As a swimmer, you enjoy being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to go swimming). The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you notice you may have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
Normally, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are often designed with some amount of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water is not 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 designed so a little splash here and there 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 device a two digit number. The first digit signifies the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second digit which represents the device’s resistance to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.
Some modern hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The sophisticated electronics inside 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, avoid using them in excessively 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 scenarios where it can be useful:
- If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
- You have a track record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you take a shower or go out into the rain
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your daily life and determine just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
In some cases, that could mean purchasing a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice 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 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 helps anyway so it’s best to stay calm. 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 find out if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you an idea of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.