As a swimmer, you enjoy being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to go swimming). The water seems a bit…louder… than usual today. And that’s when you realize you may have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In the majority of cases, you’re right to be a little worried. Hearing aids are often constructed with some amount of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a lot different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept dry and clean. 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 number and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is assigned a two-digit number. The first digit represents the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which represents the device’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 good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for around 30 minutes.
Some modern hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are entirely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Typically, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or hop in the shower or depending on the IP rating, sit outside 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 circumstances where it can be useful:
- If you perspire substantially, 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
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- If the environment where you live is rainy or excessively humid
This list is only a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and determine just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
In some cases, that might mean obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). 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 can you do?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t help anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out entirely 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 aid will give you a picture of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.