You love swimming and are all about being in the water. When you were younger, everyone said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water sounds a little… louder… than normal. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t really sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are frequently constructed with some amount of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean 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 establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is assigned a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other forms of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.
The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) signifies how resistant your device is to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will last under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and function for about thirty minutes in water.
Some modern hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The advanced electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t mesh well with water. Before you go swimming 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 overly humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t help much, but there are other circumstances where it can be useful:
- If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- You have a history of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you take a shower or go out into the rain
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
This list is only a small sample. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be adequate for your day-to-day life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. 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 instances, that could mean purchasing a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean dry place at night (depending on your climate). And it will be necessary to thoroughly 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 completely let your hearing aid dry and check in with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.