As a swimmer, you love being in the water. When you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water sounds a bit… louder… than normal. And that’s when you notice you might have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t really sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
Normally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Normally, 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.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something called 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 shows the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The second digit (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 last under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have very good resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for around a half hour.
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?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, try not to use them in overly 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 advantageous:
- 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
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your day-to-day life and identify just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. You will want to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
In some cases, that might mean investing in a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what should 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 will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At the very least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.