You love swimming and are all about being in the water. When you were younger, everybody said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a little…louder… than normal today. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In most cases, you’re right to be a bit concerned. Usually, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
The IP number works by assigning every device a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is represented by the first number.
The second digit (and the one we’re really interested in here) represents how resistant your device is to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and work for about thirty minutes in water.
Some modern hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, try not to use them in excessively humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t do much good, but there are other circumstances where it can be useful:
- You have a passion for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat could call for high IP rated hearing aids
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and determine just what sort of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You might, in some circumstances, need to purchase a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what should you do?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t improve anything anyway. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and consult with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a picture of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.