As a swimmer, you love being 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. The water seems a little…louder… than usual today. And that’s when you notice 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 most cases, you’re right to be a little concerned. Hearing aids are frequently constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
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. The IP rating is the established water resistance figure and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by assigning every hearing aid a two digit number. The first digit signifies the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies 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 work for about thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The intricate electronics inside your hearing aid case won’t do 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, avoid using 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 situations where it can be useful:
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat might warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- You have a record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or walk out into the rain
- If you perspire substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment
This list is just a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your daily life and figure out just what type 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 need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
You may, in some circumstances, need to get a dehumidifier. In other cases, it may just mean storing your hearing aids in a nice dry place at night (it depends on your climate). And it will be necessary to thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t improve anything anyway. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, especially 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 not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.