You enjoy swimming and are all about going into the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to go swimming). Today, the water sounds a little… louder… than normal. And then you recognize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. 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, modern hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept clean and dry. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splash now and then won’t be a problem. The IP rating is the official water resistance number and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is given a two-digit number. The first number represents the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) represents how resistant your device is to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely strong resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for about a half hour.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are entirely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case won’t do well with water. Typically, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in overly humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t do much good, but there are other scenarios where it can be useful:
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- You love boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet environment
This list is just a small sample. Of course, what degree of water resistance will be sufficient for your day-to-day routine 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 resistant to water. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some cases, that might mean investing in a dehumidifier. In other cases, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a clean dry place every night (it depends on your climate). But some kinds of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
If your hearing aids get wet, what should you do?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t help anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you identify if there is any damage.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be approximated based on the IP rating. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.