You love swimming and are all about being in the water. When you were younger, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water seems 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 entirely certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
In most cases, you’re right to be a bit worried. Hearing aids are typically designed with some level of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a lot different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But some hearing aids are made so a little splash here and there won’t be a problem. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
The IP number works by giving every hearing aid a two digit number. The first number represents the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which signifies the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will last under water. 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 around 30 minutes.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are totally waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go swimming 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 scenarios where it can be useful:
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- You have a passion for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
This is surely not an exhaustive list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily 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 important to note that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You may, in some circumstances, need to get a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean keeping 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 need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you will want to completely let your hearing aid dry and check in with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a picture of what you can expect when it comes to 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.