You love swimming and are all about being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to go swimming). The water seems a bit…louder… than usual today. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a little worried. Hearing aids are typically built with some degree 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 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 established water resistance figure and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is given a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.
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 work for around thirty minutes in water.
Some modern hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go swimming 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. 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 situations where it can be useful:
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet climate
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat might warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
This is certainly not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and determine just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
You have to care for your hearing aids
It’s important to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
In some circumstances, that might mean investing in a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place at night (it depends on your climate). But some types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids completely.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out thoroughly and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. 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.