As a swimmer, you enjoy going in the water. When you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a little…louder… than normal today. And then you realize your oversight: you went in 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. Hearing aids are often built with some degree of water resistance in mind. 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 good 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 known as 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 first number signifies the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which represents the device’s resistance 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 quite resistant to sand and work for about thirty minutes in water.
Although there are no hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in excessively humid weather. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of a swimming pool, but there are some scenarios in which a high IP rating will definitely be advantageous:
- You have a record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or walk out into the rain
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment
- You have a passion for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat might call for high IP rated hearing aids
This is surely not a complete list. Naturally, what degree of water resistance will be adequate for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
You have to care for your hearing aids
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You might, in some scenarios, need to purchase a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean dry place at night (depending on your climate). But certain kinds of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take enough 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? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked 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 find out 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 remain, the better.