You love swimming and are all about going into the water. When you were a kid, 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 normal. And that’s when you realize you might have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely sure those little electronic devices are waterproof.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are typically constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept clean and dry. 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.
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 forms of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second digit which signifies the hearing aid’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 very resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.
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?
The advanced electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t do well with water. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them 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 track record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you shower or walk out into the rain
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your daily life and determine just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. 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 cases, that could mean obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean 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 should you do?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t help anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you identify if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. At the very least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.