You enjoy swimming and are all about being in the water. The pool is like your second home (when you were younger, everybody said you were part fish–that’s how regularly you wanted to go swimming). Today, the water seems a bit… louder… than usual. And that’s when you notice you may have made a mistake: you brought your hearing aids into the pool. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In most cases, you’re right to be a little concerned. Usually, contemporary hearing aids are resistant to water to some degree. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
In general speaking, your hearing aids are going to work best when they are kept clean and dry. But some hearing aids are made so a little splatter here and there won’t be a big deal. 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 device’s resistance to dust, sand, and other types of dry erosion is delineated by the first digit.
The second number (and the one we’re really considering here) signifies how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So a device that has a rating of IP87 will be really resistant to sand and function for about thirty minutes in water.
Although there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are entirely waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The advanced electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to do well with water. Before you go for a swim or into the shower you will probably 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 scenarios where it can be useful:
- You have a passion for water sports (like boating or fishing); the spray from the boat may warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- If you live in a really humid, rainy, or wet climate
- You have a track record of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you shower or walk out into the rain
- If you sweat substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a kind of water)
This list is only the tip of the iceberg. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your day-to-day life and figure out just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your life.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant doesn’t 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 situations, need to purchase a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some types of moisture can leave residue (like sweat), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
If your hearing aids get wet, what should you do?
If waterproof hearing aids don’t exist, should you panic when your devices get wet? Mostly because panicking never improves the situation anyway so it’s best to stay calm. But you will want to completely allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with us to make sure 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. At the very least, try not to forget to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as possible.