As a swimmer, you love being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to go swimming). The water seems a bit…louder… than usual today. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In most cases, you’re right to be a bit concerned. Normally, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. 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 some hearing aids are made so a little splash now and then won’t be a big deal. 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 device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other forms of dry erosion is represented by the first digit.
The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies how resistant your device is to water. The device will last longer under water the greater this number is. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.
Some modern hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The sophisticated electronics inside your hearing aid case won’t mesh well with water. 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 overly 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 in which a high IP rating will absolutely be advantageous:
- You have a passion for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat might call for high IP rated hearing aids
- You have a track record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or go out into the rain
- If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet climate
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your day-to-day life and decide just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s important to note that water-resistant doesn’t mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some circumstances, that might mean investing in a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a clean 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 should you do?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you need to 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 enough time to dry out thoroughly 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 when it comes to possible water damage. At least, try not to forget to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.