As a swimmer, you love going in the water. When you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water sounds a little… louder… than normal. And that’s when you realize you might have made a mistake: you brought 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 worried. Hearing aids are typically designed with some amount of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in good working order. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
The IP number works by giving every hearing aid a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other types of dry erosion is represented by the first digit.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which represents the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely strong resistance to dry erosion and will be ok under water for around 30 minutes.
Some modern hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The sophisticated electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, try not to use them 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 circumstances where it can be useful:
- You have a track record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you take a shower or go out into the rain
- If the environment where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
- If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Naturally, what degree 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 cared for
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
In some circumstances, that could mean obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some types of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
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. Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and consult with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.