You enjoy swimming and are all about going into the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to swim). Today, the water sounds a little… louder… than usual. And that’s when you realize you might have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are frequently built with some amount 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 splatter now and then won’t be a problem. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is given a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is represented by the first number.
The second number (and the one we’re really considering here) signifies how resistant your device is to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and work for about thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in excessively humid weather. No amount 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 to your advantage:
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could warrant high IP rated hearing aids
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be adequate for your daily routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
It’s important to mention that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some circumstances, that might mean obtaining 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 thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
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 improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and consult with us to make certain 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.