The question, are hearing aids waterproof is one of the common questions asked today. This is as a result of the wrong use of terminologies. The term waterproof and water resistance have been wrongly used interchangeably by many. Both terms are actually different in the real sense. It is important to understand the two terms properly to avoid incurring unnecessary expenditures to understand the difference.
Now, what is the difference between water resistance and waterproof? Let us approach this from the simple layman’s perspective. When we talk of waterproof, we simply mean that immersing the hearing aid in water will not damage the internal electronics. In other words, it is safe to swim and take a shower with the device.
The case is different when you talk of water-resistant hearing aids. Water-resistant hearing aids are designed to withstand rain and moist. However, water-resistant devices will not survive if submerged in water.
Does Waterproof Hearing Aids Exist in Reality?
Now to answer the question—are hearing aids waterproof? There was once a truly waterproof hearing aid from Siemens called the Aquaris in 2013. The product life was however short-lived. It was discontinued by the company and is no longer available for the market.
While these waterproof devices are no longer attainable, there are water-resistant devices are available in their place. These devices can withstand rain showers, sweat and humid environments. There are high-quality water-resistant hearing aids rated IP68 you might consider investing in.
Water Resistant hearing Aids
Water-resistant hearing aids also known as water-repellant hearing aids are designed to prevent small amounts of water or moisture from getting into the device and damaging its electronic components. This however, does not offer complete protection from water or moisture. Most water-resistant hearing aids are designed with protective outer cover. This helps to protect them from contact with a small amount of water or rain showers. Long term exposure to moisture and rain will definitely damage these devices. It is always advisable to dehumidify your hearing aids once in a while. This will help get rid of any moisture trapped inside the device.
If you fall among the group with the oily skin or produce a lot of ear wax, you should consider a water-resistant hearing aid. The same is also applicable to those living in humid zones or along the oceans. Water-resistant hearing aids will survive in the rain—so long as you don’t remain in it for a long time.
Keeping Your Hearing Aid Safe from Water Damage
The hearing aid is a sophisticated device and therefore needs to be protected. Like every other electronic device—with their specific care requirements—hearing aids need to be handled with care. This is the only way to ensure you enjoy its value for a long time. Among all other reasons, ensure you keep the hearing aid dry at all times. Constant exposure to moisture remains one of the most common reasons why the hearing aid gets damaged quicker than expected. There are easy steps you can take to ensure your hearing aids don’t get damaged by water or moisture. The first step to protecting your device is by understanding the protection rating.
- Understanding the Protection Rating Of Your Device
When it comes to the technological industry, building durable designs is key.
This is why the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) was established. Their duty is to provide a ranking system for electronics devices. Some of the things they put into consideration as a ranking criteria include:
- How well protected a device is from water
- How dust-tight is a device
- How well it can withstand moisture
They use a dual ranking system to rank every device. This dual ranking system is known as the International Protection (IP) code. It assigns numbers for water resistance and dust resistance. Higher numbers are assigned to devices that show higher resistance. There is a scale for both dust and water resistance. The general scale for dust resistance runs from (0-6) with 0 being no resistance and 6 dust-tight.
In the case of water resistance, the scale is from 0-9. The greater the number, the higher the resistance. For a product that is dust-tight and high is water resistance the ranking will be IP69 (highest rating for any device).
Most hearing aid manufacturers make these ranking available on their official website. It may do you some good to check it out before purchasing. However, it is also important to consult a hearing aid professional to determine what is best for you.
- Ensure the Device Gets Enough Ventilation
When your hearing aid is not in use, ensure it receives enough airflow. This will help to get rid of all the trapped moisture inside when they are not in use. Apart from helping your device reach optimal performance, it can also help to preserve the battery life much longer.
- Consider Purchasing a Safety Case/ Protective Sleeves for Your Hearing Aid
The need for a protective case becomes higher especially for those constantly exposed to moisture. These covers are specially designed to keep your hearing aids safe from accidents such as water and other materials that are harmful to the device.
- A Dehumidifier is One Way to ensure that the Hearing Aid is Dry at all Times
After using the hearing aid for some time, moisture begins to build up inside. Often times, hearing aid users might not notice this in time until major damage occurs. This is why it is important to check your hearing aid from time to time for trapped moisture. One way to get rid of this trapped moisture is by investing in a dehumidifier. Hearing aid professionals often recommend dehumidifiers for overnight use. These devices are designed to quickly get rid of the moisture trapped inside the device as a result of long periods of use.
