As a swimmer, you love going in the water. When you were a kid, everyone said you were part fish because you loved to swim so much the pool was your second home. Today, the water sounds a bit… louder… than normal. And then you realize your oversight: you went into the pool with your hearing aid in. And you don’t know if it’s waterproof or not.
In most scenarios, you’re right to be a bit 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.
Hearing aids and water resistance ratings
Keeping your hearing aids dry and clean is the best way to keep them in proper working order. But for the majority of hearing aids, it won’t be a problem if you get a little water on them. It all depends on something called an IP rating–that’s the officially allocated water resistance number.
The IP number works by assigning every device a two digit number. The first number signifies the device’s resistance to sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The number here that we’re really considering though, is the second digit which represents the hearing aid’s resistance to water. The device will last longer under water the higher this number is. So if a device has a rating of IP87 it will have extremely strong resistance to dry erosion and will be okay under water for around a half hour.
Some modern hearing aids can be really water-resistant. But there aren’t any hearing aids presently available that are totally waterproof.
Is water resistance worthwhile?
Your hearing aids have advanced electronics inside them which can be damaged by moisture. Normally, you’ll want to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or hop in the shower or depending on the IP rating, go outside in excessively 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:
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water)
- You have a proclivity for water sports (such as fishing or boating); the spray from the boat might warrant high IP rated hearing aids
- There have been occasions when you’ve forgotten to take your hearing aid out before going into the rain or shower
- If the climate where you live is rainy or excessively humid
This is certainly not a complete list. It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to consider your daily life and figure out just what type of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Your hearing aids need to be taken care of
Your hearing aid is not maintenance-free just because it’s resistant to water. You will need to keep your hearing aids dry and clean.
In some circumstances, that might mean purchasing 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 (sweat among them), so to get the best benefits, you will also want to take the proper time to clean your hearing aids thoroughly.
What should you do if your hearing aids get wet?
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 remain 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.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you a concept of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage. At least, try to remember to take your hearing aids out before you go swimming. It’s best to keep your hearing aids as dry as you can.