While some of today’s hearing aids feature rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, many still take disposable button batteries. These batteries contain mercury, silver, lithium and other heavy metals, which can be very dangerous. It’s important to know how to care for and handle your hearing aid batteries in order to prevent a dangerous accident.
What’s the Danger of Hearing Aid Batteries?
The National Capital Poison Center estimates that in the U.S., more than 3,500 people of all ages swallow button batteries every year. While in many cases they pass through a bowel movement, they can sometimes become hung up in the body.
When the chemicals in batteries come into contact with body fluids, it creates an electrical current, which can burn through tissues, cause serious damage to internal organs and even lead to death. Similarly, leaking batteries can cause chemical burns on the skin.
If you or someone you know ingests a battery, call the National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666 right away. If you experience an acid burn from a leaking battery, use a wet cloth to wipe it away and run cool water over the affected area for at least 15 minutes.
How to Properly Store Hearing Aid Batteries
Now that you know the dangers of ingesting a battery, you understand the importance of storing them properly. Below are the do’s and don’ts of hearing aid battery storage:
- Do store your batteries in a container with a lid that snaps shut.
- Do store the container on a high shelf or in a closet/cabinet that stays shut.
- Do store your batteries at room temperature.
- Don’t store batteries next to metal objects, like keys or coins.
- Don’t store batteries near medications, as they can easily be mistaken for pills, especially for people with vision problems.
How to Discard Old Batteries
Once your batteries die, be sure to put them into a container that is child- and pet-proof. Store them somewhere safe until you can take them to Shawnee County Solid Waste. Don’t throw them in the trash, as they can leak and contaminate the environment.
The metals in batteries are valuable, which makes them extremely recyclable. Recycling centers extract the dangerous chemicals and discard the remaining materials.
For more information about caring for your hearing aid batteries or to talk to your provider about upgrading to a rechargeable model, call Topeka ENT today.