Are Hearing Aids Waterproof?

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 younger, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water seems a little… louder… than usual. And that’s when you notice you might have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.

In most scenarios, you’re right to be a little concerned. Usually, contemporary 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

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 established water resistance figure and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.

Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is assigned a two-digit number. The first digit represents the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other types of dry erosion.

The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second digit 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 about 30 minutes.

Some modern hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are totally waterproof.

Is water resistance worthwhile?

Your hearing aids have advanced electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in overly 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 enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
  • You have a track record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you take a shower or go out into the rain
  • If you have a heavy sweating issue
  • If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment

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

Your hearing aids need to be taken care of

It’s important to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.

You might, in some scenarios, need to get a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean keeping your hearing aids in a clean dry place every night (depending on your climate). And it will be necessary to thoroughly 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 remain calm. But you will want to completely allow your hearing aids to dry and consult with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.

How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, 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.