As a swimmer, you love going in the water. When you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. 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 don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In most scenarios, you’re right to be a little concerned. Hearing aids are typically designed with some degree of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But for the majority of 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.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is assigned a two-digit number. The first digit signifies the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which represents the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will last under water. 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.
Although there are no hearing aids presently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Typically, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go for a swim or hop 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 situations where a high IP rating will absolutely be advantageous:
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat may warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your daily life and figure out just what sort of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to care for your hearing aids
It’s important to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some circumstances, that could mean purchasing a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some types of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
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 improves the situation anyway so it’s best to stay calm. 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 find out if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.