The Best Water-Resistant Hearing Aids
COVID-19 Update: With social distancing and stay-at-home orders, many seniors are struggling with loneliness and isolation. We’ve developed a list of products that caregivers or seniors can purchase to help older adults stay happy, healthy and connected, whether they are aging in place at home or in an assisted living community.
Hearing aid technology has come a long way over the last couple of decades, allowing wearers to have a more personalized experience with small, high-tech devices that give users a fuller experience and more closely mimic the nature of real hearing. Finding the right hearing aid can be challenging, as there are dozens of manufacturers, with many different models and features.
Choosing the right water-resistant hearing aid can give those with many degrees of hearing loss a greater sense of independence, allowing them to keep their hearing aids in while showering or while engaging in their favorite water sports. In order for a hearing aid to be considered completely waterproof, it would need to be able to withstand submersion into water for a prolonged period of time, at least an hour. However, several hearing aid manufacturers have developed water-resistant hearing aids, able to withstand a little water, sweat or humidity. Many of these devices also come complete with lifestyle features and industry-leading technology.
In this article, we cover the three best water-resistant hearing aids, as well as an overview of each manufacturer and the features of each water-resistant hearing aid.
The Three Best Water-Resistant Hearing Aids
Phonak is a global company, offering a wide variety of hearing aids. The company offers a free online hearing assessment to help customers select the right product, and customer care representatives can use an audiologist’s report to guide them to the right fit. Phonak hearing aids give users crisp, clear sound and have soft speech enhancements, allowing people to hear conversations even in loud or crowded areas. The company has different products for different ranges of hearing loss, plus life-enhancing features.
Many phone hearing aids go beyond simply amplifying sound. The company adds life-enhancing features, such as Bluetooth-enabled settings to allow users to connect to TVs and smartphones or streaming services from different audio platforms. Plus, many models are also rechargeable, which makes life easier for the wearer.
Phonak’s Belong series of hearing aids are suitable for individuals with a wide range of hearing profiles and degrees of hearing impairment. All of the hearing aids in the Belong platform are not just water-resistant, but also highly resistant to debris, dust, and even sand, with an IP rating of 68. The water resistance includes the ability to withstand a light shower, sweat during heavy activity and even large splashes or waves.
Oticon started in 1904, as a husband seeking a hearing enhancement for his wife. Over the past century-plus, the company’s company garnered attention for its innovation, using current technology to come closer to mimicking the dynamics of hearing and the brain’s ability to process sound. The company’s hearing aids use sophisticated technology, which incorporates learning through user experience. The company’s proprietary BrainHearing™ technology mimics the natural function of the brain’s translation of sound.
Oticon’s Opn (pronounced “open”) is their latest hearing ad model, and the company considers it the most advanced. Using clinical trials, Oticon has proved the Opn to reduce listening efforts of users in loud or crowded environments. The hearing aid has an IP rating of 68, meaning that it’s resistant to dirt and debris, and water-resistant enough to withstand accidentally going into the shower, enjoying watersports or water aerobics, or excessive sweating. The products are engineered for an active lifestyle and can perform in a variety of environments, including extremely humid ones.
Unitron uses evidence-based development to create leading-edge hearing aids. The company uses evaluations from an audiologist to guide users towards the right type of hearing aid for their needs, and develops products that have life-enhancing and health monitoring features. Many of the hearing aids can pair with smartphones and other audio streaming platforms, allowing users to watch videos or listen to music, books, or podcasts with their hearing aid acting as headphones.
Unitron has developed the Moxi series, Moxi All, Moxi Now, Moxi Fit, and Moxi Dura, all of which are rated a 68 IP. This means that these hearing aids can withstand accidental splashing, plus excess humidity, sweating, and accidental use in the pool or shower, without damaging the electronics within. Mixo devices also connect with both iOS and Android phones, allowing the streaming of different audio applications. Plus, the devices are rechargeable, allowing users to have greater freedom without worrying about battery replacement.
The Importance of Water-Resistant Hearing Technology
Hearing aids are created to withstand moisture in order to protect the electronic components. With the improved technology of many hearing aids, protection is important. Water-resistant technology can help users enjoy more activities without worrying about the hearing aids being damaged. However, dry hearing aids work best, so even if your hearing aids are water-resistant, they still need to be cleaned regularly and wiped down.
These types of hearing aids aren’t limited to people who enjoy water sports, or who may tend to accidentally shower with them in. The protection that water-resistant hearing aids offer can benefit those who live in very humid climates, too. Plus, the inside of the ear is a naturally moist and humid environment and therefore can contribute to the deterioration of the devices.
How To Choose the Best Water-Resistant Hearing Aids
Water-resistant hearing aids are rated according to how well they protect from water. Hearing aids are evaluated on their water resistance with two ratings, from one to either seven or nine, and evaluated by the International Electrotechnical Commission. The first number represents the degree of protection from debris, on a scale of one to seven, while the second number, from one to nine, indicates how resistant to water an electrical device is.
Looking at hearing aid ratings, then, a hearing aid with a rating of 68 indicates that it’s very resistant to solid debris like dust and sand (or ear wax) and that it can still work in water less than three feet deep. Therefore, the three hearing aids we’ve reviewed above are quite resistant to just about anything that the wearer’s life can throw at them.