As a swimmer, you love being in the water. When you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a little…louder… than usual today. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely certain those little electronic devices are waterproof.
Normally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Usually, modern 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
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in proper 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 called an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
The IP number works by giving every device a two digit number. The first digit represents the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which signifies the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have really good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for about a half hour.
Although there are no 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 your hearing aid case won’t mesh well with water. Typically, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or hop into 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 do much good, but there are other situations where it can be useful:
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
This is certainly not a complete list. Naturally, what level of water resistance will be adequate for your day-to-day life will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
You may, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids completely.
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 will want to completely let your hearing aid dry and check in with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. 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.