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Explained: Water Resistant vs. Waterproof Hearing Aids

Published: 07/10/2015

Last Updated: 07/28/2017

Waterproof hearing aids

Just like those of any other electronic device on the market, the internal parts of a hearing aid are not meant to get wet. If moisture like water, sweat, or other liquids were to reach these parts, it could cause corrosion, sound distortion, and other electronic issues.

For people who sweat more than others, live in humid places, or simply spend time around water often, this is a significant concern. Luckily, hearing aid manufacturers understand this concern and make water resistant and, in some cases, even waterproof hearing aids.

But what’s the difference between water resistant and waterproof? It’s crucial that you understand the answer to this question. These terms are not interchangeable, and mixing them up can have disastrous consequences for your devices.

Water Resistant Hearing Aids

If a hearing aid is water resistant, as many of today’s models are, this means it can continue to function despite a small amount of moisture exposure. There’s usually a coating or sealant around the important parts within the device that protects them from damage. However, water resistant devices won’t keep working correctly if they’re submersed in water or exposed to moisture for a long period of time.

In other words, you wouldn’t want to jump in a pool while wearing water resistant hearing aids. However, you’ll be okay to walk through a light rain or get a little sweaty.

There are several reasons water-resistant hearing aids might be a good choice for you:

  • You live in a humid region
  • You have oily skin
  • You tend to produce a lot of earwax
  • You are concerned about sweat

Check out our selection of water-resistant hearing aids here.

Waterproof Hearing Aids

Waterproof hearing aids take moisture protection to the next level. They’re rarer than water resistant devices, and the technology is quite different.

In order for a hearing aid to be waterproof, its outer housing has to be a single solid piece. There can’t be any seams, cracks, screws, or pins. All the places water might enter the device, like the battery case, microphone, or receiver, must be sealed off separately. The battery case needs a special type of sealant that allows air to enter and exit but keeps water out.

Waterproof hearing aids are rated by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to indicate just how much water they can take before they stop working. The most advanced of these devices are certified to keep out 100% of dust particles and withstand over three feet of water submersion.

You can feel confident about wearing waterproof hearing aids in situations where they might get wet, even in the shower. Check out our selection of waterproof hearing aids here.

Tips to Keep Moisture Out

Even if your hearing aids are water resistant or waterproof, it’s recommended that you still do your best to keep moisture out. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this:

  • Use sweat covers and/or a dehumidifier: You can purchase little socks for your hearing aids that will absorb moisture and stop it from reaching your hearing aids. These are most often used to protect the devices from sweat while they’re being worn, such as during exercise. You can also store your hearing aids in a dehumidifier, whether it’s a simple case containing a moisture-absorbing packet or a more advanced case with a fan.
  • Wipe them down after you finish wearing them: You should always use a clean, dry cloth to wipe any dust, earwax, and other moisture off your devices after you take them out.
  • Keep the battery doors open at night: If you allow the battery case to remain open while you sleep, excess moisture will be able to evaporate and escape. (Fun fact: this will also help your batteries last longer, saving you money in the long run.)

Hearing aid manufacturers are constantly innovating in order to create devices that can keep up with your active life. Your local hearing health provider will discuss all these options with you and help you find hearing aids that meet your hearing and lifestyle needs.

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