You enjoy swimming and are all about being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to swim). Today, the water sounds a bit… louder… than normal. And that’s when you notice you may have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are typically constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. 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 dry and clean. But for most 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 number and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is assigned a two-digit number. The first number shows the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really considering 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 very good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for about 30 minutes.
Some modern hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Before you go swimming 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 excessively 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 situations in which a high IP rating will definitely be advantageous:
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- You love boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet environment
- If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
This is surely not a complete list. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be enough for your daily routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
It’s important to note that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
You may, in some situations, 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 thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t help anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.