You enjoy swimming and are all about going into the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to swim). Today, the water seems a little… louder… than usual. And that’s when you realize you might have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t really certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.
Normally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the official water resistance number and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by giving every hearing aid a two digit number. The first digit shows the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second digit which signifies the device’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely strong resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for around a half hour.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are completely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in overly humid weather. No amount 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 advantageous:
- If the environment where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- You love boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- 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. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your day-to-day life and figure out just what sort 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 doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You may, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. In other cases, it might just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean dry place at night (it depends 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 there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t improve anything anyway. But you will want to completely allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. At least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.