Hearing aid battery safety
If you’re a hearing aid user, chances are you have a stash of replacement batteries somewhere in your house. These small, button-shaped cell batteries keep your hearing aids working at their optimum performance, but did you know they can cause serious injury or death if they’re not handled properly?
Batteries contain mercury, silver, lithium and other heavy metals as their main component. When these chemicals are ingested and come in contact with body fluids, they create an electrical current which can burn through tissue and seriously damage internal organs in as little as two hours’ time. When you handle a leaking battery, it can cause serious burns immediately.
This is true no matter if the batteries are fully charged or no longer power your hearing aids.
Storing your batteries
Now that you know, you can see why it’s important to keep your hearing aid batteries safe from little hands or inquisitive pets. If you have small children or animals in your house, it’s important to find a safe place to store your batteries. Here are some dos and don’ts:
How to properly discard your batteries
When you change your hearing aid batteries, be sure to place them in a child- and pet-proof container immediately until you can take them to a recycling center. Do not leave them on a counter or throw them in the trash can.
Because of the valuable metals these batteries contain, they’re extremely recyclable. Those same contents make them extremely hazardous if you simply throw them in the trash. Over time, the batteries can leak these hazardous chemicals and contaminate the environment. Recycling centers extract the dangerous chemicals and discard the remaining contents, which are safe for landfills.
In this day and age, it’s likely there are more than a few battery recycling collection centers in your community. If you aren’t already aware of their location, check with your hearing center. If they don’t recycle batteries, most Radio Shack and Miracle Aid centers accept used batteries or you can search Earth911.com to locate the nearest recycling center.
How to handle injuries from batteries
According to the National Capital Poison Control Center, more than 3,500 Americans of all ages swallow button batteries every year. If this happens to a person or pet in your home, seek medical attention immediately.
Sometimes, batteries can leak acid which can burns your skin. If you receive an acid burn when handling your hearing aid batteries: