As a swimmer, you love being in 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). The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Normally, modern 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 clean and dry is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But some hearing aids are made so a little splash here and there won’t be a problem. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is assigned a two-digit number. The first number shows the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies how resistant your device is 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.
Although there are no hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The sophisticated electronics inside your hearing aid case won’t 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, 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 help much, but there are other scenarios where it can be useful:
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- You love boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- You have a record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you take a shower or go out into the rain
- If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, what level of water resistance will be adequate for your daily life will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s important to note that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. 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 cases, that could mean obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain kinds 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.
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 need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t help anything anyway. 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 avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.