You love swimming and are all about being in the water. When you were younger, everyone said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water seems a little… louder… than usual. And then you recognize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Hearing aids are typically constructed with some level of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept clean and dry. But some hearing aids are manufactured so a little splatter now and then won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the established water resistance number and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by giving every device a two digit number. The first number signifies the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid 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 extremely good resistance to dry erosion and will be ok under water for about 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 advanced electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Typically, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go for a swim or hop in the shower or depending on the IP rating, sit outside in overly humid weather. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some situations in which a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:
- You have a passion for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat might call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet climate
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
This is surely not an exhaustive list. Of course, what level of water resistance will be enough for your daily life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
It’s important to mention that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You might, in some scenarios, need to purchase a dehumidifier. In other cases, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a clean dry place every night (it depends on your climate). 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?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets 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 find out if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.