Waterproof Hearing Aid Options

Hey everyone!

So i currently wear a pair of Oticon Opn’s and I’m in the market for a pair of waterproof aids. I am hesitant to wear my current aids anytime i think i will experience heavy persperation or do any water activities (swimming, boating, hanging out a beach, etc.). Not only does not wearing the aids affect the social aspect of these types of activities, but more importantly it’s the safety aspect. I’ve tried the BTE socks and similar products but nothing seems to work well. So i’d rather just invest in a separate pair of aids that i can just wear and not have to worry about anything…even if the sound quality/strength isn’t perfect.

Does anyone have reccomendations?
I was going to go with Aquaris’, but someone posted they are no longer offered (and my audi is currently on vacation so i can’t verify).

Thanks in advance for suggestions.

You can pick up Ear Gear which covers the aid with adsorbent cloth for sweat. As for swimming, afraid you need to take them out and put them in a waterproof case.

I think we just killed this horse…

I’m aware of what’s available for protecting my existing aids. However, i am looking for recommendations for new aids that are designed specifically to be waterproof (not water resistant or utilizing some aftermarket “sock”).

There was just a previous discussion of this. I believe the conclusion was that there are not any waterproof hearing aids currently made, but Siemen’s Aquarius aids are available on ebay. Somebody else pointed out that to retain their “waterproofness,” they need to be serviced yearly by the manufacturer. If you want more detail, I’d encourage using the search function.

Check out the Japanese hearing aid, Rion HB54. Supposedly it’s waterproof. http://www.hearingaidswholesale.com/index.php/products/rion-hb54. Another thing to keep in mind … more and more hearing aid companies will come out with IP68 rechargeable hearing aids (so no battery door to worry about), such as Siemens Cellion. IP68 aids can be in the water for an hour at 3 meters and still work (or something like that). IP68 aids plus a swim cap or ear band might work for you.

On the one hand, that’s the spec for IP68. But on the other hand, even though HA mfgs rate their HA at IP68, they still tell people not to shower or swim with them. I think Neville was saying that mfg use very clean water to achieve that kind of spec in their labs, but if you’re in sea water or lake water, they won’t dry out cleanly like with clean water. So the only thing I would do with IP68 HA is to wear them for sweaty workouts, but that’s my limit. And so far so good with sweaty workouts for my IP68 rated HA, knock on wood.

Problem is that Goretex gets blocked by salt crystals as it dries - so sweat and seawater are potential issues if the aid is immersed.

Removable filters are an option, but it creates a second layer over the inner mic filter which may also be susceptible to blocking.

That’s exactly the issue I had with my Aquaris - the membrane under the battery door became non-permeable after about 8 months, and I had it replaced. They do tell you to rinse the aid off in clean water after use, which I did. I think my issue was sunscreen. Haven’t had any issue since, but its irrelevant now that they are deemed obsolete.

Here is a pretty geeky page translated from Japanese on the Rion HB54. http://www.rion.co.jp/english/report/waterproof/proof_technology.html

Could someone very technical take a look at these specs (Um Bongo?) and see if they make sense from an engineering point of view.

edit: looks like there has been some follow-on models since the HB54. The latest model is HB-W1RA which clocks in at a pricey $2k / aid based on current yen exchange rate.

There’s no problem getting OPN1’s (or something like Pure 13BT’s) wet; I would just keep wearing them. For what you describe - sitting on the beach, boating, hanging out in the water - there’s no problem at all. Things NOT to do with IP67 HA’s include taking showers (jets of water no good), staying underwater for significant time, diving (more than 3 feet), continuous swimming, etc. (I can’t see why you’d want HA’s in your ears in those circumstances, anyway). Getting the aids wet in “casual” circumstances is just fine.

Ah, how I wish there was a waterproof aid! I’d also looked at the Siemens Aquaris last year. Having as profound a hearing loss as I do, I have simply GIVEN UP on water sports like white water rafting, kayaking (single or with hubs) or wind surfing - all of which I used to do before I started wearing aids. I swim in the pool regularly, but always inform the lifeguard on duty that I am deaf as a STICK, so if they need to get my attention, use one on my HEAD so I know to get my head out of water. I also snorkel with NO aids in, but how fun is that when you want to share the beauty of the sea with someone else? Yeah, conversation is pretty one-sided. I’d gladly give up a phone streaming app for a waterproof aid - but alas, with Oticon Opn and Android phone neither is an option. And that’s as good as it gets in 2017 with my current aids situation. I bet we’ll be able to beam folks from planet to planet as they did on Star Trek WAY before hearing aids actually correct hearing loss or work in the real world for most people.

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Hi Bluejay,

I’m in your situation. But you don’t need to give up on everything.

Get a waterproof bag to hang around your neck for some of the sports you mention. Cinch it high enough so it won’t undone over your neck. When you come in from snorkeling or rafting or are taking a break in these activities, go ahead and pop the hearing aids in. The aids should handle the residual water fine and you can always put a cover over them to help.

I put the specs for a Japanese made hearing aid that’s supposed to be waterproof on this thread. I just need someone technical to a look and see what he/she thinks of the engineering approach.

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Finally, someone who understands why a true waterproof aid is a wonderful thing. Too many couch potatoes on this forum.

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What’s frustrating is the 3 cochlear implant (CI) companies (Cochlear, Advanced Bionics, and Med-el) have managed to waterproof the external components of their CIs. CI wearers can swim in chlorine pools, lakes, and oceans; snorkel, kayak, surf, go tubing, dive in the deep end, etc. The Med-el Facebook page shows a guy swimming in a triathlon while wearing his CI! Now this is waterproofing - not like some hearing aid manufacturers/distributors who claim their hearing aid is “waterproof” when in fact it’s “water resistant” and has limitations. Below are 2 pictures as to what Cochlear and Med-el did; that is, they basically created plastic sleeves to cover the CI.

So … I’m going to use this as a starting point and try to create something similar for my daughter’s BTE. I realize there are differences between a CI and a BTE, but I have few ideas in mind and will let you know how my experiment works out!

^^^^ That IS interesting! The ziplock baggie that actually WORKS on a CI. I wonder if I could jerry-rig something similar for my Oticon OPNs? I wear them half the time; the other half of the time I’m still wearing my old Oticon Agil Pro ITE aids.

airnbau: thanks for that link to the Japanese aids. GEEZ, I was in Japan for a couple weeks in May and I sure would’ve checked this out had I had a glimmer of an idea where to go, who to see and how to translate my needs into Japanese!

This waterproofing should not be rocket science. For years I did use a “waterproof” container: shaped like a cylinder, hung around my neck, my aids inside a ziplock baggie inside that container - which also had rubber gaskets on the seal. But one fine day, when I opened the container, the ziplock had moisture on it. So - at $6K for an investment, I just thought I better leave the aids behind. When snorkeling in HI it’s not a good idea to leave aids in a burning hot car tho! Also, there is a fair amount of car break-ins for haolies in places. That also gave me pause leaving my aids in the car. And to leave them on the beach in a backpack? I may as well leave a thick stack of $100’s!

Just wondering that even if you can get the HA’s waterproof how are the zinc/air batteries going to work without the air part?

Uses an air permeable membrane.

An option is to use a silver oxide battery which does not require air. A size 13 zinc air battery would equate to a 393 silver oxide battery. Or, perhaps a rechargeable hearing aid battery would not require air (not sure what types of batteries rechargeables use).

One of you geniuses should invent and patent a water tight system!