As a swimmer, you enjoy going in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to swim). The water seems a bit…louder… than usual 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.
In most cases, you’re right to be a little concerned. Usually, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept clean and dry. 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 official water resistance number and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by assigning every hearing aid a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other forms of dry erosion is represented by the first digit.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second digit which signifies the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have very good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for about 30 minutes.
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?
Your hearing aids have advanced electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, try not to use 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:
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet climate
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and figure out just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
In some instances, that might mean obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t improve anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out completely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you identify if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a picture of what you can expect in terms of 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.