As a swimmer, you love being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to go swimming). The water seems a bit…louder… than normal today. And that’s when you realize you might have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
Usually, this would be somewhat of a concern. Hearing aids are frequently constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. 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 work best when they are kept dry and clean. 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.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is given a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other kinds of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.
The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and function for about thirty minutes in water.
Some modern hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are entirely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The sophisticated electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Typically, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or hop in the shower or depending on the IP rating, sit outside 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 scenarios where a high IP rating will definitely be advantageous:
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet environment
- You have a passion for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If you have a heavy sweating problem
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and decide just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s important to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be in your best interest to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some situations, that could mean obtaining a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean storing your hearing aids in a nice dry place every night (it depends on your climate). 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?
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you will want to completely let your hearing aid dry and check in with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.