You enjoy swimming and are all about going into the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to go swimming). Today, the water seems a bit… louder… than usual. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
Normally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Usually, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept dry and clean. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is given a two-digit number. The first number shows the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which signifies the device’s resistance to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will last under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and function for about thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using 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 circumstances where it can be useful:
- If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
- You love boating or other water activities that generate over-spray
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
This is surely not an exhaustive list. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be sufficient for your daily routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
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 may, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t help anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient 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 remain, the better.