As a swimmer, you enjoy being in the water. When you were younger, everybody said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a little…louder… than normal today. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In most cases, you’re right to be a bit worried. Hearing aids are often designed with some amount 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 dry and clean is the best way to keep them in good working order. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splash now and then won’t be a big deal. 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 number represents the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which signifies the device’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 very water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are entirely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The advanced electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Normally, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or hop into 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 help much, but there are other scenarios where it can be useful:
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet climate
- You have a passion for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
This list is only a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and determine just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to care for your hearing aids
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You may, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get 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 find out if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.