Recycling HA Batteries?

One of my friends, who also wears hearing aids, says she saves her batteries and takes them back to her audiologist for recycling. I don’t think my audiologist does this (though I haven’t asked her yet).

Do most people recycle their HA batteries?

they smile and say thanks… but,once your friend is out of site they are trashed.

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My understanding are the current crop of “air activated” hearing aid batteries labeled “mercury free” do not require any special handling and may be disposed of in the regular trash.

Only warning I’ve seen on them is “Do not to dispose of in fire.”

you might try this site to look up a place in your area.

That was my understanding, too.

We’ve got a dedicated trash can at our office for batteries, when it gets full we take them to the recycling center.

Came across this on a web site discussing how to dispose and take care of batteries:

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!

I have never noticed one iota of a difference in letting my batteries breathe for a minute versus not, at least for the size 10’s I have used for the last decade or so. As for rust, that’s a real head scratcher. In nearly 50 years of wearing hearing aids, I have never once seen rust on a battery, even back in the old silver-oxide days when my batteries lasted a good 3 weeks at a stretch (and cost $20 ea, briefly, during the Carter days)

Thanks for this informative answer. When I got my new hearing aids, my audiologist gave me a year supply of Starkey batteries. I just checked the packages and they say “mercury free,” so I guess I won’t start worrying about recycling. I will pass this info on to my friend though.

By the way, I’ve heard the advice about letting batteries “air up” but I’ve always been too skeptical and too impatient to do this.

Edit: After reading Gary1001’s link, I see it is illegal to dispose of these batteries in the state of California… which happens to be where I live. So, guess I WILL be recycling!

I don’t know what motivation battery manufacturers would have to advise consumers to allow their batteries to “air up” if it didn’t at least potentially make a difference.

I do give my batteries about 30 seconds to a minute to air up. And I seem to get about an extra day out of my batteries.