You enjoy swimming and are all about going into 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 go swimming). The water seems a bit…louder… than usual today. And that’s when you realize you may have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t really sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
In the majority of cases, you’re right to be a bit worried. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept clean and dry. But some hearing aids are manufactured so a little splash now and then won’t be a big deal. 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 device is assigned a two-digit number. The first digit signifies the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which signifies the device’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are completely 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 overly 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 environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- You have a passion for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat could call for high IP rated hearing aids
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and figure out just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
In some circumstances, that might mean purchasing a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t improve anything anyway. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and consult with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At the very least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.