As a swimmer, you love being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to swim). The water seems a little…louder… than usual today. And that’s when you notice you may have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely certain those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
In most scenarios, you’re right to be a bit concerned. Hearing aids are frequently built with some degree of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a lot different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in good working order. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a problem 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 assigning every device a two digit number. The first number signifies the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) signifies how resistant your device is to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Typically, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go for a swim 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 help much, but there are other circumstances where it can be useful:
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
- If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
- You love boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and decide just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to care for your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
You might, in some scenarios, need to get a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean storing 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 some 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 panicking won’t improve anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out thoroughly and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you identify if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.