You love swimming and are all about going into the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to go swimming). Today, the water seems a bit… louder… than normal. And then you recognize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a bit worried. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to work 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. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is assigned a two-digit number. The first number represents the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The second digit (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies how resistant your device 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 very resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are entirely 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. Before you go swimming 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. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some circumstances in which a high IP rating will definitely be advantageous:
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet environment
- You have a passion for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. Naturally, what level of water resistance will be enough for your day-to-day life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
You have to take care of 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 may, in some situations, need to purchase a dehumidifier. In other cases, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place at night (depending on your climate). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you will want to completely let your hearing aid 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 aid will give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At least, try to remember to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.