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FAQ: “Can I Swim With Hearing Aids?”

 In FAQ, Hearing Aid Maintenance, Hearing Aid Styles, Hearing Aids

Can I swim with hearing aids?

We counsel our patients to never swim with their hearing aids. Hearing aids are essentially like any other type of electronic device. Moisture is generally regarded as their worst enemy.

Despite this, when patients return for follow-ups and report water exposure (after being pushed in a pool, wearing their hearing aids in the shower, or doing water aerobics with their hearing aids), all of their hearing aids were fine – to our amazement.

On initial thought, the answer to this question has always been no, you should not wear your hearing aids to go swimming. However, this may not necessarily always be the answer. After decades of research and development, hearing aids have become increasingly water resistant.

In the world of hearing aids, manufacturers certify their instruments with an IP rating, signifying how well  they resist dust and water. An IP rating is generally followed by two numbers: The first number in the rating indicates the resistance to foreign objects such as dust or dirt; the second indicates resistance to water. For water, a score of 0 indicates “no protection” and a score of 8 indicates “continuous immersion”.  If we look at an IP rating of 57, this indicates that the device is “dust protected” and safe for “temporary immersion in water.”

Source: Phonak Insight, “WaterResistant Versatility”

So if you purchased a hearing aid with an IP rating of 68, you could continuously expose the hearing aid to water without the worry of killing the device. A rating of 67 means that you could temporarily expose the hearing aid to water before killing the device.

In general, hearing aid users should not wear their hearing aids while swimming; after all, they are water resistant but not completely waterproof. Subjecting your hearing aid to constant immersion in water is just asking for trouble. If you do go into water with your hearing aids, we highly recommend placing them in a dehumidifier afterwards to reduce the damaging effects of moisture.

If swimming is important to you, we suggest that you ask your hearing-care professional about IP ratings of devices currently available. To learn more about technology and the capabilities of certain devices, please give us a call at 602.277.4327 to schedule a comprehensive evaluation.

 

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