Can you wear your hearing aid in the pool? What about in the shower or at the beach?
Hearing aids are often constructed with some amount of water resistance in mind. However, a device that resists water is much different than a device that’s waterproof.
What to know about hearing aids and water resistance
Hearing aids work best when they are kept clean and dry. Some hearing aids are designed so a little splash here and there won’t be a big deal.
The amount of how water resistant your device is depends on its IP rating, the officially designated water resistance number.
How does IP rating work?
Every device is given a two-digit number. The first number represents the device’s resistance against sand, dust, and other forms of dry erosion.
The second number (and the one we’re really interested in here) represents how resistant your device is to water. The higher the number, the longer the device will last (in three feet of water or so). So a device with a rating of IP87 will be quite resistant to sand and work for around thirty minutes in three feet of water.
Some modern hearing aids can be quite water resistant. There are no hearing aids currently available that are entirely 100% waterproof.
Signs you may benefit from higher water resistance
Water damage can greatly affect your hearing device. Be sure to remove your hearing aids before you go swimming or hop in the shower. Depending on the IP rating of your device, you may want to avoid sitting 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 in which a high IP rating will absolutely be to your advantage:
- If you live in a relatively humid, rainy, or wet climate.
- If you sweat significantly, whether at rest or when exercising (sweat, after all, is a form of water).
- If you frequently participate in water sports, such as fishing or boating. The spray from the boat might warrant high IP rated hearing aids.
- If you have a history of forgetting to take your hearing aids out before you shower or walk out into the rain.
It’ll be up to you and your hearing specialist to take a look at your daily life and determine just what sort of water resistance is strong enough for your routine.
Taking care of your hearing aids
It’s crucial to recognize that being water-resistant doesn’t equate to being maintenance-free. Especially after perspiration, such as a heavy run, it’s advisable to take proactive measures to clean and ensure the dryness of your hearing aids.
Depending on your circumstances, this could involve purchasing a dehumidifier or simply storing your hearing aids in a consistently dry location each night (depending on your local climate). Specific forms of moisture, such as sweat, can leave residues, so for optimal results, dedicating time to a thorough cleaning routine for your hearing aids is also essential.
What to do if your hearing aids get wet
If there’s no such thing as a waterproof hearing aid, should you worry when your devices get wet? Don’t panic. Carefully allow your hearing aids to dry and check in with your hearing specialist, especially if they have a low IP rating.
The IP rating on your hearing device will give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of possible water damage.
At a minimum, make it a point to remove your hearing aids before swimming. Keeping your hearing devices as dry as possible is key for their optimal performance.