Siemens is unveiling a suite of new products at the American Academy of Audiology 2011 conference in Chicago this week, including what it claims is the world's first fully waterproof (and dustproof, and shock-resistant) digital hearing aid.
Called Aquaris, the aid's housing is made of one solid piece, so the only opening is to the battery compartment, which is fitted with a membrane designed to let air in but keep water out.
Siemens lists a whole range of activities that have until now been difficult for those wearing hearing aids that can be ruined by not just water but sweat and dust: sailing, swimming, kayaking, golfing, gardening, cycling, and jogging.
Because the device can be fully submerged in water up to 3 feet deep for 30 minutes (rendering it more than merely water-resistant), shallow snorkeling should be added to the list. Whether we will ever be able to scuba dive with hearing aids remains to be seen.
Aquaris also features a non-slip, textured surface that holds the Aquaris behind the ear; a "sport clip" to further secure the device during intense activities; and a water-resistant Aquapac for added protection.
Siemens has yet to release pricing or availability details.