Waterproof Ratings For Hearing Aids
Hearing aids can be an excellent way to facilitate an active lifestyle. Those who love a day at the beach or the pool may have never thought they could incorporate hearing assistance into this lifestyle. Even those who want to be out and about during inclement weather may worry about using hearing aids during their activities. Technology has advanced so that water-resistant and even waterproof hearing aids are available. Although some new hearing aids are able to resist water damage, be sure to know the level of water resistance in your aids according to these ratings before you take them into a risky situation.
Water-Resistant And Waterproof Hearing Aids
As you may already know with gadgets such as watches or smartphones, some resist water splashes to a certain level while others are totally safe for submersion. The first hearing aids that was waterproof to 3 meters of submersion was the Siemens Aquaris. Our current recommended hearing aid is the Phonak Audeo Life, which is part of the Paradise series. Water-resistant aids use a nano-coating, much like other items such as smartphones. This coating makes water repel off the sensitive electronics of the aids when it receives a splash, though it is not recommended for submersion. These aids are great protection if you are worried about getting stuck in the rain. Water resistance is measured in an IP rating, as explained below.
Ingress Protection (IP) is a measure of how good aids are at keeping out debris and foreign substances, including water. The first number following the letters “IP” denotes the ability of the aids to keep out substances such as dirt or dust. The maximum for the first number is 6. The last digit denotes the resistance to liquid, such as water, and the maximum number for this final figure is 8. The highest IP for a hearing aid, then, is IP68. The Siemens Aquaris is rated at IP68, total debris and water resistance.
A common level of IP for hearing aids on the market today is IP67. These aids are dust tight and they are resistant in up to 1 meter of water submersion for up to 30 minutes. As you can tell, these aids are not designed for swimming, but they should be safe if they are accidentally dropped in water for a moment, such as a sink of water. They are also useful if you are playing in the water and get some water on the aids over time, short of submersion. If you are interested to know the interpretation of the numbers for a particular set of hearing aids, consult your hearing specialist to learn the precise level of debris and fluid protection you can expect for a given combination of numbers.
Tips For Preventing Water Damage
If you have a pair of hearing aids with a lower rating or are unsure if your aids have a rating at all, it is a safe practice to try to avoid humidity and fluid submersion altogether. A few things will help you keep your aids safe from damage. Of course, unless you are using the Phonak Audeo Life, remove your aids before showering, bathing, swimming, or playing in a place where they may be splashed with water. If you are wearing your aids and a rainstorm or shower comes your way, you will want to carefully wipe down the aids with a clean nonporous fiber after use. Specific fabrics are available on the market to remove moisture from your aids after this kind of encounter. If you aids have a battery door that can be opened, it is helpful to open that door after moisture exposure to let them dry out on the inside. Dehumidifiers are also available on the market as hearing aid accessories to remove unseen moisture from the units, particularly for those that do not have a batter door that can be opened. One trick that has worked for some people is to put your aids in a sealed plastic bag full of rice if there has been moisture exposure. The rice has an absorptive ability that can draw humidity out of the aids if you leave them in a sealed bag overnight.
To learn more about hearing aid options, contact us at Hearing Spa today.