You enjoy swimming and are all about being in the water. When you were younger, everybody said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And then you recognize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are often constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in good working order. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splatter now and then won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the established water resistance figure and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is assigned 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 digit which represents the hearing aid’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 extremely 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?
The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. 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, avoid using them in excessively humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some situations where a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- You have a record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you take a shower or walk out into the rain
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat might warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet environment
This list is only a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your daily life and identify just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s important to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will need to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You might, in some circumstances, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some kinds of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t help 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 determine if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.