You love swimming and are all about going into 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 swim). Today, the water sounds a little… louder… than normal. And then you realize 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 scenarios, you’re right to be a little worried. Hearing aids are frequently designed with some level of water resistance in mind. But a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
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. The IP rating is the official water resistance figure and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every hearing aid is assigned a two-digit number. The device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other forms of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.
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 last under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have really good resistance to dry erosion and will be ok under water for about a half hour.
Some modern hearing aids can be quite water-resistant. But there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The advanced electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Ordinarily, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or hop into the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in excessively humid weather. No amount of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of a swimming pool, but there are some scenarios in which a high IP rating will absolutely be advantageous:
- There have been times when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If you perspire substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
- You have a passion for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat may call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If you live in a fairly humid, rainy, or wet climate
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and identify just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You might, in some situations, need to get a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by certain moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what should you do?
Just because there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid doesn’t mean you should panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to remain calm. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out completely 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 in terms of possible water damage. At the very 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.