As a swimmer, you love being in the water. When you were a kid, everyone 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 usual today. And that’s when you realize you might have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t really certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.
In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a little concerned. Hearing aids are typically designed with some degree of water resistance in mind. 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 work best when they are kept dry and clean. But some hearing aids are manufactured so a little splash now and then won’t be a problem. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
The IP number works by assigning every device a two digit number. The first number signifies the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will last under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.
Although there are no hearing aids presently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. 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 scenarios in which a high IP rating will definitely be advantageous:
- You have a history of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you take a shower or walk out into the rain
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment
- If you perspire substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could warrant high IP rated hearing aids
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be adequate for your daily routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You might, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids completely.
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? Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.