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

You enjoy swimming and are all about going into the water. When you were younger, 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 usual today. And then you recognize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.

Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Hearing aids are typically designed with some amount of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is much 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 dry and clean. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splatter now and then won’t be a big deal. The IP rating is the established water resistance figure and identifies 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 types of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.

The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your device is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have really strong resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for about 30 minutes.

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

Is water resistance worthwhile?

The advanced electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. 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 circumstances where it can be useful:

  • You love boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
  • If you have a heavy sweating issue
  • If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment
  • There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower

This is surely not a complete list. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be sufficient for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.

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. In other circumstances, it might just mean storing your hearing aids in a nice dry place at night (depending on your climate). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by some 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? Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you will want to carefully let your hearing aid dry and consult with us to make sure 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 when it comes to possible water damage. At least, try to remember to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.

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