As a swimmer, you love going 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 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.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Hearing aids are frequently constructed with some amount of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept dry and clean. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the established water resistance figure and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by assigning every device a two digit number. The first number shows the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The greater 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 okay under water for about a half hour.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, try not to use them in excessively humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some scenarios in which a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:
- If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your day-to-day life and identify just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to care for your hearing aids
It’s important to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You might, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some kinds of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain calm. 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 least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.