As a swimmer, you enjoy 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 regularly you wanted to swim). Today, the water seems a little… louder… than normal. And that’s when you realize you may have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a worry. Hearing aids are frequently constructed with some level 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 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. The IP rating is the established water resistance number and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by assigning every hearing aid a two digit number. The first number represents the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your device 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 about a half hour.
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?
The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Normally, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or hop in 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
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat might call for high IP rated hearing aids
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
This list is just a small sample. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be sufficient for your daily life will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You might, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. In other cases, it might just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean dry place at night (it depends on your climate). But certain kinds of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best results, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids completely.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.