You love swimming and are all about being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to swim). The water seems a little…louder… than normal today. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t really certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Hearing aids are often built with some degree of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a lot different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
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 problem if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the official water resistance figure and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is assigned a two-digit number. The first digit represents the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
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 if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have very strong resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for about 30 minutes.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
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 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:
- You have a passion for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet climate
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be sufficient for your daily life will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. 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 circumstances, that could mean purchasing a dehumidifier. In other cases, it may just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean dry place at night (it depends on your climate). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t improve 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 determine if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At the very least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.