You enjoy swimming and are all about being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to go swimming). Today, the water seems a little… louder… than normal. And that’s when you realize you may have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a bit worried. Usually, contemporary 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.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept clean and dry. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is assigned a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other types of dry erosion is delineated by the first number.
The second digit (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will last under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and work for about thirty minutes in water.
Although there are no 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 sophisticated technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Normally, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go swimming or hop in the shower or depending on the IP rating, sit outside in overly humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of a swimming pool, but there are some circumstances in which a high IP rating will absolutely be advantageous:
- If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet climate
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
This list is just a small sample. Naturally, what level of water resistance will be sufficient for your daily routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
You have to care for your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You might, in some circumstances, need to get a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might 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?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t help anything anyway. But you will want to carefully let your hearing aid dry and check in with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. At the very least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.