As a swimmer, you love being 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 usual today. And then you recognize 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 little 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.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But some hearing aids are made so a little splash here and there won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the official water resistance figure and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by giving every hearing aid a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other forms of dry erosion is represented by the first digit.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second digit which signifies the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Ordinarily, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or hop into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside 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:
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet environment
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If you perspire substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your daily life and identify just what sort of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
You have to care for your hearing aids
It’s important to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You may, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain kinds 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.
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 improve anything anyway. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a picture of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. At the very least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.