You love swimming and are all about going into the water. When you were younger, everyone said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water sounds a bit… louder… than usual. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a concern. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But some hearing aids are manufactured so a little splash here and there won’t be a problem. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is given a two-digit number. The first digit represents the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other forms 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 greater this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for about a half hour.
Some modern hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Ordinarily, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go swimming or jump into the shower or depending on the IP rating, sit outside in overly 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 have a heavy sweating problem
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat might call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet environment
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. Naturally, what level of water resistance will be enough for your daily life will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. You will want to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
In some circumstances, that might mean obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some types of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best results, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids completely.
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 getting panicked won’t improve anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient 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 abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.