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Hearing Devices and Water Do Not Mix
It is Summer now and time for some water-based activities! With options like a lazy float down the Madison on a warm, sunny day, rafting the Yellowstone, or wakeboarding on Flathead Lake, there are countless aquatic pursuits with which to fill one’s free time. While enjoying a peaceful dip, or adrenaline filled rush, it is important to remember that these environments do pose new challenges for hearing device care. Always be prepared and have a plan to protect these important medical instruments while creating amazing memories on the high seas (or soothing river).
Hearing devices are NOT WATERPROOF. It is important to note that hearing devices, just like cell phones, do not currently exists as waterproof electronics. Hearing devices are rated under the same IP rating system that cell phones are. Most newer devices are given a rating of IP68, meaning that they do meet the best water resistance standard that can be had without being totally waterproof. As such, they might come out just fine in a rain, or even the accidental shower if one notices quickly and takes them off early in the process. However, hearing devices are not meant for a dip in the pool or even the occasional water gun fight brought on by the grandchild (you know which one).1,2,3,4
Protect devices from as much water contact as can be done. Hearing devices encounter liquid daily in the form of sweat. While it was mentioned earlier that hearing instruments are quite water resistant, even this daily contact can make its way into the device and destroy the inner circuitry. This is noticeable as a crackling or intermittence in the sound produced. It is important to protect devices from water so as not to damage them, leaving one without the ability to hear. 2,3
Keep a watertight box or bag for when participating in water sports or leave the devices in the car to ensure that liquids stay far away. If taking part in a shore activity where it is not expected that one would get soaked, perhaps try a cord or clip to keep devices in place. These often come with a sleeve that fits over the devices and can be worn daily for extra protection against sweat and the elements, like that car that always drives through the puddle soaking the protagonist of the movie right when everything else in their life is going wrong. The next scene is usually the protagonist at their audiologist having their devices sent to the manufacturer due to water damage. Unfortunately, this scene gets cut, probably due to run time or something.2,3,4
Another useful tool in the hearing instrument wearer’s arsenal is the hearing device dryer. Accidents happen and people sweat so it is always good to have this on hand. After an accidental drop in the sink, or toilet if one is really unlucky, or that one friend that thinks it is still funny to push people in the pool (probably a sibling), a dryer can really come in handy. Take the devices off and place them in the desiccant jar, or the dryer/charger combo that many devices are sold with and leave them overnight. This can clear out that moisture and save some major damage to the devices. It is also a good idea to do this nightly to escape that aforementioned sweat.2,3,4
Hearing devices are important, but so is spending time with loved ones and getting out and having experiences. Be sure to take precautions and have a plan in place to keep hearing instruments safe, and dry. There are options to help with this, like a sleeve or clip, as well as dryers to help with daily care and emergencies. If you need any of those supplies, please give us a call at 406-586-0914; we will be glad to provide them to you. Talk to your audiologist if any questions arise, or any advice is needed on care of hearing devices.
Clason, Debbie. (8/11/2020). Are hearing aids waterproof? https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/52887-The-basics-of-waterproof-hearing-aids
Clason, Debbie. (8/12/2020). Protecting your hearing aids in the water. https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/50405-Protecting-your-hearing-aids-in-the-water
Hay, Matt. (8/12/2020). How To Protect Your Hearing Aids from Moisture. https://www.hearingtracker.com/how-to-protect-your-hearing-aids-from-moisture
Signia Hearing. Protecting Your Hearing Aids Against Heat, Humidity, and H2O. https://www.signia-hearing.com/blog/protecting-your-hearing-aids-against-heat-humidity-and-h2o/