You love swimming and are all about going into the water. When you were younger, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And then you recognize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Hearing aids are often built with some level of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s 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 splatter here and there won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the official water resistance number 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 shows the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which represents the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.
Although there are no hearing aids currently 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 electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Ordinarily, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go swimming or jump into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside 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 scenarios where it can be useful:
- If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
- You have a record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you shower or go out into the rain
- If you perspire substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
This is certainly not a complete list. Naturally, what level of water resistance will be sufficient for your daily routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
It’s important to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. 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 situations, that might mean investing in a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean 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 completely.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out completely 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 the very least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.