As a swimmer, you love going 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). Today, the water seems a bit… louder… than usual. And that’s when you realize 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 most cases, you’re right to be a little concerned. Hearing aids are frequently constructed with some level of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water is not 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 for most hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. The IP rating is the established water resistance number and establishes how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is given a two-digit number. The first number represents the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The second digit (and the one we’re really considering here) represents how resistant your device is to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in water.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated technology inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Ordinarily, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in excessively 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 circumstances 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 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 is certainly not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your day-to-day life and decide just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s worthwhile 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.
You might, in some circumstances, need to purchase a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a clean dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But certain kinds of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best results, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids completely.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t improve anything anyway. 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 approximated based on the IP rating. At the very least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices stay, the better.