Hearing Aids and the Great Outdoors

Hearing Aids and the Great Outdoors

When you think about summer activities, what comes to mind? For some, the top priority is to get outside and go camping. Sleeping outside in the cool night air and waking up to a warm tent baking in the sun can be one of summer’s true pleasures. Others like to use recreational vehicles, such as boats, jet skis, ATVs, or RVs. Getting on one of these modes of transportation can be the gateway to summer adventure. Still others prefer to simply go hiking, and a walk in the woods or in the open air of a prairie can be one of the best ways to feel at one with nature. Whether you like to get active in these ways or just want to have an outdoor picnic or barbecue with your family, outdoor activities are an important part of summer living for many of us. How do these activities work for those of us with hearing aids? You might feel worried about the prospect of using hearing aids in outdoor settings, concerned that they might not do well in the elements. Yet, you will need your hearing aids to enjoy conversations while you take part in these activities. The good news is that most of the latest hearing aids have some level of resistance to moisture and debris, making them suited to all the above activities and more. Let’s take a closer look at the level of resistance you will need in your hearing aids to make it possible to take part in summer activities such as these. 

Hearing Aid IP Ratings

When you purchase a new pair of hearing aids, they will come with an IP (Ingress Protection) rating. This number has two digits. The first denotes the resistance to debris, and the second denotes resistance to liquid. The maximum value for the first number is 6, and the maximum value for the second number is 8, meaning that the highest possible rating is IP68. Many of the latest hearing aids come with an IP67 rating, meaning that they have the highest resistance to dirt and dust, and nearly the highest moisture resistance. At that level of moisture resistance, your aids are resistant to moisture in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Of course, even at this high IP rating, it is not wise to drop your hearing aids into water. If you want to wear hearing aids while swimming, you will need to buy hearing aids specifically designed for sustained water submersion. However, hearing aids with an IP67 rating will be able to function if you get caught in a surprise rain storm, start sweating while out for a summer job, or get splashed with some water while boating. Even if you wear your hearing aids with an IP67 rating to the beach, you can trust that they won’t get too much sand embedded in the components. In any case, make sure to wipe down your hearing aids with a clean, dry cloth after taking part in these activities to remove any moisture or dirt that may have come in contact. 

Other Summer Risks

In addition to the risks of debris and moisture, you should make sure to protect your hearing aids from exposure to heat. Although hearing aids have become excellent at resisting those substances, they can still be sensitive to heat exposure. Even a hot car in the sun can pose a risk, so you will need to take care to keep your hearing aids out of these very hot locations. When you are not wearing your hearing aids, be sure to store them out of direct sunlight, ideally in a cool dry place, such as a drawer or cabinet. With this protection in place, your hearing aids will serve you through the summer months, including the many activities you love. Don’t hesitate to contact our hearing health professionals for a hearing test if you need assistance in these summer months. Getting hearing aids is a way to make sure you can enjoy the summer as much as possible. When you are able to communicate with loved ones and hear the birds chirping, you can truly get the full summer experience!