Appalachian Audiology dispenses waterproof and water-resistant hearing aids. The International Protection Rating (IPR) details the degree of protection an object possesses against the intrusion of dust, debris, and water. Based on documented testing, an object is given an "IP" rating with two numbers. The first number depicts the object's level of protection against dust and debris and ranges from 0 to 6, with "6" detailing the highest level of protection.
The second number depicts the object's level of protection against moisture and ranges from 0 to 8, with "8" detailing the highest level of protection. All waterproof and water-resistant hearing aids with an IP67 or IP68 rating are classified as "dustproof." The "6" means that the object experienced no intrusion of dust following 8 hours of exposure in a dust chamber. The “7” and “8” distinguish the device as water-resistant or waterproof.
To be classified as “waterproof,” a hearing instrument must withstand total submersion in water. Siemens Hearing Instruments introduced the world’s only waterproof hearing aid in 2011- the Siemens Aquaris. The Aquaris is the only hearing aid with an International Protection Rating of "68." This means that it can be totally submersed in water without damage.
A waterproof hearing aid can be worn while swimming as long as a special custom ear mold is worn in place of the slim tube. This prevents water from entering the hearing instrument through the tubing that connects the device to the dome that rests inside the ear canal.
To be water-resistant, a hearing instrument must be able to withstand the effects of water, perspiration, and other forms of moisture. Phonak Hearing Instruments has introduced an entire line of water-resistant hearing aids at each technology level (standard, advanced, premium). Their water-resistant hearing aids have an IP rating of 67. This means that in the testing of these devices, the hearing aids were not damaged after being immersed (not submerged) in 3 feet of water for 30 minutes.