As a swimmer, you enjoy being 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 bit…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you realize you might have made a mistake: you wore 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. Hearing aids are often designed with some amount of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in good 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 allocated water resistance number.
The IP number works by giving every device a two digit number. The first digit signifies the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) represents 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 function for about thirty minutes in water.
Although there are no hearing aids currently available that are entirely 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 do well with water. Normally, 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. 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 circumstances where a high IP rating will definitely be advantageous:
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
- You love boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and figure out just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to care for your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them 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 thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out thoroughly and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a concept of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. At least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.