Cleaning the hearing aid regularly can help get rid of trapped moisture. It can also help to eliminate any harmful particle that manages to slip into the device. Cleaning the hearing aid should be done daily at home. However, it is important to book an appointment with a hearing aid professional to properly have your hearing aid cleaned and examined. A hearing aid professional will identify hidden debris and problems with your hearing aid. He is also in the best position to offer solutions for your hearing aid problems if any.
How to Prevent your Device from Getting Damaged by Water
We definitely know by now that water is not best friends with electronic devices. The case is not different with the hearing aids. Any accidental exposure to water, humidity and moisture can damage your hearing aid. While most water-resistant devices are designed to withstand a small amount of exposure, the case is different when your device is exposed to a large body of water. In case of accidental immersion during swimming or bathing, endeavor to see a professional with your device.
There are steps you can take to prevent moisture from building up in your device during normal daily usage.
Store in a cool dry place
Just like every other device, storage is very crucial. To continue enjoying your hearing aid for a long time, proper storage is required. When the device is not in use, keep them in their safety containers and store them in a cool dry place. This will reduce the chances of moisture building up in the device and damaging the device. Ensure to prevent any form of overheating and condensation caused by poor storage of the hearing aid.
Adhere to a Routine
Keeping a routine is one way to prevent accidents when using your hearing aids. Take note of what activities you carry out and when. This will help ensure your hearing aid is safe. For example, setting a specific daily bathing time will help you develop the habit of not wearing the hearing aid at those times. Adhering to a routine will help you cultivate a safety habit both in and outside the home.
Watch out For Condensation in Hearing Aid Tubing and Get Rid of it
If you are using a standard BTE hearing aid, then watch out for condensation. After use for sometimes, you might begin to notice moisture on the inside of the earmold tubing. One way to get rid of moisture in hearing aid tubing is by the use of a hearing aid tubing blower. The process involves taking out the tubing from the device before blowing.
Keep Battery Door Open When not in Use
Keeping battery doors open does more than preserving the product life. It also helps to preserve the battery life and help your device last longer. The ideal way for storing the hearing aid is by the use of a dehumidifier. In the absence of a dehumidifier, keeping the battery door open can server the purpose of getting rid of trapped moisture in the device.
How bad can the Effect of Water be to the Hearing Aid?
The effect of water on the hearing aid can be very severe. However, if your device accidentally comes in contact with water or any other liquid, there is no need to panic. Acting quickly can save your device from completely getting bad. Take the following steps.
- Remove the hearing aid battery and leave the battery door open.
- Keep in a well-ventilated room with normal room temperature for moisture to dry out.
- When drying the hearing aid in front of a fan, it should be at a low speed to avoid blowing off the vital components of your hearing aid.
- Use a dehumidifier to extract trapped moisture from your device.
- Consult your hearing aid professional to examine and ascertain the level of damage if any.
Things not to do With Wet Hearing Aids
- Do not make the mistake of putting your hearing aid in the microwave when it gets wet. This can damage the components of the hearing aid.
- Do not use a hairdryer as well on the hearing aid.
- Do not put the hearing aid in the oven.
Proper Ways of Caring for Your Hearing Aid
Investing in a hearing aid is a very important decision. It is, therefore, advisable to understand the proper cleaning method for your device. While it is important to visit the hearing aid professional once in a while for proper checking and cleaning, there are important tips on how to take care of your device at home. Some of these tips are what I will share with you below.
Invest in the Proper Tools for Cleaning Your Device
There are very important tools that are required when it comes to hearing aid home care. These tools are the wax picker and the brush. After prolonged use of the hearing aid, ear wax can accumulate on the opening causing distorted sound. For those who produce a lot of ear wax, the process of accumulation can be faster. When this condition is neglected for a long time, it can lead to damaged hearing aids. The picker and the brush will enable you to get rid of the accumulated ear wax and keep your device clean and safe.
Before jumping into cleaning, ensure your hands are properly dried. You don’t want to risk the performance of your device by touching them with a wet hand. Put away any other chemicals of liquid that may also be harmful to the hearing aid. Once you have done this, below are tips on caring for your hearing aids.
Avoid Going into the Shower with your Hearing Aids
When you have fully become accustomed to hearing aids, it’s quite easy to forget it’s in there. It is therefore, important to adopt good hearing aids habit. These habits include the following:
- Keep hearing aids in their secure casing during your routine hygiene exercise.
- Always check to ensure your hearing aid is removed and well secured before walking into the shower. Some people make the mistake of removing the hearing aid in the bathroom and dropping them on the sink. This is one mistake that can cost you handsomely to recover the damage.
- Ensure to be fully dressed up, apply your hair spray and cream before wearing the hearing aid.
