As a swimmer, you enjoy being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to swim). 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 really sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
In the majority of cases, you’re right to be a little 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 proper working order. But some hearing aids are manufactured so a little splatter now and then won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the official water resistance number and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is assigned a two-digit number. The first digit shows the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) signifies how resistant your device is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and function for about thirty minutes in water.
Some modern hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Ordinarily, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go swimming or jump into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go 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 scenarios where it can be useful:
- You love boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
- If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be sufficient for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some cases, that might mean investing in a dehumidifier. In other cases, it might just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean dry place at night (it depends on your climate). But some kinds 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 thoroughly.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to remain 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 identify 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. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.