You enjoy swimming and are all about being in the water. When you were younger, everybody said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water seems a bit… louder… than normal. And then you recognize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
In most cases, you’re right to be a bit worried. Hearing aids are frequently built with some level of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry 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 problem. 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 number shows the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. 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 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 scenarios where a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
- If the climate 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 take a look at your daily life and determine just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You might, in some circumstances, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some kinds of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to remain calm. 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 identify if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. At least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.