As a swimmer, you love being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to go swimming). The water seems a little…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 little electronic devices are waterproof.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Usually, contemporary 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
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to function 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 called 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 signifies the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second digit which represents the device’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have very good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for around 30 minutes.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The sophisticated electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in overly humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t help much, but there are other situations where it can be useful:
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- If the environment where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- You have a passion for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat might call for high IP rated hearing aids
- You have a track record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you shower or go out into the rain
This list is only a small sample. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be sufficient for your daily routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be in your best interest to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some cases, that might mean purchasing a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean storing your hearing aids in a nice dry place every night (it depends on your climate). But some kinds of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
If your hearing aids get wet, what should you do?
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. 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 aid will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.