As a swimmer, you love going in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to swim). Today, the water seems a little… louder… than normal. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t really certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.
In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a bit worried. Usually, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in good working order. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the official water resistance number and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by giving every hearing aid a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other forms of dry erosion is delineated by the first number.
The second number (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your device is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. 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 a half hour.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are entirely 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 aren’t going to mesh well with water. 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, try not to use them in excessively 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 scenarios where a high IP rating will absolutely 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 relatively humid, rainy, or wet environment
- You have a passion for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat could warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
This is certainly not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and identify just what sort of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will want to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
You might, in some circumstances, need to get a dehumidifier. In other cases, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a clean 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.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t help anything anyway. But you will want to completely let your hearing aid dry and check in 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 estimated based on the IP rating. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.