You love 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 regularly you wanted to swim). The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t really sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are often built with some level of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept dry and clean. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the established water resistance number and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
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 kinds of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second digit which represents the device’s resistance 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 function for around thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are entirely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The advanced electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Normally, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump into 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 the pool, but there are some scenarios where a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- If the environment where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
This is surely not an exhaustive list. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be enough for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
It’s important to mention that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some situations, that might mean investing in a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids completely.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you will want to carefully let your hearing aid dry and consult with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At 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 you can.