Are hearing aids waterproof?

Contributed by Debbie Clason, staff writer, Healthy Hearing

While it would certainly be a nice perk if hearing aids were waterproof, unfortunately, there are few truly waterproof hearing aids currently available on the market. Instead, most hearing aids are water-resistant, which means they should not be submerged in water but can handle a little bit of moisture.

Most hearing aids are water-resistant, not waterproof

Moisture is no friend to the delicate electronic parts of these expensive devices. Hearing aid components work best when they are kept clean and dry, just like smartphones and laptops.

That's why most hearing aid manufacturers do not recommend submerging any of their devices in water. In fact, some of the counseling you’ll receive from your hearing healthcare professional includes information about how to keep moisture away from your hearing aids.

More: How to protect your hearing aids from water

How water-resistant are your hearing aids?

All hearing aids receive two "IP" ratings from 1 to 8 to determine how resistant they are to dust and water, from the International Electrotechnical Commission. The first digit rates the degree of protection against debris, such as dust or sand, and is rated on a scale of 1-7. The second digit, rated on a scale from 1-9, indicates how resistant the electrical device is to moisture. It's the second digit that indicates how water-resistant a device is.

A hearing aid with an IP67 rating, for example, means it is highly protected against solid objects such as sand or dust and has been tested to work for at least 30 minutes in water less than three feet deep. Any number lower than that means the devices can't withstand any sort of immersion. Here's a handy scale relating to the water-resistant rating (the X is used when the first number, the debris rating, isn't known).

When purchasing a new pair of hearing aids, discuss the IP rating with your hearing care practitioner.

Do you need water-resistant hearing aids?

Is owning a hearing aid with a high IP rating for moisture in your best interests? It might be worth considering if:

  • You perspire heavily. If you’re constantly wiping perspiration from your face during work or play, your hearing aids are probably exposed to more moisture than most.
  • You live in humid/wet climates or enjoy water-related hobbies such as boating or fishing.
  • You are forgetful or absent-minded. Some hearing aid wearers say their devices are so comfortable, they completely forget to take them out before they step into the shower.

Remember, dry hearing aids work best

Even if you don’t fit into one of those categories, it’s always a good idea to keep your hearing aids as dry and clean as possible. The following nighttime regimen will help extend their life and keep them working efficiently.

  • Wipe them down. Before you go to bed each night, wipe the entire device with a dry, dust-free cloth. If your hearing aids are rechargeable, dock them following instructions.
  • For hearing aids with disposable batteries, keep the battery compartment door open until the following morning. This allows any moisture they may have collected during the day to evaporate overnight.
  • Invest in a dehumidifier, if needed. This inexpensive piece of equipment is a good place to store your hearing aids overnight. Ask your hearing healthcare professional for their recommendation or search for one at your local drugstore.

If you’re still confused about what type of hearing aids are best for you, discuss it with your hearing healthcare professional or make an appointment with a clinic in our online directory. Be sure to share as much about your lifestyle as possible, so they can help you choose the best devices for your hearing loss, budget and listening environments.

Today’s hearing devices are technological marvels. Chances are, even though completely waterproof devices are not available, water-resistant models are capable of enduring most of what life has to offer.

Reprinted with permission. Copyright Healthy Hearing (www.healthyhearing.com). Original article: https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52887-The-basics-of-waterproof-hearing-aids

Do you need waterproof hearing aids? Learn about waterproof and water resistant hearing aids and how to keep your devices working their best.