Do you have a dog, cat, or other furry friend running around your home? If so, you probably already know small objects can quickly disappear as they get knocked around, pushed off, or even chewed or eaten. While it’s never fun to find out one of your prized possessions is damaged, a lost hearing aid can be one of the worst discoveries. Here’s how you can keep your hearing aids (and pets) safe.
How to keep your hearing aids safe
In general, you should keep your hearing aids in the same place when they are not in your ears. This is especially helpful so you know if they’ve gone missing. If a pet swallows a hearing aid with batteries, you will want to know immediately so they can get emergency care. When picking a location for your hearing aids, find somewhere safe that is high enough off the ground so it cannot be accidentally swiped by a tail or paw. You should also keep them in a cool, dry place to ensure the batteries don’t get wet from humidity. That means the bathroom isn’t ideal, nor is a refrigerator or spot directly in the sunlight.
Hearing aid batteries should also be removed every night to allow the hearing aids to dry out (if there is any moisture) and get the most life out of the batteries. With all the pieces separated, there is a higher likelihood of one piece going missing. Ensure your pet can’t chew a battery by placing them in a drawer, case, or jewelry box.
It’s also incredibly important to dispose of used batteries in the proper manner, especially if you have a curious pet who likes to rummage through the trash. If you have a zinc battery, take it to a recycling center or mail it to Audicus for us to recycle. If you have a mercury battery, take it to a hazardous waste center. If you have a lithium-ion battery (often used in rechargeable batteries), take it to a recycling center as well. If you aren’t sure, ask an audiologist or support specialist or call the store where you purchased the battery. Even if you can no longer use the dead battery, it still contains materials that are hazardous if consumed by a pet.
Signs your pet ate a hearing aid battery
If you are concerned your pet may have eaten a hearing aid battery, look for the following signs in your pet:
- Won’t eat or drink, or seems unable to swallow
- Vomits or drooling more than usual
- Inflamed, red tongue and dull grey color to skin
- Whimpers of pain
According to the Dr. Charlotte Means from the ASPCA and PetFinder, these signs may not show up until 12 hours after consumption. This all depends on your pet’s size and metabolism. Once your pet chews and cracks the casing on a battery, the fluid inside will leak into their body and can burn their tongue, esophagus, and skin. If you think your pet ate a battery, the first step is to determine what type of battery, so you know what chemicals are present, then consultation with a veterinarian.
They may recommend you dilute the chemicals by giving your pet milk. The amount of milk is important because too much will cause your pet to vomit and bring the chemical back through the throat and mouth, but too little will do nothing. Always consult your veterinarian, and do your best to prevent this from happening in the future. Your pet and hearing aids will thank you!
By: Diana Ford