Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL

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

As a swimmer, you love being in the water. When you were younger, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water sounds a bit… louder… than normal. And then you recognize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t really sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.

Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.

Water resistance ratings and hearing aids

Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept dry and clean. But some hearing aids are manufactured so a little splash here and there won’t be a big deal. The IP rating is the official water resistance number and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.

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

The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which signifies the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device that has 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 completely 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. 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, avoid using them 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 circumstances where it can be useful:

  • If you have a heavy sweating issue
  • You have a track record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you take a shower or walk out into the rain
  • If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively humid
  • You have a passion for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat could call for high IP rated hearing aids

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, what level of water resistance will be enough for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.

Your hearing aids need to be cared for

It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.

You might, in some circumstances, need to get a dehumidifier. In other cases, it might just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place every night (it depends on your climate). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.

What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?

If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to remain 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 find out if there is any damage.

The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. 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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