Are hearing aids waterproof?
Plus, how to protect your hearing aids in the water
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 other 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.
Are there any waterproof hearing aids?
Yes, Phonak's Audéo Life hearing aid. The manufacturer claims these hearing aids can safely be submerged up to 50 cm (a little under two feet of depth) in pool water, freshwater or saltwater.
How water-resistant are your hearing aids?
To know for sure, find out your hearing aids' IP rating.
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. (The Phonak Life hearing aid is IP68.)
Do you need water-resistant or waterproof hearing aids?
Is owning a hearing aid with a high IP rating for moisture in your best interest? It might be worth considering if:
There’s really no way around it. Unless you opt for a completely waterproof hearing aid, you’ll have to remember to remove yours before jumping in the pool this summer. Moisture damage is one of the major reasons hearing aids are returned for repair.
How do I keep my hearing aids safe when I'm around water?
So how do you keep your hearing aids safe when you’re swimming, boating or playing at the water park? Here are a few tips to keep you involved in the summer fun while protecting your hearing aids at the same time.
Bring hearing aid storage
If you know you’ll be immersed in water, remove your hearing aids and store them in a safe, dry place.
Consider keeping a variety of small, waterproof containers on hand for the season, such as the AidKeeper. Keep one with your sunscreen, sunglasses and other summer fun items so you have it on hand whenever you need it. Look for these containers, in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes, in the water sports department of sporting goods stores. They’re inexpensive so you can buy several to keep in the car, the boat, at the lake, or wherever you may find yourself in a wet situation. In a pinch, try using a zippered plastic baggie. They aren’t always completely water tight, but they may keep your hearing aids dry enough in an emergency situation.
Get hearing aid sleeves and clips
If you’ll be playing around water–but not in it–consider purchasing a hearing aid accessory, like a sleeve or cord, to wear for the occasion.
Sleeves fit most hearing aid models and are made of water-resistant spandex nylon. The sleeve protects the hearing aid amplifier, case, controls and battery compartment from moisture and other environmental elements, while still allowing sound to enter the microphone. Although these sleeves won’t protect your hearing aid if it’s completely immersed in water, they will help minimize the damage from excessive perspiration–as well as the misdirected stream from your grandson’s water gun.
Cords attach to the hearing aid sleeve and clip to your shirt or jacket. This prevents your hearing aid from accidentally falling into the water or onto a hard surface where it can be damaged.
Invest in a hearing aid dryer
Even if you’re as careful as can be, there’s always the possibility that you’ll accidentally drop your hearing aid in the bathroom sink or jump into the pool without remembering to remove them first. If this happens, don’t panic. Take them out of the water immediately and dry them off as quickly as possible. Remove the batteries and dry the battery compartment. Put them into a hearing aid dryer–also known as a dehumidifier–and let them dry overnight. If your hearing aids still don’t work the next morning, take them into your hearing care practitioner for repair.
Evaluate hearing aid types when shopping for a new pair
If your job or hobby puts you near the water during the summer, or you live in an extremely humid climate, it may be wise to invest in water-resistant hearing aids with a high IP rating (see above). These better keep moisture from collecting in the device.
Is your hearing aid under warranty? Is it time to get an extended warranty?
Most hearing aids come with a one-year warranty for loss, damage or repairs. Your hearing care provider helps handle the fixes for these problems, so reach out to them. Find out more about hearing aid warranties, including whether or not you should also purchase an extended warranty.
Remember, dry hearing aids work best
It's always a good idea to keep your hearing aids as dry and clean as possible. Before you go to bed each night, wipe the entire device with a dry, dust-free cloth. 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.
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.