You love swimming and are all about being in the water. When you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water seems a little… louder… than usual. And then you recognize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In most cases, you’re right to be a bit worried. Normally, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Generally 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 here and there won’t be a big deal. The IP rating is the official water resistance figure and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by giving every hearing aid a two digit number. The first digit signifies the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second digit which represents the device’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely strong resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for around 30 minutes.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Ordinarily, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump in the shower or depending on the IP rating, sit outside in overly humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t help much, but there are other scenarios where it can be useful:
- If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet climate
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat could warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your daily life and decide just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
It’s important to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You may, in some scenarios, need to get a dehumidifier. In other cases, it might just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place at night (depending on your climate). And it will be necessary to thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what should you do?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t improve anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you identify if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. At least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.