You enjoy swimming and are all about going into 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. The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Usually, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a lot different than a device that’s 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 splatter here and there won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the established water resistance number and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by assigning 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 second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have very strong resistance to dry erosion and will be ok under water for around a half hour.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are completely 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. Typically, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or jump into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in excessively humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of a swimming pool, but there are some situations in which a high IP rating will absolutely be advantageous:
- You have a track record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or go out into the rain
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
This is certainly not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your daily life and identify just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. 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 obtaining a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain types of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids completely.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
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 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 estimated based on the IP rating. At least, try to remember to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.