You love swimming and are all about being 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). Today, the water seems a little… louder… than normal. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely sure those little electronic devices are waterproof.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Usually, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in proper 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 determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is assigned a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other forms of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.
The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your device is 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 really strong resistance to dry erosion and will be ok under water for about a half hour.
Some modern hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will definitely 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:
- If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet climate
This is surely not an exhaustive list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your day-to-day life and decide just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be in your best interest to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You might, in some scenarios, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain types of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take enough 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 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 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 an idea of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. At the very least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.