You enjoy swimming and are all about going into the water. When you were a kid, 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 usual today. And that’s when you realize you may have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
In most scenarios, you’re right to be a little concerned. Hearing aids are typically built with some amount of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept dry and clean. 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 device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which signifies the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.
Some modern hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The advanced electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t mesh well with water. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, try not to use them in overly humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t do much good, but there are other scenarios where it can be useful:
- You love boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
This list is only a small sample. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your day-to-day life and figure out just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
It’s worthwhile to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be in your best interest to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some instances, that could mean investing in a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place at night (it depends on your climate). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never helps anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you will want to completely allow your hearing aids to dry and consult with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. At least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.