As a swimmer, you enjoy being in the water. When you were younger, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water seems a bit… louder… than normal. 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.
Usually, 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 a lot different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
The IP number works by giving every device a two digit number. The first number signifies the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which signifies the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and function for about thirty minutes in water.
Although there are no hearing aids presently available that are completely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t 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 overly humid weather. No level 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 definitely be to your advantage:
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet environment
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your day-to-day life and figure out just what sort of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
In some instances, that might mean obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most situations, 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?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you will want to completely let your hearing aid dry and consult 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 approximated based on the IP rating. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.