As a swimmer, you love being in the water. When you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you notice you may have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Hearing aids are often designed with some level 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 for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
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 second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) signifies how resistant your device is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely strong resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for about a half hour.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The intricate electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in overly 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 situations where it can be useful:
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet climate
- You have a record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you take a shower or go out into the rain
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
This is certainly not a complete list. Of course, what level of water resistance will be sufficient for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
You have to care for your hearing aids
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You might, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most cases, 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 certain 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? Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t help anything anyway. 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.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.