You enjoy swimming and are all about going into the water. When you were younger, everybody said you were part fish because you liked to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water sounds a bit… louder… than normal. And that’s when you notice you might have made a mistake: you wore your hearing aids into the pool. And you aren’t entirely sure those little electronic devices are waterproof.
In most scenarios, you’re right to be a bit concerned. Hearing aids are often constructed with some level of water resistance in mind. But being resistant to water isn’t the same as actually being waterproof.
Water resistance ratings and hearing aids
Generally speaking, your hearing aids are going to function best when they are kept clean and dry. But for the majority of 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 number and identifies how water resistant a hearing aid is.
The IP number works by giving every device a two digit number. The first number signifies the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other kinds of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really interested in though, is the second digit which represents the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The greater the number, the longer the device will keep working under water. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely good resistance to dry erosion and will be fine under water for around 30 minutes.
Some modern hearing aids can be very water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids currently available that are completely waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
The advanced electronics inside of your hearing aid case aren’t going to mesh well with water. Typically, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go for a swim or jump in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in overly 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 scenarios where a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- You have a passion for water sports (like fishing or boating); the spray from the boat might call for high IP rated hearing aids
- You have a record of forgetting to take out your hearing aid before you shower or go out into the rain
- If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively humid
- If you perspire significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to evaluate your daily life and identify just what kind of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be cared for
Your hearing aid isn’t maintenance-free just because it’s water resistant. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
In some instances, that might mean investing in a dehumidifier. But in most situations, a nice dry storage place will work fine (depending on where you live). But some kinds of moisture can leave residue (sweat among them), so to get the best results, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids completely.
If your hearing aids get wet, what can you do?
Just because waterproof hearing aids don’t exist doesn’t mean you need to panic if your hearing aid gets wet. Well, no–mostly because panicking won’t improve anything anyway. But you need to give your hearing aids enough time to dry out entirely and if they have a low IP rating, we can help you determine if there is any damage.
The IP rating on your hearing aid will give you a concept of what you can expect when it comes to possible water damage. If you can abstain from getting your hearing aids wet, you will get the best results. The drier your hearing devices remain, the better.