Proper Disposal of Hearing Aid Batteries
The disposal of hearing aid batteries depends on the battery and if it contains mercury. Mercury-free battery options CAN be disposed in household waste. To determine if your hearing aid batteries are mercury-free refer to the packaging. If the battery package does not say “mercury-free” assume it is not safe to toss. Batteries that contain mercury should be recycled responsibility via a recycling center that accepts batteries with mercury.
One example of a brand that uses mercury in some of their products is PowerOne. PowerOne sells both mercury-free and mercury-containing batteries. Although they are a German company they do sell their batteries to US vendors, typically audiology offices. Should you need a mercury-containing battery ask your audiologist to obtain this for you.
It is common for audiologists to carry both mercury-free and mercury-containing batteries since some hearing aids do not operate well on mercury-free batteries. Hearing aids can be sensitive to varying voltage readings. A perfectly good mercury-free battery may be read by the hearing aid as having a low voltage and cause the hearing aid to emit false “low battery” warnings or the hearing aid may shut itself down when battery levels briefly drop. This stems from mercury-free batteries having overall less stable voltage patterns. Battery manufactures are improving their batteries every year to deal with these issues and hearing aid manufacturers are also changing how hearing aids monitor battery levels. However, there are many hearing aid users which find, for now at least, that mercury-containing batteries are a necessity.
Hearing aids that are more likely to need mercury-containing batteries include high power hearing aids, hearing aids that take size 10 batteries, and earlier digital models.
Pro Tips for getting better life from your batteries:
1. Allow batteries to “Air Up” when you peel the sticky tab. This means that you should wait for one to two minutes after peeling the sticker before you place batteries inside the hearing aids. Hearing aids are more air tight and fresh batteries need more oxygen in the first minute to fully activate. Don’t snuff out your batteries!
2. Don’t store batteries in humid areas of your home such as your kitchen or bathroom. Do not keep batteries in the refrigerator!
3. Keep your hearing aids dry including the batteries. If you have been sweating take your battery out and wipe if off with a tissue. Built up moisture in the battery compartment will lead to rusting of the battery. Over time this can actually damage the hearing aids too!
Ask your audiologist where to drop off your batteries.
Submitted by: Dr. Yoder, Audiologist and Owner of HearWell Center - www.hearwellcenter.com
About HearWell Center
HearWell Center, located in Forest Hills, PA, provides the highest standard of care to patients with, or at high risk to hearing and vestibular disorders, in a respectful, friendly and professional environment. Audiologist Dr. Yoder maximizes the patient experience and enhances quality of life through individual-based audiology services including hearing tests, diagnostics, education, counseling, treatments, rehabilitation and devices (such as hearing aids, hearing protection, assistive devices and alerting devices).
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