As a swimmer, you love going in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to swim). The water seems a bit…louder… than usual today. And that’s when you notice you might have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Hearing aids are often constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. 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 clean and dry is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal 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 hearing aid a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other forms of dry erosion is delineated by the first number.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which signifies the device’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. 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 30 minutes.
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 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. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some circumstances where a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
- If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet climate
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
This is surely not a complete list. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be enough for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
You might, in some scenarios, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean 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 certain moistures including sweat.
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? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t improve anything anyway. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and consult with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At the very least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.