You enjoy swimming and are all about going into the water. When you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water sounds a little… louder… than usual. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t really certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are often built with some degree of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being 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 made so a little splatter now and then won’t be a big deal. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is assigned a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other types of dry erosion is represented by the first digit.
The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your device is to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely strong resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for about a half hour.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Normally, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in overly humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some situations in which a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- You have a passion for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat might warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
- If the environment where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
This list is just a small sample. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be enough for your day-to-day life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some cases, that could mean investing in a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean storing your hearing aids in a nice dry place every night (depending on your climate). And it will be necessary to thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
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 help anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you find out if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.