Are Hearing Aids Waterproof?

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. When you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. 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 most scenarios, you’re right to be a bit worried. Hearing aids are frequently built with some degree of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.

Water resistance ratings and hearing aids

Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.

The IP number works by assigning every device 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 interested in though, is the second digit which represents the device’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 really resistant to sand and function for about 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?

The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Ordinarily, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go for a swim or hop in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside 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:

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

This list is only the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your daily life and determine just what sort of water resistance is strong enough for your life.

You have to take care of your hearing aids

It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be in your best interest to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.

In some cases, that might mean obtaining a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean 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.

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

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 identify if there is any damage.

The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you an idea 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 remain, the better.

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.