Evanston Audiology - Evanston, 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 a kid, everyone 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 don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.

In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a little concerned. Usually, modern 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

In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept clean and dry. But some hearing aids are manufactured so a little splatter here and there won’t be a big deal. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.

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

The second digit (and the one we’re really considering 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 quite resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.

Although there are no hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.

Is water resistance worthwhile?

Your hearing aids have advanced technology 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, sit outside 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:

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

This is surely not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and figure out just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your life.

Your hearing aids need to be taken care of

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

You may, in some situations, need to purchase a dehumidifier. In other cases, it might just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place every night (depending on your climate). But certain types of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids completely.

If your hearing aids get wet, what should you do?

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 help anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.

The IP rating on your hearing device will give you an idea of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. At least, try not to forget 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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