Endeavor to Clean Your Hearing Aids at the End of Everyday
Make it part of your duty daily to clean the hearing aid at the end of every day. This will allow them to completely air out before use. When cleaning your hearing aid, avoid using chemicals and wipes that can easily damage your device. Only use the recommended cleaning products for your hearing aids. You might want to check with your hearing aid professional for a recommendation.
Keep your Hearing Aids Away from Extreme Weather Conditions
Extreme weather can be detrimental to the survival of your hearing aids. It is therefore important to ensure that they are not exposed to extreme weather conditions. When working in extreme weather conditions, it is best to keep the hearing aid in safe protective cases. It is also advisable to keep them indoors where the conditions are favorable. Extreme heat can weaken the plastic components of your hearing aid. The same is true for extreme cold weather.
When cleaning the Hearing Aid, avoid Wiping unto the Microphone
Most people make the mistake of wiping over the hearing aid microphone when cleaning the device. They believe that by doing so they keep the device clean. The case is rather not always true. It is safer to avoid wiping over the hearing aid microphone. This is important so you don’t wipe dust particles from other parts of the device into the microphone port.
Endeavor To Take Care of Your Hearing Aid Tubing If It Is Fitted With One
If your hearing aid if fit with a tubing, it is also most likely that you get a cleaning tool for it as well. Where you don’t get cleaning tools, it is important to request one from your hearing aid professionals. Keeping this tube clean is very important to prevent wax from building up in it. Build up of wax can lead to distorted sounds and poor hearing. When neglected for long, this can lead to severe damage to your hearing aid.
Some Basic Information you need to know about the hearing aid
Hearing aids have come to stay. Those with hearing loss problem will definitely agree that the importance of the hearing aid cannot be overemphasized. Hearing aids first appeared in the 16th century. They were designed as ear trumpets and were vastly in use at the time. These hearing trumpets were aimed at trapping the sound directly in front of them and deliver it directly into the middle ear. Most famous among these trumpets was the one used by Beethoven. At the time, the hearing trumpets were also hailed for their excellent hearing ability.
The hearing aid has grown popular today with different models on sale over the counter. Notwithstanding that the hearing aid has a long history, there are a lot of details that most hearing aid users are not conversant with. Since the invention of the hearing aid by Miller Reese Hutchinson in 1898, the device has come a long way with a lot of improvements in the design and general functions.
Below are some of the facts we need to understand about the hearing aid device.
- The works of three major inventors helped to improve the performance and looks of hearing aids. These three inventors are Alexander Graham Bell, Werner Von Siemens and Thomas Edison. One thing was common among these three inventors, they either suffered a hearing loss or were connected with one who suffered from a hearing loss.
- The earliest hearing aids invented were large-sized devices. They amplified sounds using electric current. These devices were basically vacuum-tube devices. In 1948, Graham Bell invented the transistor hearing aids. These hearings aids were smaller and performed better than its predecessor.
- In the 1960s, Bell Labs also moved ahead to further advance the hearing aid technology. This led to the introduction of the first digital hearing aid technology. Before the invention of the microprocessors in the 70s, early models of the hearing aid required a computer mainframe. In those days, computers were as large as a small room.
- Most hearing aid users do not know that hearing aids are programmable. They are designed to keep track of different listening environments. Some hearing aids can automatically recalibrate to adjust to new sounds received when in a new environment.
- A lot of modern hearing aids are designed with the capacity to sync with wireless devices. One of the common ways to sync the hearing aid across several devices is via the Bluetooth technology. This enables the hearing aid user to receive direct audio signals from their mobile phone devices, televisions, and speakers.
- Some hearing aids are designed with smart options to help filter unnecessary sounds. These devices are designed to capture and amplify only the intended sounds. These kinds of hearing aids can enhance better hearing ability in the wearer even in noisy environments.
- A lot of hearing aids are designed with tinnitus therapy functionalities. This helps to significantly reduce buzzing sounds, and ringing in the ear.
- Over the years, hearing aid manufacturers have greatly improved on the hearing aid design to tackle feedbacks. This is due to the improvement in hearing aid technology. This improvement has also enhanced the sound quality of the hearing aid. Hearing aid manufacturers have also worked hard to almost eliminate the occlusion effects that create a plugged sensation it the ear.
- Companies like Apple have successfully partnered with major hearing aid manufacturers. This partnership has successfully seen the development of custom iPhone apps. The function of these apps is to stream sounds directly from your IOS devices to your hearing aid devices.
- With further development and growth in the hearing aid technology, hearing aids can now pick up sounds that are transmitted from public address systems. This is made possible by the induction loops inserted in public address systems. These induction loops can be found in theatres, train stations, stadiums, public transport systems, and cinemas. Induction loops help to eliminate sound distortions and get rid of the stress involved in picking up sounds in noisy environments.