As the weather warms up, there will be many days you’ll want to spend time at the pool, in the sprinklers, or even at the beach. You might be wondering about how to manage your child’s hearing aids and/or cochlear implants during these activities. The following are some considerations about whether or not to keep devices on and what to do if they get wet while you’re having fun. Thank you to our River School audiologists, Dr. Sydney Bednarz & Dr. Julia Reid, for helping us with this post!
Do I need to take his/her device off during water play?
- Consider whether or not your child’s device is water resistant or water proof (see chart below!)
- How wet will they get? Will your child be splashing in a sprinkler or swimming in a pool? Keep in mind, if your child’s device is water resistant (verses water proof), you might allow them to wear it while playing in sprinklers, but would not want it to be submerged in water for any length of time.
- Does your device have a waterproof cover? Most cochlear implants have a waterproof cover accessory. Make sure to follow all directions included and use the specific waterproof headpiece. Use rechargeable batteries for water play (disposable zinc-air batteries require air to work, so won’t last in the sealed cover).
- Check out the Ingress Protection (IP) Rating of your child’s device(s). Here’s a diagram of the different degrees of protection: IP Rating Chart. The degrees of protection against dirt and water are most commonly expressed as “IP” followed by two numbers (e.g., IP44). The first digit in the rating is the protection against dust and particles. The second digit in the rating is the water protection factor. The higher the numbers, the better the protection against dust/particles and water/moisture. The highest possible rating is IP68. NOTE: Even if a hearing aid is rated IP68, this does not mean that it is waterproof. They are rated water resistant due to their zinc-air batteries and the permeability of the microphone covers.
- Is your child’s device under warranty? Do you have backup devices? If it is under warranty and you have backups, you can be a little more flexible in your decision about whether or not your child should wear their device during water play.
If I need to take the device off, when should I do this?
- Consider what you want your child to hear. For example, if you are visiting the beach for the first time, we recommend that you keep your child’s devices on initially so that they can experience the sound of the water, seagulls, children playing, etc. After you have explored the sounds and are ready for water play, you can take the device off and place it in a container that will prevent sand or water exposure.
How do I keep devices from getting wet or damaged while my child is not wearing them?
- We’d recommend getting a waterproof case for your child’s devices. Here are two we like by Otterbox and Pelican. In a pinch, you can use a ziplock bag or a tupperware container 🙂
What if my child’s device gets wet?
- Consider taking along a travel dry aid container. Here are some of our favorites:
- If your child’s device gets wet (submerged in water, wet from sprinklers, etc.) but is still working, dry it off and allow your child to wear it the rest of the day. Put it in the dry aid box overnight.
- If your child’s device gets wet and is not working, place it immediately in the dry aid box and run for 2 cycles (or overnight). If it is still not working, contact your child’s audiologist.
Consider teaching your child and family members some simple safety signs for using when your child’s devices are off or when you are in a noisy environment where it is harder to hear. Here are some you might find helpful (click the word to see a video of the sign):
Looking for more signs? Try this website for a ASL Video Dictionary.