You love swimming and are all about being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to swim). Today, the water seems a little… louder… than usual. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely sure those little electronic devices are waterproof.
In most cases, you’re right to be a little concerned. Hearing aids are frequently designed with some degree of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in good working order. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splash here and there won’t be a big deal. The IP rating is the official water resistance number and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is given a two-digit number. The first digit signifies the device’s resistance to dirt, 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 a device that has a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.
Some modern hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, try not to use them in overly humid weather. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of a swimming pool, but there are some situations where a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet climate
- If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be enough for your day-to-day life will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
You have to care for your hearing aids
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. 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 situations, that might mean investing in a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). And it will be necessary to thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?
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 stay calm. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out completely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you find out 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. At least, try to remember to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.