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

In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a bit concerned. Usually, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a lot 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. The IP rating is the official water resistance figure and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.

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

The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which signifies the device’s resistance 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 very good resistance to dry erosion and will be ok under water for around a half hour.

Some contemporary hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof.

Is water resistance worthwhile?

Your hearing aids have sophisticated electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go for a swim 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 do much good, but there are other scenarios where it can be useful:

  • If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet climate
  • You have a proclivity for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat might call for high IP rated hearing aids
  • 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 sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)

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

Your hearing aids need to be taken care of

Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.

You might, in some scenarios, need to purchase a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain kinds of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.

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

If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to stay calm. 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 find out if there is any damage.

How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. At the very 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.