As a swimmer, you love being in the water. When you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a little…louder… than normal today. And then you realize your oversight: you went in 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 little concerned. Usually, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being 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 big deal. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
The IP number works by giving every hearing aid a two digit number. The first number represents the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really considering here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.
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 of your hearing aid case won’t do well with water. Typically, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in overly humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t do much good, but there are other circumstances where it can be useful:
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet environment
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- You have a record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you shower or walk out into the rain
- If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
This list is only a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your daily life and figure out just what sort of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to care for your hearing aids
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some cases, that might mean purchasing a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean dry place every night (it depends on your climate). And it will be necessary to thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can 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 help anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out completely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. At the very least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.