Hearing Aids and the Great Outdoors

Hearing Aids and the Great Outdoors

In Hearing Aids by Jennifer Douberly, Au.D.

When summer comes along, you might be eager to get outside and take part in your favorite activities. Having a picnic or a family barbecue is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and to catch up with those you love. These outdoor meals are a chance to catch up with your loved ones, and you will want to have your hearing aids in place to have the best communication possible. What if a thunderstorm strikes while you are out in a park? Will your hearing aids be able to withstand a sudden downpour? If your summer outdoor activities expose you to more of the elements, you might be more concerned about taking part in them while wearing hearing aids. Camping, water recreation, and sunbathing at the beach all seem like risky activities for those who wear hearing aids. Let’s take a look at the security you can have in your summer activities with hearing aids. Although you might be worried about the resilience of your devices, you might be surprised to learn how well they can do in a variety of contexts. Although you do need to be careful with them, you can trust that your hearing aids will help you communicate in any context you need. 

Hearing Aid IP Ratings

Each pair of hearing aids comes with an IP (Ingress Protection) rating. This two-digit number lets you know how resistant your hearing aids will be to debris and liquid. The first number in the rating has a maximum value of 6 and denotes the resistance to dirt, dust, and debris. The second number has a maximum value of 8 and denotes resistance to liquid. As you can see the maximum possible value is IP68. Many of the latest hearing aids come with a rating of IP67. This value shows that they have the absolute maximum resistance to dirt and debris and nearly the highest value for liquid resistance. At a rating of IP67, your hearing aids can survive submersion in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. That number might surprise you! If you have ever dropped your hearing aids in a sink of water, you can rest assured that properly drying them should be enough to keep them functioning after that mishap. These hearing aids, however, are not suited to swimming. If you want to wear your hearing aids while swimming laps, you will need specialized devices that have not only water resistance but a waterproof rating instead. 

Outdoor Activities and Hearing Aids

What does this IP rating mean for your favorite outdoor activities? Most of these activities will be safe with hearing aids in place. For instance, if you are caught in a rainstorm and run to your car, you will simply need to dry off your aids with a clean, soft cloth as soon as possible. Wiping down the droplets of moisture will ensure that they don’t work their way into the internal metal components and cause corrosion. If you are concerned about further damage to your aids, you can place them in a hearing aid dryer that you can purchase on the consumer market. Some people have had luck placing hearing aids in a sealed plastic bag of uncooked rice. Wearing your hearing aids to the beach, hiking, and camping should not pose an issue either. These activities can expose your hearing aids to dirt and some moisture, but that exposure is not more than your aids can handle. You do, however, need to be careful with exposure to heat and direct sunlight. Even a car with the windows up can be enough to cause damage to your hearing aids, so take care to keep them out of direct sunlight and extreme heat. With these concerns in mind, you will be prepared for a great summer of your favorite activities with all the hearing assistance you need. If you have not yet received treatment for hearing loss, the time is now to get a hearing test. You will want to be able to communicate easily with your friends, family, and loved ones during these summer activities, and getting treatment for hearing loss is the best way to do so.