As a swimmer, you enjoy being in the water. When you were younger, everybody said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. The water seems a little…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you realize you may have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t really sure those little electronic devices are waterproof.
In most scenarios, you’re right to be a little worried. Normally, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But some hearing aids are made so a little splash here and there won’t be a big deal. The IP rating is the official water resistance figure and determines how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by assigning every device a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is represented by the first digit.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second number which represents the device’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and work for about 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?
Your hearing aids have advanced electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. 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 excessively humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t help much, but there are other circumstances where it can be useful:
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- You have a passion for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
- If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
This list is only a small sample. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be enough for your daily life will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
You have to care for your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. You will want to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
You may, in some scenarios, need to purchase a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place at night (it depends on your climate). But some kinds of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids completely.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain 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.
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 stay, the better.