Hearing aids should not get wet. This is oftentimes not advertised because the products oftentimes have an IP68 rating which indicates that the hearing aids are water-resistant and dust-tight. They survived continuous immersion in 1 meter of water for 60 minutes in lab tests.
But when it comes to the daily business of acousticians defects due to moisture are really common. So how does this work out? In this article, you will learn when you can safely wear your hearing aids in a wet environment and what you could do if they got wet.
Will Water Ruin a Hearing Aid?
Yes, water can ruin your hearing aids. A few waterdrops will not totally damage it but when the water finds its way into the hearing aid the electronics inside of the device could be damaged due to its conductive nature. Of course, this could lead to a short circuit.
With the water in the device, corrosion is likely. When the water finds its way into the microphone or the loudspeaker the movement of the parts will be inhibited. This will finally lead to a defective hearing aid.
Can I Wear Hearing Aids in the Rain?
In the ear hearing aids are usually a lot more secure position in the ear canal. Even when the wearer is standing in heavy rain the hearing aid will not get wet because the water will not splash in the ear canals. But a lot of wearers of hearing aids also wear behind-the-ear devices. Those hearing aids have the microphone and in some cases also the loudspeaker on top or behind the ear.
In such a case it is not recommended to wear hearing aids in heavy rain. Because when the drops reach the microphone they will not pick up sounds anymore. All the wearer can hear is swooshing sound. When it comes to light rain the hearing aids can be worn safely due to the membranes covering the microphones. But they can not withstand a lot of rain.
Can You Wear Hearing Aids in the Shower?
Hearing aids can not be worn in the shower. The water splashes right on the electronics and can easily damage the hearing aids even when the wearer just showered for seconds. Therefore, it is imperative that any hearing aid that has suffered water damage needs to be checked by a hearing care professional.
What to Do When the Hearing Aids Got Wet?
When the hearing aids got wet it is important to dry them. Get a towel and rub it dry. If certain components can be opened like the battery case open the case and take the battery out. If you can separate the tube from the part which sits behind your ear separate them.
Now place the components in dry rice or even better in a hearing aid dryer. When you place the hearing aids in rice do not store everything in a closed back. Because then the moisture will still stay in the hearing aid.
After the first steps, you should contact your hearing aid professional now for an extensive checkup of the device. Do not try to turn the hearing aid back on or to charge it before you showed them to the professional.
Please do not try to dry the hearing aids with heat. This will probably just lead to a malfunctioning device.
The hearing care professional will then check the device. In some cases, he is able to take out little pins on the side of the hearing aid to open the casing of the device. Now he or she can observe the electronics and can first visibly check if moisture is on the electronics.
When everything looks fine the professional will then reassemble the components and check if the hearing aid can be turned on. When moisture entered the part which directly sits in your ear usually is the fastest repair when it comes to damages with water. Because this part can fairly easily be swapped out for a new one. It is just clicked in.
When the water damaged the electronics the whole hearing aid needs to be sent to the manufacturer. Oftentimes the electronics need to be changed to all new. Our recommendation is to get an estimate of the costs first before you get a shock when you hear the price for the repair job. The prices typically range from 200$-500$. Depending on the hearing aid the prices can be even higher.
How to Remove Moisture From Hearing Aid Tube?
To remove moisture from the tubing, disconnect the tubing from the hearing aid. Then gently blow air through the tube until it is dry. Earmold Air Blowers are used to blow out any drops of moisture out of the tubing. Alternatively, compressed air can be used.
Afterward, reconnect the tubing to the hearing aid.