You love swimming and are all about going into the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to swim). The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you notice you may have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In the majority of scenarios, you’re right to be a little worried. Usually, 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
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept dry and clean. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. 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 types of dry erosion is represented by the first digit.
The second digit (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 if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for around 30 minutes.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The intricate electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in overly 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 scenarios where it can be useful:
- If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- There have been times 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 problem
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and identify just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will want to keep your hearing aids clean and dry.
You might, in some scenarios, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean 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 some moistures including sweat.
What can you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because panicking 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 find out if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you an idea of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. At least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.