You enjoy swimming and are all about being in 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. 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 aren’t really certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
In most cases, you’re right to be a bit worried. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept clean and dry. But some hearing aids are made so a little splatter here and there won’t be a problem. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is given a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other types of dry erosion is represented by the first number.
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 if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have really strong resistance to dry erosion and will be ok under water for around a half hour.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, try not to use 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 circumstances where it can be useful:
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet environment
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your day-to-day life and figure out just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some circumstances, that could mean purchasing a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain types of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you will want to completely allow your hearing aids to dry and consult with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At least, try to remember to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.