As a swimmer, you enjoy 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 regularly you wanted to swim). Today, the water sounds a bit… louder… than usual. And that’s when you notice you might 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 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 a lot different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept dry and clean. But some hearing aids are made so a little splash here and there won’t be a problem. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
The IP number works by assigning every hearing aid a two digit number. The first digit shows the device’s resistance against dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The second digit (and the one we’re really interested in here) represents how resistant your device is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.
Although there are no hearing aids currently available that are completely 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. Before you go swimming or into the shower you will probably want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in excessively humid weather. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some circumstances where a high IP rating will definitely be to your advantage:
- If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- If you have a heavy sweating issue
- You enjoy boating or other water activities that produce over-spray
This list is only a small sample. Of course, what level of water resistance will be adequate for your daily routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will want to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
You may, in some circumstances, need to get a dehumidifier. In other cases, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a clean dry place at night (depending on your climate). And it will be necessary to thoroughly clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Well, no–mostly because getting panicked won’t improve anything anyway. But you will want to carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make certain that they aren’t damaged, particularly if they have a low IP rating.
How much damage your hearing aid has sustained can be estimated based on the IP rating. At least, try to remember to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.