You enjoy swimming and are all about being in 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 normal today. And that’s when you notice you might have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Usually, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being 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 some hearing aids are designed so a little splash now and then won’t be a big deal. The IP rating is the official water resistance number and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is given a two-digit number. The first digit shows the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which represents the device’s resistance to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have very strong resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for about a half hour.
Some modern hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The advanced electronics inside of 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 overly 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 circumstances where it can be useful:
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet climate
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
This is certainly not a complete list. Of course, what level of water resistance will be sufficient for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be in your best interest to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some instances, that could mean obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most cases, 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 results, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, 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 need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out completely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you find out if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a picture of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At the very least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.