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 little…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you notice you might have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Usually, contemporary 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
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept dry and clean. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splash here and there won’t be a problem. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
The IP number works by assigning 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 device’s resistance to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will last under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have really strong resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for about 30 minutes.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The advanced electronics inside your hearing aid case won’t mesh well with water. Ordinarily, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go swimming or jump in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in excessively humid weather. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some circumstances where a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- You have a record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or walk out into the rain
- You have a passion for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
- If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. Naturally, what level of water resistance will be sufficient for your daily life 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 doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
In some situations, that might mean purchasing a dehumidifier. In other cases, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place at night (it depends on your climate). And it will be necessary to completely 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 should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t help anything anyway. But you will want to completely allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.