You love swimming and are all about going into the water. When you were younger, everyone said you were part fish because you loved 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 really certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a concern. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a lot different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in proper working order. 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 known as an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
The IP number works by giving every device a two digit number. The first digit shows the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second digit which represents the hearing aid’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 ok under water for around 30 minutes.
Some modern hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Normally, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or hop in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside 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 situations where it can be useful:
- You have a record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or walk out into the rain
- You love boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- If you perspire substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
- If the environment where you live is rainy or excessively humid
This is surely not a complete list. Of course, 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
It’s important to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You may, in some situations, need to purchase a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean keeping your hearing aids in a clean dry place every night (it depends on your climate). And it will be necessary to thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist 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 carefully 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 an idea of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.