As a swimmer, you love going in the water. When you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a little…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you realize you might have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t really sure those little electronic devices are waterproof.
In most scenarios, you’re right to be a bit worried. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a lot different than a device that’s 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 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 established water resistance figure and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by assigning every device a two digit number. The first digit signifies the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The second digit (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have very good resistance to dry erosion and will be ok under water for around a half hour.
Although there are no hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The sophisticated electronics inside your hearing aid case won’t mesh well with water. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, try not to use them in overly humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of a swimming pool, but there are some scenarios where a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat could warrant high IP rated hearing aids
This is surely not a complete list. Naturally, what level of water resistance will be sufficient for your day-to-day life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
It’s important to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
You might, in some circumstances, need to get 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 should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
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 sufficient time to dry out completely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. At the very least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.