You love swimming and are all about going into the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to go swimming). Today, the water seems a little… louder… than normal. And then you recognize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are typically constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a lot 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 good working order. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something known as an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
The IP number works by assigning every device a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is represented by the first number.
The second number (and the one we’re really considering 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 really good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for about 30 minutes.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go for a swim 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 excessively humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t help much, but there are other scenarios where it can be useful:
- You love boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
This list is only a small sample. Of course, what level of water resistance will be sufficient for your daily life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some situations, that might mean obtaining a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place every night (it depends on your climate). But some types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids completely.
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 need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t improve anything anyway. But you will want to completely allow your hearing aids to dry and consult 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 picture of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. At least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.