You love swimming and are all about going into the water. When you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a bit…louder… than usual today. And that’s when you realize you may have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In most scenarios, you’re right to be a bit concerned. Hearing aids are typically built with some amount of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in good 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 called 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 number (and the one we’re really considering here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid 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 really resistant to sand and work for about thirty minutes in water.
Although there are no hearing aids presently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The intricate electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Typically, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or hop in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside 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 scenarios where it can be useful:
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment
- If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
- You love boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
This is surely not an exhaustive list. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be enough for your day-to-day life will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You might, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). 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 thoroughly.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t improve anything anyway. But you will want to carefully let your hearing aid 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 device will give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At the very least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.