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What to do - and not to do - if your hearing aids get wet

Wearing hearing aids has incredible benefits, including better relationships, clearer conversations, a sharper mind, and a happier well-being overall. But there are two things about hearing aids every hearing aid user should always keep in mind:

  1. How to keep them dry
  2. What to do if you get them wet

Just like any other electronic device, such as a computer or smartphone, you want to avoid submerging your hearing devices if they're not considered waterproof (most are only considered water-resistant). Like a wrist watch, you can wear it for short periods in the rain but you don’t want to drop it into a sink of water. While the benefits of hearing aids far outweigh this minor challenge, it's important to be prepared in case they happen to come in contact with some type of liquid. It will save you stress and money in the long run.

Water, rain, and sweat, oh my!

Your sweat

It's true. Your own sweat could come in contact with your hearing aids and damage them. Most hearing aids today are known to be "water resistant,” which means that a little moisture, like light sweating from a workout, won't damage them to the point where you're going to ruin them. "Excessive" moisture long-term is the main concern and what you want to focus on avoiding. But always err on the side of caution when it comes to sweating. “Sweat is more corrosive long-term than water, as it contains salt. Salt can weaken the waterproof properties or seals of devices,” said Hope Lanter, Au.D.

Showering or swimming

Once you get used to your hearing aids, you may forget you're even wearing them, which is great! But this also means you may forget to remove them when you go to take a shower or go for a swim.

To help you remember to remove them, consider putting a reminder note in your bathroom or in your smartphone that reminds you to take them out every day before you step into the shower or the pool. If you live with another person, ask if they can help you remember as well.

The rain

Just like showering or swimming, you may forget to remove your hearing aids if you're out and about. Walking outside through heavy rain for a long period of time can put your devices at risk.

The best precaution is to remove them while in heavy rain if you’re going to be caught in it for an extended period of time. If that isn't an option, you may prefer to try and reduce the risk of getting them wet simply by carrying an umbrella or wearing a waterproof rain jacket with a hood that allows you to cover your ears up in a moment's notice. Remember, moisture here and there from somelight sprinkles shouldn’t damage them.

What to do if your hearing aids get wet

Many of us have experienced moments of panic after accidently dropping our smartphones into water. The key is to act quickly. If your hearing aids get wet, you'll want to follow these steps as quickly as possible to limit the exposure time.

  • Use a soft cloth to wipe away any water, rain, sweat, etc. on the outside of your hearing aids.
  • Turn off your hearing aids and take out the battery if it's removable. You can also use a soft cloth to dry it if you see any liquid, and give them a light shake to remove any excess.
  • Put your devices into a hearing aid dehumidifier or dry box to dry them out overnight. If you're unsure of what to purchase, your hearing aid specialist should be able to direct you to the right products.
  • Another option to try if you don't have a hearing aid dehumidifier or dry box, is rice. You may have heard of this trick in salvaging wet smartphones. Since rice soaks up water, you can place your wet hearing aids into a Ziplock bag or bowl with uncooked white rice and allow it to work overnight.

What to avoid

  • Never use a hairdryer, microwave, or any other non-hearing aid "dryer" to dry out your devices hearing aids. This will damage them permanently.
  • Never try to turn on a hearing aid when it is wet. This can cause further damage. Always wait until it is fully dry before powering on.

If your hearing aids aren't operating after you've completed the 4 steps above, contact your hearing aid specialist for assistance.

Contact our hearing aid expert for assistance

Dr. Hope Lanter

Dr. Hope Lanter is a lead audiologist at hear.com, a global leader in hearing care and the largest online retailer of medical-grade hearing aids. Dr. Lanter has more than fifteen years of experience as an audiologist, working directly with patients and helping them find the best hearing loss treatments that fit their individual needs. She received her M.A. in audiology from the University of Iowa and her Au.D. in audiology from A.T. Still University of Health Sciences.

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