Hearing aids are meant to be worn all day, every day so that they become second nature to you. You may be wondering if this includes showering, swimming, or other water activities. In other words, are hearing aids waterproof?
Can assistive listening devices be waterproof?
The answer, truthfully, is “sort of.” Each new model of hearing aid is extensively lab-tested before release and assigned an Ingress Protection Rating or IP rating.
This rating is a two-digit number that expresses how resistant a device is to solid contaminants, such as dust, and water. The first digit expresses dust resistance and goes up to a maximum of 6; the second digit is for water and goes up to a maximum of 8. Thus, the highest possible IP rating is IP68.
The good news is that many hearing aids on the market today, including the models that Earlux sells, have an IP rating of IP68. This means that according to the standards of the Ingress Protection code, they are as dust- and water-resistant as it gets. (It also means that they’re just as water-resistant as the so-called “waterproof” hearing aids that were on the market a decade ago.) But what do those ratings really mean? Let’s take a look at how they are tested.
To receive a rating of 7 for water, a device must be submerged in freshwater for 30 minutes, at a depth of up to a meter. To receive a rating of 8, the device must be submerged in freshwater as well, but for a longer span of time and in at least a meter of water. What this doesn’t include is testing in saltwater or pool chemicals, or any agitation in the water such as a hearing aid might be subjected to if you go swimming with it on, or run it through the washing machine.
Are Hearing Aids Waterproof
Our professional opinion is that an IP rating of IP68 means you don’t need to worry about accidentally getting your hearing aids wet. Most people forget about them and go into the shower with them on at least once or twice, and the hearing aids are always fine. Drop them into the sink, and they will probably still be fine. But we would still caution against intentionally wearing them to swim; IP testing may indicate that a brand-new pair of hearing aids will be fine if submerged in still, clean water, but that isn’t the same as exposing them to chemical-laden moving water day in and day out for years. Think of your hearing aids as water-resistant rather than waterproof, and treat them carefully. After all, they’re quite an investment!