In many ways, pets are forever toddlers. Despite our best efforts to train and protect them, they have an uncanny ability to endanger themselves. One of the most challenging aspects of this dynamic is being unaware of possible hazards. In fact, many hearing aid wearers may not realize the life-threatening potential of their devices. When ingested, hearing aid batteries can be lethal. If you’re treating your hearing loss with a hearing device, be sure you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your pet.
Due to the small nature of hearing aid batteries, animals can easily crush or swallow batteries, allowing the corrosive fluid to enter their systems. This can cause extensive damage to an animal’s tongue, throat and digestive track. In some cases, ingesting batteries can be life-threatening for animals, and may require surgery. Dogs who have ingested hearing aids may exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- Red, raw appearance or white/gray coloring of the tongue
- Heavy drooling and/or vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing
- Lack of appetite or eating very slowly/carefully
- Lethargic behavior
- Whimper or crying
Because the stakes are so high, prevention is the best route. If you have a pet, take the following protective measures:
- Store batteries in a drawer, where a dog or cat cannot access them. Unlike a shelf, a drawer eliminates the threat of the batteries being knocked off.
- Teach your dog to avoid hearing aids through positive reinforcement methods.
- Dispose of old batteries with caution. If you throw them in the trash, your pet may access them accidentally. We recommend disposing of them directly into a receptacle outside of your home or taking them to a recycling facility.
- Invest in a secure case to store your hearing aids and accessories. These may be purchased through an audiologist.
- Make sure your hearing aids are turned off when you put them away. Occasionally, hearing aids that are left on create a whistling feedback, which can attract your pets.
To learn more about hearing aid safety, speak with a local audiologist today. At Decibel Hearing Services, we provide a range of hearing-related services—including diagnostics, fittings and hearing aid repair, to the communities of Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. Hearing aids are a necessary tool to treat hearing loss, but for your pet’s sake, be sure you handle and store them with caution!