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. Today, the water sounds a bit… louder… than usual. And then you recognize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
In most cases, you’re right to be a bit concerned. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept clean and dry. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the official water resistance figure and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is assigned 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 number (and the one we’re really interested in here) represents how resistant your device is 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 extremely good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for around a half hour.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will definitely 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 do much good, but there are other scenarios where it can be useful:
- If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet environment
- You love boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- You have a history of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you take a shower or go out into the rain
This list is just a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and decide just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be in your best interest to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You may, in some scenarios, need to purchase a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what should you do?
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 improves the situation anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you identify if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.