Dear Anna: Does Phonak offer a waterproof hearing aid? If there were one thing I could wish for that would be it! My son is such a water kid and it’s hard watching him playing in the water without his hearing aids, as it’s difficult for him to listen and play at the same time. I figured that I wouldn’t want him playing the water with hearing aids while actually swimming, but what about when he’s running around the yard and with his friends going through the sprinkler, etc.? I don’t want to risk ruining his hearing aids…but want him to be able to hear and be more aware of his surroundings, which is tough for a 5-year-old, who is having fun outside! – Water-baby mom in Washington
Dear Water-baby mom,
This is a common question for parents of children with hearing loss, especially in the summer! However, the answer is a bit complicated.
Most hearing aids now have an IP67 rating. (IP is the Ingress Protection or International Protection rating system, which is a classification system showing the degrees of protection from solid objects and liquids.) The first number 6 is the level of dust protection which is dust proof. The second number, 7 is the level of water or moisture protection. This means it is water resistant to a level that it could withstand up to 30 min in 3 feet of water.
In general, your son’s hearing aids should be able to withstand rain, sweat and water splashes, but his hearing aids should not be worn in the shower or pool. If he does jump in the shower or the pool and forgets he is wearing his hearing aids, you should dry the hearing aids and replace the battery as soon as you can. Most will spring to life again.
I can’t officially say, “yes” his hearing aids will be fine in sprinklers, but if you know the IP rating of his hearing aids (and the second number is a 7) then the hearing aid housings will be sweat and water-resistant. So, you don’t need to worry if they get splashed on with some water, similar to a rain shower. In the sprinkler, we would just suggest to make sure your son is not putting his head directly into the water stream. As long as his hair isn’t soaking wet, the hearing aids shouldn’t be affected by having too much water on them.
He should also be careful to avoid water with chlorine, salt or soap, as it can affect the housing over time. Also, make sure to thoroughly dry the hearing aids when he is done playing – especially the tubes and ear hook filter.
Additionally, if your son has an additional Roger or FM adapter at the bottom of his hearing aid – such as an audio shoe for a Roger X universal receiver – you need to be a little more careful, as this is an additional possible entry point for moisture. A seamless design integrated Roger/FM is not an issue.
I hope your family has a great summer!
The new Phonak Sky V has an IP rating of IP68, which indicates that the hearing aid is water resistant and dust tight. In testing, it survived continuous immersion in 1m of water for 60 minutes and 8 hours in a dust chamber. If you’re interested in the new Sky V hearing aid, talk to your audiologist or learn more here.
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