October 21, 2021

What’s the Deal with Waterproof Hearing Aids?

It’s a bit of a misnomer to refer to hearing aids as “waterproof.” Regardless of their technological advancements, hearing devices are not designed to be submerged in water for an extended period.However, modern hearing technology has improved to the point that exposure to moisture will not instantly ruin your hearing aids.

Defining “Waterproof” Hearing Aids

There is no such thing as a perfectly waterproof hearing aid. Some specially designed hearing devices are water-resistant, but that doesn’t mean you should go swimming with them in your ears. Water-resistant hearing aids have features that improve their resistance to moisture, sweat, dust and other debris.Technological improvements include:

  • Durable plastic housing
  • Sealed components that replaced leaky switches and buttons
  • Nano-coating and other protective sealants on internal and external hardware

These hearing aids are reliable in various environments, which means you can count on them to provide quality audio, rain or shine.You may consider purchasing water-resistant hearing aids if you:

  • Perspire heavily throughout the day, especially during physical activity
  • Live in a humid or wet climate
  • Partake in water-related hobbies such as swimming, water-skiing, fishing or boating
  • Frequently forget to remove your hearing aids before you bathe

Understanding the Water-Resistance Scale

The International Electrotechnical Commission established an IP rating system to explain a hearing device’s resistance to contaminants. Each hearing aid comes with an IP rating, so ask your audiologist to define the numbers so you know how well your hearing aids will stand up to the elements.

IP ratings come with two numbers. The first digit indicates a device’s resistance to solid debris such as dust or sand. The second number indicates moisture resistance.

Here’s a breakdown of the moisture-resistance scale:

IPX0: No protection against moisture

IPX1: Protection against condensation and dripping water

IPX2: Protection against sprayed water tilted up to 15 degrees vertically

IPX3: Protection against sprayed water tilted up to 60 degrees vertically

IPX4: Protection against splashing water from any angleIPX5: Protection against low-pressure water stream from any angle

IPX6: Protection against high-pressure water stream from any angle

IPX7: Protection against immersion for 30 minutes in up to a meter of water

IPX8: Protection against continual submersion in underwater conditions

The Latest Waterproof Technology

The Phonak Audéo Life is the newest hearing aid technology that boasts waterproofing advantages. These unique hearing devices are extremely resistant to water, moisture and sweat. They’re considered waterproof for up to 50 centimeters due to their unique housing components and special Parylene coating. They’re also rechargeable, so powering your hearing aids is as easy as plugging them into the portable charging case.

Tips for Preventing Water Damage

Wipe down your devices: Use a clean, dry cloth to dry your hearing aids whenever they’ve been exposed to moisture. It’s also a good habit to clean your hearing aids each night to prevent wax and debris from clogging mics.

Open the battery compartment door: That will allow any trapped moisture to evaporate overnight. If your devices have been fully submerged, remove the batteries and thoroughly dry the connection points to prevent corrosion.

Invest in a dehumidifier: Placing your hearing aids in a dehumidifier will ensure moisture is removed from all compartments, mics, receivers and tubing. These devices also help with sanitation and deodorizing.

Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte carries a wide variety of hearing aid brands that include several water-resistant options. Contact us online or call 704-412-7975 to schedule your appointment.