As a swimmer, you enjoy going in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everyone said you were part fish–that’s how often you wanted to swim). Today, the water sounds a little… louder… than usual. And then you realize your oversight: you went in the pool with your hearing aid in. And you aren’t really sure those little electronic devices are waterproof.
In most cases, you’re right to be a bit concerned. Hearing aids are typically built with some amount of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water is not the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept dry and clean. But some hearing aids are designed so a little splatter now and then won’t be a big deal. The IP rating is the official water resistance number and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.
Here’s how the IP rating works: every device is assigned a two-digit number. The first number shows the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The second number (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 very good resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for about a half hour.
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?
The advanced electronics inside your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will definitely want to take out your hearing aid and depending on the IP rating, avoid using them in excessively humid weather. No level of water resistance will help if you drop your hearing aids in the deep end of the pool, but there are some circumstances in which a high IP rating will absolutely be advantageous:
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to remove your hearing aids before going into the rain or shower
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet climate
- You have a passion for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat could call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. Of course, what level of water resistance will be sufficient for your day-to-day routine will only be able to be identified after a consultation.
You have to care for your hearing aids
It’s important to mention that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to make sure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You may, in some circumstances, need to get a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it may just mean keeping your hearing aids in a nice dry place at night (depending on your climate). And it will be necessary to completely clean and remove any residue left behind by some moistures including sweat.
If your hearing aids get wet, what should you do?
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 carefully let your hearing aid 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 approximated based on the IP rating. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.