Hearing aids are either powered by small disposable batteries or rechargeable batteries. These rechargeable batteries are becoming a more popular option today; however, there are still lots of people using hearing aids that work with disposable batteries.

Disposable and rechargeable batteries keep hearing aids working properly, but both batteries can cause serious injury to the user if not handled properly, this is why they must be disposed of promptly when they get weak. Read on to learn how to go about its disposal.

how to dispose of hearing aid batteries

Storing Used Hearing Aid Batteries

Before you can dispose of your hearing aid batteries, it can take time because of the nature of the materials used. So you’ll have to store them so kids or pets don’t come in contact with them since batteries contain silver, mercury, lithium, and other heavy metals.

If these batteries are consumed or come in contact with body fluids, it will create an electrical current, and this can seriously damage internal organs by burning through tissues within an hour to two. Besides, if the battery is leaking, it can cause serious burns whether it is fully charged or dead.

Now that you know how dangerous a battery can be, you must exercise caution when storing it. These are how you can store it —

  • Put it in a container that has a snap-tight lid. Then put it on a high shelf, or in a closet that can be kept shut from intruders.
  • Keep it away from the shelves you put your medications. There are pills that are of the same shape and size as your batteries. There is the possibility you might mistake the battery for a pill and this can lead to ingestion and battery poisoning. Also, the batteries shouldn’t be stored next to metal objects like keys, coins, and so on.
  • Make sure the batteries are stored at room temperature. Make sure the heat in the room isn’t too much; and do not refrigerate it as some people suggest you do with batteries.

Ways to Dispose of Used Hearing Aid Batteries

Here then is how to dispose your batteries:

Recycle them

The metals in batteries make them extremely hazardous and very valuable, so you can recycle them. These metals are mined at great costs, so recycling them will reduce the mining cost companies spend on getting them. Besides, you’re not only helping to keep the cost of new batteries down, but you’re also helping to keep the environment safe.

There are several battery recycling collection centers in different communities. Search online and you’ll find the collection centers. You can also contact the hearing aid manufacturer since they might be offering recycling services too.

However, if you can’t find recycling collection centers in your community, you can check with your local authority for collection hubs around. If there is none in your city, they can offer delivery to other cities that offer battery recycling services.

There is also the possibility that your local doctors, pharmacy, and audiology department can know a thing or two about possible places to recycle it, or they might even offer recycling services too.

If possible, try recycling the packing that comes with the hearing aid alongside the batteries.

Switch to rechargeable batteries

If you aren’t using rechargeable batteries for your hearing aids, you should consider these types of batteries instead of disposable ones because they last longer. You can charge rechargeable batteries multiple times before a replacement is needed, so it’s a more economical option.

When you compare the yearly cost of zinc-air batteries and the average battery life to that of the rechargeable battery, you’ll see that the latter is much cheaper. Thankfully, rechargeable hearing aid batteries are becoming popular options.

Instead of spending money from time to time on batteries, and having to worry about the best methods of disposing of them, just switch to rechargeable hearing aid batteries, so you can reduce the trouble you go through to find new batteries.

How Long Do Hearing Aid Batteries Last?

It is possible to estimate the shelf life of the different kinds of hearing aids.

But it is impossible to give an exact estimate of how long a hearing aid battery will last due to different factors.

On average, the batteries last between 3 to 22 days with fair use. If you use it for about 16 hours per day, that should be between 5-7 days. However, this depends on the capacity and the type of battery, which is why it is impossible to give an accurate estimate.

Moreover, if you have severe hearing loss, you’ll need greater amplification so your hearing aid will be very loud, and this will drain the batteries faster than someone with moderate or mild hearing loss.

Hearing aid batteries come in four different sizes and they have a universal color-coding of 10, 13, 312 and 675. To make the sizes easily identifiable, makers of hearing aids use industry-standard color codes on the packaging and tabs. Here is a guideline on the size, color, and battery life —

  • 10 (yellow) — lasts for 3 – 7 days
  • 312 (brown) — lasts for 3 – 10 days
  • 13 (orange) — lasts for 6 – 14 days
  • 675 (blue) — lasts for 9 – 20 days

Now that you know how long the batteries will likely last, you will be able to tell how frequently you’ll need to dispose of them. However, if you opt for a rechargeable battery, you can use that for about 6 months or even more.

How to Make Hearing Aid Batteries Last Longer

Disposing of your batteries every time is stressful, so you should consider ways on how to improve its battery/shelf life. The average battery life of hearing aids is 3-7 days. It’s hard to come across a definite number of days due to various factors like —

  • The number of hours per day you’re using it
  • The type and size of hearing aid you have
  • The way you take care of the battery
  • The type and size of the battery
  • The technology level of the hearing aid
  • The environment you live in

Luckily, there are different ways to make the batteries last longer with better shelf life.

  • Store extra batteries in a dry room

Hearing aid batteries shouldn’t be stored in extreme temperatures (both cold and hot). High humidity levels are also not good for batteries, this is why you should never store the batteries in the bathroom or refrigerator.

  • Use old batteries first

You can store your hearing aid batteries for as long as possible, but you should know that the longer a battery is in storage (either used or unused) the shorter its lifespan will be. So try using the oldest one out of your spare batteries before the new ones.

  • Use clean hands to handle the battery

If there is grease or dirt on your hands and you touch the battery, it will transfer to it. This is bad for your battery and the hearing aid. It will lessen the lifespan of both the battery and the hearing aid.

  • Don’t remove the plastic tab

Each pack of hearing aid batteries has a plastic tab. It is this plastic tab that keeps the battery fresh when you store it. The moment you take it off, the battery will activate, and its ‘juice’ will start draining from that moment.

  • Let the battery stay for 5 minutes after removing the plastic tab

If you’re ready to change the battery to a new one, take off the plastic tab. When you take it off, the zinc in the battery will mix with air to power it up. Different sources have put forth recommendations stating how long a user should wait after removing the tab and before inserting the new battery. As of recent, research has shown that waiting for 5 minutes is enough to extend the battery life by 3-5 days.

  • Remove the batteries from the hearing aid

If you are not going to be using the hearing aid for a very long period, then you should remove the battery to avoid damage from trapped moisture and corrosion.

  • Use a hearing aid dehumidifier

Hearing aid dehumidifier and dry storage kits will protect your battery. When you take off your hearing aid, you can also store it in the kit so it’s protected.

  • Leave the battery compartment open

Turn off the hearing aid when you’re not using it, then put it in a place that is dry and safe. Open the battery compartment so excess moisture will escape. This will reduce the rate at which the battery drains. Doing this will also prevent the battery from corrosion.

Conclusion

The metals in hearing aid batteries are hazardous; so if the battery leaks, it can contaminate the environment. This is why it is advisable not to throw it in a trash can. Instead, recycle it, so the recycling centers will extract its harmful chemicals before disposal in landfills. Disposing of them in landfills without removing the chemicals is unsafe.

Also, never burn batteries because this can lead to an explosion and release of harmful chemicals into the air. Inhaling such chemicals can cause serious health complications.

About the Author Dwight Donovan

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