As a swimmer, you love being 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 seems a bit… louder… than normal. And that’s when you realize 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.
Generally, this would be somewhat of a worry. Normally, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But a device that resists water is a great deal different than a device that’s waterproof.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Generally 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 splatter now and then won’t be a big deal. 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 forms of dry erosion is represented by the first digit.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second number which represents the device’s resistance to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So a device with a rating of IP87 will be very resistant to sand and function for around thirty minutes in water.
Some contemporary hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. 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, try not to use them in overly humid weather. If you drop your hearing aid in the deep end of the pool, a high IP rating won’t help much, but there are other circumstances where it can be useful:
- You have a track record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or go out into the rain
- If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as boating or fishing); the spray from the boat might call for high IP rated hearing aids
- If the climate where you live is rainy or overly humid
This list is only a small sample. Of course, what level of water resistance will be enough for your daily routine will only be able to be determined after a consultation.
You have to take care of your hearing aids
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be wise to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
In some instances, that might mean purchasing a dehumidifier. In other circumstances, it might just mean keeping your hearing aids in a clean dry place every night (it depends on your climate). But certain kinds of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist 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 stay calm. But you need to give your hearing aids sufficient time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you identify if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you an idea of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. At least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.