As a swimmer, you enjoy 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 bit… louder… than normal. 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 scenarios, you’re right to be a bit worried. Hearing aids are typically built with some amount of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a lot different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept clean and dry. 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 called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is given a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is delineated by the first number.
The second number (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 if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have really strong resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for about 30 minutes.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The advanced electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in excessively humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of a swimming pool, but there are some circumstances in which a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet environment
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
This list is only a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and identify just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to care for your hearing aids
It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You may, in some circumstances, need to purchase a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some kinds 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 thoroughly.
If your hearing aids get wet, what should you do?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you will want to carefully let your hearing aid dry and consult with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.