Water and Hearing Aids: What You Need to Know

Anyone familiar with hearing aids understands that they don’t respond well to water exposure. It happens to us all from time to time; you may get caught in a rainstorm or decide to dive into a lake-forgetting that you are wearing your hearing aid.

There are steps you can take to prevent lasting water damage to your hearing aids, but first, let’s discuss the effect water has on a hearing aid.

How Much Damage Can Water Do to My Hearing Aid?

Most modern hearing aids are splash-proof and can withstand rain and minor water exposure. However, if you dunk an entire hearing aid in water, there may be a few issues. On the bright side, a rainstorm, excessive sweating, or accidentally getting hit in the head by a water balloon won’t cause serious damage to your hearing aid.

The new models of hearing aids carry IP67 or IP68 ratings. IP refers to the International Protection or the Ingress Protection rating system. This shows the degrees of protection from liquids as well as solids. The number “6” means the level of dust protection, while the number “7” and “8” means the level of water and moisture protection.

Most water damage results when a hearing aid is fully submerged in water–especially for longer periods of time, or multiple times. Water damage might result in your hearing aid not working as well as it once did, or might cause it to malfunction completely. Either way, if your hearing aid is malfunctioning, you should bring it to your audiologist as soon as you can. 

How to Fix Water-Damaged Hearing Aids

Try these steps to help your hearing aids work properly again after being waterlogged:

Take your hearing aids out of the water as soon as possible. It’s best to minimalize water exposure as much as you can. Once it’s out of the water, give it a gentle shake.

    • Remove the batteries. If left to sit, a wet battery can cause rusting and corrosion in the hearing aid. Before putting any new batteries inside your hearing aids, the battery compartment must be completely dry. Take a small rag and dry the area thoroughly.
    • After removing the batteries, set your hearing aids out to dry. You can do this in a few different ways, such as placing them in a hearing aid dehumidifier (with the battery door completely open), covering them in rice, putting them on a towel to air dry (again, with the battery door completely open), or drying them with a towel by hand. Whatever you decide, DO NOT use heat to dry your hearing aids, like a microwave or even a hairdryer. This will cause even more damage.
    • Wait a day or two until your hearing aids are completely dry, then check to see if they still work. If they aren’t working properly after two days, call your audiologist and have them sent to the manufacturer for repairs. If your hearing aids are somewhat new, they may still be under a warranty that will cover the costs of the repairs.

Water-Protected Hearing Aids

It’s almost impossible to find completely water-proof hearing aids. Most are typically water-resistant, not waterproof, so submerging them in water for a long period is not usually recommended if you want them to keep working properly. However, if you spend a lot of time in water and need hearing aids that are as close to waterproof as possible, talk to your hearing care specialist.

  • There are only a few types of hearing aids capable of properly functioning in and out of water. If you are looking for ideas on how to protect your hearing aids from water damage, follow these steps:
  •  Store your hearing aids in a dry, safe place while swimming or anywhere there’s a chance you’d be submerged in water.
  • Consider buying hearing aid accessories, like clips or sleeves to help keep your hearing aids out of harm’s way. 
  • Buy a hearing aid dryer. This will help to safely dry your hearing aids after being exposed to water.
  • If you’ve had your hearing aids for a while, consider getting an extended warranty to protect them from future damages.

If you or someone you know needs help with a water-damaged hearing aid, then give Amdahl Hearing a ring! We’d be happy to assist anyone having issues with their hearing aids, no matter the problem. Reach out to us anytime and schedule a day to come in and get your hearing aids working properly again.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.