As a seasoned audiologist with extensive experience in helping thousands of patients, I understand the concerns and potential dangers associated with dogs swallowing hearing aid batteries. Dogs seem to love to chew on hearing aids.
While it can be a distressing situation, it’s important to stay calm and take immediate action to ensure the well-being of your furry family member.
Recognizing the Signs
The first step is to determine whether your dog has indeed swallowed a hearing aid battery. Look out for the following signs:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Drooling excessively
- Abdominal discomfort
If you observe any of these symptoms or suspect that your dog has ingested a battery, it’s crucial to act promptly.
Contact a Veterinary Professional
The next immediate action you should take is to contact a veterinary professional. Call your regular veterinarian or the nearest animal emergency clinic for guidance. Inform them about the situation and provide details such as the battery type, size, and time of ingestion. This information will assist them in determining the appropriate course of action.
If a human swallows hearing aid batteries immediately call the 24-hour National Battery Ingestion Hotline at 800-498-8666.
Do Not Induce Vomiting
While inducing vomiting might be a common response to foreign object ingestion, it is not recommended in the case of a swallowed battery. Batteries can be corrosive and cause further damage to your dog’s throat or digestive system when brought back up. It’s crucial to follow the guidance of a veterinary professional instead.
X-rays and Medical Intervention
Upon arrival at the veterinarian’s office, they will likely conduct an X-ray to locate the position of the battery within your dog’s digestive tract. The X-ray will help determine if the battery has passed through the esophagus or if it’s still within reach for removal.
In some cases, immediate medical intervention may be required to remove the battery safely. Veterinarians may employ endoscopic techniques or perform surgery if necessary. The appropriate course of action will depend on the size, location, and condition of the battery.
Difference in Reactions: Rechargeable Lithium-ion Batteries vs. Disposable Zinc-air Batteries
It is essential to understand that the type of battery your dog ingests can have varying effects on their health. Hearing aid batteries typically come in two main types: rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and disposable zinc-air batteries. While both can be potentially dangerous if swallowed, it’s important to be aware of the differences in their reactions and the potential risks associated with each.
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are commonly used in modern hearing aids due to their long-lasting power and environmental benefits. These batteries contain a liquid electrolyte and lithium salts, which can be highly corrosive if they come into contact with bodily fluids or tissues. If your dog swallows a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, it can lead to severe chemical burns and damage to their esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
On the other hand, disposable zinc-air batteries are typically less corrosive than lithium-ion batteries. They rely on air exposure to produce electricity and are often sealed to prevent leakage. While zinc-air batteries may cause less immediate harm, they still pose risks when swallowed. If a zinc-air battery gets lodged in your dog’s digestive tract, it can cause blockages or even release harmful chemicals over time, leading to health complications.
Regardless of the type of battery ingested, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary assistance. A professional will be able to assess the situation, provide appropriate guidance, and determine the best course of action for your dog’s specific case.
To prevent such incidents from occurring in the future, consider implementing the following preventive measures:
- Secure your hearing aids: Store your hearing aids in a safe place, out of your dog’s reach. Consider using a container with a childproof lid or placing it in a high cabinet.
- Dispose of batteries properly: Always discard used batteries in a sealed container and dispose of them at a designated battery recycling facility. Do not leave batteries lying around where your dog can access them.
- Supervise your dog: When your hearing aids are out of their case, make sure you keep a close eye on your dog. Avoid leaving them unattended in areas where your dog can easily reach and potentially swallow them.
Repairing Chewed Hearing Aids: Options and Considerations
Discovering that your beloved dog has chewed on your hearing aids can be a frustrating and disheartening experience. However, there are steps you can take to address the situation and get your hearing aids repaired or replaced. In this section, we will explore the options available to you and the factors to consider when deciding how to proceed.
Under Warranty: Contact the Clinic
If your hearing aids are still under warranty, the first course of action should be to contact the clinic or hearing healthcare professional from whom you purchased them. Warranty coverage varies depending on the manufacturer and the specific terms of your agreement, but it typically covers manufacturing defects and malfunctions. Damage caused by accidents, including dog chewing, is usually covered under the Loss and Damage policy which usually allows each hearing aid to be replaced one time.
Outside of Warranty: Repair or Replace?
If your hearing aids are no longer under warranty, you have two main options: repairing the damaged devices or replacing them with new ones. The decision will depend on several factors, including the extent of the damage, the age of the hearing aids, and the cost involved.
- Repair: If the damage caused by your dog chewing is relatively minor, repairing the hearing aids may be a viable and cost-effective solution. Contact your hearing healthcare professional or a reputable hearing aid repair service to discuss the situation and obtain a quote for the repair. They will assess the damage, determine if it can be fixed, and provide you with an estimate of the repair cost.
- Replacement: In some cases, t the cost of repair may be close to or even exceed the cost of purchasing new hearing aids. In such situations, it may be more practical to consider replacing the damaged devices. This option allows you to take advantage of newer technology and potentially benefit from improved features and performance as well as get a new warranty period. Consult with your audiologist to explore the available options or learn more about OTC hearing aids that you can buy online.