As a swimmer, you love going 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 go swimming). The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And then you recognize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely sure those little electronic devices are waterproof.
In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a bit worried. Hearing aids are often designed with some degree 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 the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the official water resistance number and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is given a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other types of dry erosion is delineated by the first number.
The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.
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 advanced electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Normally, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or hop into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside 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 where a high IP rating will absolutely be advantageous:
- If the environment where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
- You have a history 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 problem
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and figure out just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You may, in some circumstances, need to purchase a dehumidifier. In other cases, 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 thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
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. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.