Hearing aids are powerful, but they are small and the batteries are even smaller. It is easy to misplace or lose them. But there’s an even greater problem to consider--a child or pet possibly ingesting them. Such an action can be hazardous.
Ramifications of ingesting hearing aids or their batteries
Although hearing aids, and their batteries, should usually pass through the digestive system safely, they sometimes pose a tremendous risk. It may be rare, but dangers do exist. Don’t hesitate for a second to seek help. If they get lodged in the esophagus or throat, they pose a choking hazard.
Also, batteries containing lithium can cause serious or life-threatening injuries due to toxic properties if swallowed. Batteries contain various chemical compounds and metals, such as mercury or the aforementioned lithium. Mercury poisoning can occur as the battery casing disintegrates. In addition, saliva can trigger an electric current in the batteries, causing severe burns.
A call to action
Act immediately if a child or pet swallows a hearing aid or hearing aid battery. Take the child to a medical emergency room or the pet to an animal hospital. Take note of any symptoms, such as vomiting, abdominal pain, blood in the stool, or fever. The effects of ingesting a hearing aid battery can be lethal. Take the packaging along, if possible, so emergency personnel can determine the type of batteries swallowed. Under no circumstances should you induce vomiting. Do not allow the child or pet to eat or drink until a physician permits it.
An x-ray will gauge the risk of corrosion and determine the position of the object. An x-ray will also help to determine if surgery is needed to remove the hearing aid or hearing aid battery, or if the object can pass naturally and safely through the digestive system.
If you use hearing aids and their batteries, keep vital telephone numbers on hand. Post the numbers of the National Button Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333) and the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) to further aid you on how to respond in emergencies of this type.
How to prevent ingestion
You can minimize the risk of a child or pet swallowing a hearing aid or hearing aid batteries by taking certain precautions. One way is to keep them out of reach in a secured cabinet or drawer when they are not being used. Leaving them out, unattended, on a nightstand or dresser makes them more susceptible to accidental misuse. Also, while out in the open, they are more likely to get knocked to the floor.
Another way to protect your children or pets from ingesting hearing aid batteries is to carefully dispose of them. Drop the batteries off at a recycling center when you are done using them. Don’t simply put them in the garbage where they can be found by kids or pets. You can visit call2recycle.org to find drop-off locations near you.
At any rate, be proactive. That is the key to avoiding danger. Be aware of these risks to help keep your pet or child safe. For more information on hearing aid and battery safety, please contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sounding Hearing Aids.