As a swimmer, you enjoy going in the water. When you were younger, everybody said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a bit…louder… than normal 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.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
In general 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 problem if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
The IP number works by giving every device a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other forms of dry erosion is represented by the first digit.
The second number (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and work for about thirty minutes in water.
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?
The sophisticated electronics inside your hearing aid case won’t mesh well with water. 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 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 circumstances in which a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:
- If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet climate
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat might warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
This is surely not a complete list. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be enough for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
In some circumstances, that could mean investing in a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a clean 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 some moistures including sweat.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t improve 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 identify if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect when it comes to 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.