If you use hearing aids, they play a central role in your ability to interact freely with others. Having some hearing loss should not prevent you from being able to have fun and enjoy all the same activities as others. With modern hearing aids, full participation is often possible. However, there is one area that worries many hearing aid users: swimming and water sports.
Getting Your Hearing Aids Wet – Is It Okay?
First, it is worth noting that the majority of hearing aids are water-resistant. So, you can often take part in activities such as boating, going to the beach, or relaxing by the pool without worrying about your hearing aids getting damaged by water. Similarly, if you are going for a hike or otherwise spending time outdoors, a sudden rain shower doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to dash indoors – although you may want to!
However, water-resistant hearing aids may not be sufficient for all water-based activities. Additionally, the level of resistance can vary. Some can be submerged temporarily, while others are only resistant to some splashing. You should carefully check the manufacturer details about your hearing aids’ water resistance before engaging in any water sports or other wet activities.
Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant
You may be wondering what the difference is between waterproof and water-resistant. Simply put, waterproof hearing aids can be completely and continuously submerged up to a certain rated depth. However, water-resistant hearing aids will keep out moisture but cannot be continuously submerged.
Some hearing aids are rated to be water-resistant in the shower or to light splashing. Others can handle being submerged for short periods. Again, it is important to check the details for a specific model.
Getting Waterproof Hearing Aids
The vast majority of hearing aids are at least somewhat water-resistant. However, it is much less common for them to be waterproof. Therefore, you may have difficulty finding the right one that works for your other needs, especially if you are looking for yourself.
Nonetheless, if you want to play water sports or otherwise submerge your hearing aids for an extended time, consider looking for a waterproof model. The Memorial Hearing team can help you find the right product for your lifestyle needs.
Playing Water Sports With Hearing Aids
In some cases, the easy answer for playing water sports with hearing loss is to simply go without your hearing aid. If you only have partial hearing loss or do not need to listen for instructions, it may be easiest to just leave them out. This is a good answer for swimming, for example. Most instructions are accompanied by whistles and visual cues.
Of course, this is not a suitable answer for every situation. Some swimming situations, especially those in natural water bodies, may require the ability to listen for warnings. Additionally, sports such as water polo have some requirements to be able to hear coaches and other players. Some well-rated water-resistant hearing aids may be sufficient for these purposes. Otherwise, it is a good idea to search for a waterproof hearing aid.
Tips for Keeping Water Out of Hearing Aids
Regardless of the water resistance or waterproofing rating of your hearing aids, it is a good idea to use some smart practices to avoid water damage. Even highly resistant designs can be damaged by water if they are left to sit while damp for too long. These are some best practices you should always follow:
– Open the Battery Doors: When you aren’t using your hearing aids, open the battery door. This is a common entry point for moisture. So, if you aren’t using them and they won’t be getting wet, it is a good idea to let them air out a little. If there is no airflow through the battery compartment, even a couple of drops of water can stay in there and cause damage.
– Dehumidify Your Storage Area: Hearing aids are sometimes damaged by excess humidity in the air. This is especially true if they have been directly splashed and the air is humid. Consider using a dehumidifier near where you store your hearing aids. This is a good way to ensure that they dry out more quickly.
– Wipe Them After Use: When you are done using your hearing aids, give them a thorough wiping down. This will help clear away any moisture that may be built upon the outside. Plus, it will help to keep them clean.
– Buy Sweat Covers: If you plan to use your hearing aids for high-intensity activities, consider getting sweat covers. These are like little socks for your hearing aids that help to keep them dry.
How To Identify When There May Be Water Damage
Since many hearing aids are water-resistant, it can be hard to know whether your hearing aids have been damaged by water or not. Them simply getting wet may not be an issue in many cases.
If you are concerned that your hearing aids have been damaged by water, look for any wetness that appears to be inside the aid rather than on the surface. Water resistance usually applies to the outer shell. Once moisture has penetrated inside, it can start to do damage.
Also, look for any signs of rust. This is especially common in the battery compartment. Finally, if your hearing aid isn’t working after getting wet, it has likely been damaged by the water.
What To Do If You’ve Damaged Your Hearing Aids
The good news is that all hope is not lost. In fact, you can often resuscitate your hearing aids if you act quickly. These are some tips you can try:
– Let Them Dry: First and foremost, try to let your hearing aid dry out completely before you attempt to use it or charge it. If it is very wet, start by toweling off the hearing aid. Putting your hearing aid in rice can be a good way to accelerate this process.
– Remove the Battery: Open the battery compartment and take the battery out. The contacts between the battery and the device can be hotspots for rust and corrosion.
– Dehumidify the Area: If possible, use a dehumidifier near where you are drying your device. This can greatly reduce the chance of long-term damage.
– Don’t Assume It is Lost Forever: Be patient and let the device dry out. It may not work initially, but that doesn’t mean it is broken permanently. If it has dried for a couple of days and still isn’t working, you can likely get it repaired without needing a replacement.
Get the Right Hearing Aids for Water Sports or Any Other Need
Finding the right hearing aids for your lifestyle can be challenging. There are so many options on the market. Fortunately, Memorial Hearing can help. We are an audiology and hearing aid clinic that can help you find the perfect match for your lifestyle. Contact us online to learn more or call (713) 984-7562 today!
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