You enjoy swimming and are all about being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to swim). The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And then you recognize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are often constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the official water resistance figure and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is assigned a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other types of dry erosion is delineated by the first number.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which signifies the device’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and function for about thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced technology 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. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some circumstances where a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- There have been times 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
- You have a passion for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat may warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
This is certainly not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your daily life and figure out just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be in your best interest to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some situations, that could mean purchasing a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean dry place every night (it depends on your climate). But certain types of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids completely.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid 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 need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out thoroughly and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you find out if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. At the very least, try to remember to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.