As a swimmer, you enjoy going in the water. When you were younger, everyone 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 usual today. And that’s when you notice you may have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In the majority of cases, you’re right to be a little worried. Normally, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept clean and dry. 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 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 digit signifies the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which signifies the device’s resistance 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 good resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for around 30 minutes.
Some modern hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids currently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Typically, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in excessively humid weather. No level 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 to your advantage:
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet climate
- If you perspire substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and identify just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
It’s important to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You may, in some scenarios, need to purchase a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean storing your hearing aids in a clean dry place every 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 should 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 improves the situation anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you will want to completely let your hearing aid dry and check in with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. At least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.