As a swimmer, you love being in the water. When you were a kid, everybody said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water seems a little… louder… than normal. And that’s when you notice you may 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. Hearing aids are frequently constructed with some degree of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Keeping your hearing aids clean and dry is the best way to keep them in good working order. But for most hearing aids, it won’t be a big deal if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially designated water resistance number.
The IP number works by giving every hearing aid a two digit number. The first number signifies the device’s resistance to dirt, dust, and other types of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) represents how resistant your hearing aid is to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will last under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have very strong resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for around 30 minutes.
Although there are no hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof, there are some that can have a high water resistance rating.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have sophisticated electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Typically, you’ll want to take out your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump into the shower or depending on the IP rating, sit 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 situations where a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- If you perspire substantially, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a type of water)
- You have a passion for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat could call for high IP rated hearing aids
- You have a history of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you take a shower or go out into the rain
- If the environment 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 identified after a consultation.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
It’s worthwhile to note that water-resistant does not mean maintenance-free. Between sweat-filled runs, it will be smart to ensure that you clean your hearing aids and keep them dry.
You might, in some scenarios, need to purchase a dehumidifier. But in most cases, a clean 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 results, you will also want to take enough time to clean your hearing aids completely.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
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 consult with us to make sure that they aren’t damaged, especially if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a picture of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. If you can avoid getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.