You enjoy swimming and are all about going into the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to go swimming). The water seems a little…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you realize you may have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Normally, contemporary 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.
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. 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 first number represents the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have really strong resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for about a half hour.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Before you go for a swim 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 do much good, but there are other circumstances where it can be useful:
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet climate
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- You have a passion for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat might call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be enough for your daily routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
In some instances, that might mean obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most cases, 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 certain 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 should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t improve anything anyway. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
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.