As a swimmer, you love 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 sounds a bit… louder… than normal. 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.
In most scenarios, you’re right to be a little concerned. Normally, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water isn’t 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 good 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 designated water resistance number.
The IP number works by assigning every device a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other types of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.
The second digit (and the one we’re really interested in here) represents how resistant your hearing aid 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 really resistant to sand and function for about 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 of your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in overly 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 scenarios where it can be useful:
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
- If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
- If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
This is surely not an exhaustive list. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be adequate for your daily routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
You have to care for your hearing aids
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You might, in some scenarios, need to purchase a dehumidifier. In other cases, it might just mean storing your hearing aids in a nice dry place every 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 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 sure that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a picture of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.