As a swimmer, you enjoy going in 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 bit… louder… than normal. And that’s when you notice you might have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Usually, modern 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
Generally 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 official water resistance number and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by giving every hearing aid 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 signifies the device’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced 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 into the shower or depending on the IP rating, sit outside in excessively 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 circumstances where it can be useful:
- You have a history of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or go out into the rain
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet environment
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat might warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
This list is just a small sample. Of course, what level of water resistance will be adequate for your daily routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. You will want to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
In some cases, that might mean purchasing a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean dry place at night (it depends on your climate). But some types of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best results, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
What should 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 improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out thoroughly and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you find out if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.