Did you know that the average temperature in Tucson between May 1 and October 31 is over 80° Fahrenheit? In June, July and August it approaches 100°! That means for a large portion of the year, any given day could be a good one to take a dip in the pool . Whether it’s summer and time to cool off, or for year-round swims in gyms or private pools, it’s important to be up-to-date on handling your hearing aids when it comes to water sports.
Can You Swim with Hearing Aids?
The answer to that question is currently no. While you may see a promotion or mention of water-resistant or water-repellent hearing aids, which protect your device from moisture, even the most technologically advanced hearing aids cannot be submerged in water—whether it’s to swim or take a shower. This kind of water exposure can permanently damage hearing aids.
Hearing aids cannot be sealed to keep out water. That’s because their batteries need airflow to operate. In fact, trapped moisture of any kind in hearing aids is a major reason that batteries become corroded. Moisture also compromises the amplifier (processor) and other parts of the device.
While there was once briefly waterproof hearing aids, that product is no longer on the market. It is possible that future technology will enable a type of product that can safely be submerged in water. In the meantime, you should protect your device from exposure to moisture.
The Next Best Thing
While there is no such thing as completely waterproof, most hearing aid devices are water resistant, and you can definitely shop for the best water-resistant types.
At organization called the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) tests devices such as smart phones and hearing aids to determine their resistance to such elements as water and dust. The IEC gives each product a two-digit Ingress Protection (or IP) rating, which designates its ability to resist the elements. To find your IP rating, you can google your hearing aid model or you can also ask your audiologist.
In the meantime, it’s important to learn how to take care of your hearing aid device should it be exposed to water or moisture, whether that means it’s from water sports, heavy sweating or even rain water.
Products to Protect Your Hearing Aids
Extra protection for your hearing aids is important for those who do water sports or who are active and sweat a lot. Even if these activities don’t apply to you, your hearing aids can still be exposed to and damaged by moisture.
In addition to standard care and cleaning, there are a number of hearing aid covers on the market for protection against water and moisture. These include a hearing aid sweatband or sleeve made with a washable material that absorbs sweat so it doesn’t damage your hearing aid. A version of this headband is also made from spandex nylon. This material wicks away sweat even faster than other types of cloth and is also easily washable.
How to Dry Your Hearing Aids
The best way to ensure your hearing aids stay dry is to properly protect and maintain them. To prevent moisture from damaging your device, or if they accidentally become wet, turn off the device and take out the batteries, then try one of these methods:
- Place slightly wet device on newspaper for 24 hours to air-dry.
- Place device under a lamp, which generates gentle heat.
- Place raw rice or silica gel in a plastic baggie and submerge your hearing aid device overnight.
You may also consider purchasing a hearing aid dryer. This is a device that uses heat or UV light to dry, dehumidify and sanitize hearing aids. These dryers also help to dry out earwax, which can then be more easily cleared out of your hearing aids.
It is possible to salvage your hearing aids if they get wet. While you can try any of the suggestions above, do not subject your device to direct or high heat. This can cause even more damage than getting them wet. If the above techniques don’t work, and your hearing aids are still wet, contact your audiologist for further advice or assistance.
While your hearing aids should be packed away for a swim, working with your audiologist ensures you can purchase and maintain the best possible device for your lifestyle.
If you’re in the market for a water-resistant hearing device, request an appointment at Sonora Hearing Care. Our audiology practice carries the top hearing aid models from the most trusted brands, and we’re sure to have a hearing aid that fits your needs.