As a swimmer, you enjoy going in the water. When you were younger, everyone 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 then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t entirely sure those tiny electronic devices are waterproof.
In most scenarios, you’re right to be a little worried. Hearing aids are typically built with some level 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 most 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 designated water resistance number.
The IP number works by giving every hearing aid a two digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is delineated by the first number.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second digit which signifies the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.
Some modern hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t mesh well with water. Typically, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or jump in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in overly humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some scenarios in which a high IP rating will absolutely be advantageous:
- You have a proclivity for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat could call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If the environment where you live is rainy or overly humid
- If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
- You have a history of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or walk out into the rain
This is surely not an exhaustive list. Of course, what level of water resistance will be adequate for your daily routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
You have to care for your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You may, in some circumstances, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). And it will be necessary to thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid 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 remain calm. But you will want to carefully let your hearing aid dry and check in with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.