everybody said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a little…louder… than normal today. And then you realize your oversight: you went into 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. Normally, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.

Hearing aids and water resistance ratings

Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But some hearing aids are made so a little splatter here and there won’t be a big deal. The IP rating is the established water resistance figure and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.

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

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 higher this number is. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and work for about thirty minutes in water.

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

Is water resistance worthwhile?

The intricate electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Normally, 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 overly humid weather. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some situations where a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:

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

This is surely not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and decide just what sort of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.

You have to take care of your hearing aids

It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.

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

What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?

Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you need to panic if your hearing aid gets 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 determine if there is any damage.

How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. At least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.

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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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