What To Know If Your Dog Ate Your Hearing Aid

dog ate hearing aid broken hearing aid

This is actually quite a common scenario! You are not alone if your dog has gotten a hold of your hearing aids and chewed them to pieces. I am an audiologist who hears this report once a month if not more. Here is what you need to know.

Learn what to do if your dog or pet swallowed a hearing aid battery.

The Dog May Have Swallowed the Hearing Aid Battery

There are 3 common types of hearing aid batteries and you need to identify which one it was.

Disposable Zinc Air Battery

The most common hearing aid battery is the Zinc Air battery. These are the traditional batteries that are used by hearing aids. If you have a disposable battery that lasts between 3-10 days you likely have a zinc-air battery. The other sure way to know you have a zinc-air battery is if you have to peel a sticker off of the battery before you insert it into the hearing aid. Zinc Air batteries have some concerns but overall the pet may be okay.

Often times zinc air batteries can pass through a digestive tract without harm and the dog can poop it out. A 1981 study showed that zinc-air batteries have no visible sign of corrosion in a gastric juice environment.

 Zinc air batteries are much less corrosive than other types of batteries. However, there is a risk that still remains. Specifically, the if the zinc-air battery had mercury in it. Older zinc air batteries did contain mercury and this could lead to mercury poisoning in the pet. Please check the battery package to see if it is labeled with Hg0% or Mercury Free labeling. Most hearing aid batteries since 2017 are made without mercury.

As always, I would recommend you reach out to the vet that you trust or seek more information from the National Button Battery Ingestion Hotline (202-625-3333) or the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661).

Warning signs to look for include anorexia (Dog refuses to eat), nausea (dog is acting sick), vomiting, and very dark poops.

Rechargeable Hearing Aid Batteries are More Dangerous and there are two main types of hearing aid rechargeable batteries.

Ingestion of Silver Zinc and Lithium-ion Hearing Aid Batteries

You can tell identify the difference between Silver Zinc and Lithium-ion by if the battery is removable or not. A silver zinc hearing aid battery also called Z-Power can be removed from the hearing aid and replaced with a disposable battery. You would also know you have a silver zinc battery because the top part of the battery is gold.

You would have a Lithium-ion hearing aid battery if you have no ability to remove the battery from the hearing aid. It would be fully encased.

What If My Dog Ate a Silver Zinc or Z-powered Hearing Aid Battery?

The good news here is that silver-zinc batteries are a water-based chemistry that is stable and the manufacturer says there is no worry about a device exploding or death due to ingestion.

They are completely non-toxic and non-flammable. So, if your dog ate one of the z-powered batteries, don’t worry about it. He or she will likely poop out the battery in a day or two. But please do not try to reuse a battery that has been ingested.

What If My Dog Ate My Whole Hearing Aid that Included a Lithium-Ion Battery?

This is trouble! Have your pet seek immediate medical attention from your Vet. Eating a lithium-ion battery can be fatal and you should not wait to seek immediate medical help. On your way to seek medical help, you can try to feed your dog honey.

The theory is that honey will coat the battery and delay the chemical reaction. Please be aware that it will not stop the reaction but only delay it. Also, please call Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) for additional guidance immediately.

Symptoms of a dog eating a hearing aid include:

  • A bright red and raw tongue also possible be or whitish-gray from dead skin
  • Heavy drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Unusually quiet behavior or sick behavior
  • Pained crying or whimpering
  • Refusal to eat or extremely slow chewing
  • Very dark poop

Why Do Dogs Eat Hearing Aids?

Pets sure do love hearing aids, it is not because they want to cause grief in your life but because they love you! Your dog loves you so much that they like your smell. And when you have worn a hearing aid for multiple hours in a day, your hearing aid will smell exactly like you. And when your hearing aid smells like you, your dog is naturally attracted to it.

Also, a dog can be attracted to a hearing aid if it is whistling. Oftentimes, people forget to turn their hearing aid off when they remove it from their ears. When the hearing aid is off, it keeps amplifying sound.

Without the hearing aid being in your ear, the hearing aid starts whistling as it re-amplifies the same sound over and over again. This high-pitched noise (that you may not hear) may be annoying to your dog and cause them to investigate what is causing it. Then they may start to chew on it.

How Do I Protect My Hearing Aid from My Dog?

Prevention is the best medicine and simple steps you take can prevent a dog from chewing on your hearing aid. I recommend a simple case to keep the hearing aids in. You should have gotten a case when you purchased the hearing aids but if not, I would recommend a hearing aid dehumidifier case (affiliate link to Amazon) also known as a dry-aid kit.

A dry-aid kit will protect your pet from getting at the hearing aids and also has the added benefit of removing moisture from the hearing aid preventing moisture-related repair problems. 

You could also add an extra layer of protection by then putting the case inside a drawer or cabinet or another place where your pet would have difficulty reaching it.

What If my hearing aid is already crushed and chewed on by a dog?

You should gather all the pieces of the hearing aid that you can find and take them to your audiologist or hearing aid dispenser. If the hearing aid is still under than manufacturer’s warranty, they will repair it free of charge.

If you do not have any piece remaining or the key components in the hearing aid are missing, they will likely do a Loss & Damage (L&D) replacement on the hearing aids. Usually, you will have to pay a deductible (around $200-$400) for a replacement hearing aid. Yes, it is expensive but at least you do not have to pay the full cost of the hearing aid.

If the hearing aid is out of warranty and you have pieces remaining, attempt to send the device in for repair. If enough pieces are there, they will only charge for the repair fee of the hearing aids which is typically around $200. 

If you do not have pieces remaining and the hearing aid is out of warranty, then the sad news is that you will need a brand-new device. On the plus side, technology has improved in the last few years and your new hearing aids should be better than the last set. So, contact your audiologist or you could try a newer self-fit hearing aid that we often review on our site. 

When Storing Hearing Aids AVOID These Places:

  • Don’t put hearing aid batteries in a refrigerator. Cold temperatures do not have any effect on battery lifespan and it is not wire to put something that is toxic next to what you are going to eat.
  • Don’t store hearing aid batteries next to medication. There are common horror stories in which hearing aid batteries were kept next to the medication and a person with dementia or low vision has mistakenly swallowed a battery thinking it was their daily pills. Be safe and store them in a different location.
  • Don’t allow hearing aid batteries to drop to the floor and then leave them on the floor. I realized the batteries are small and can roll around but attempt to find a battery if you accidentally drop it so that no pet or small child will eat it. If you are having trouble, try using a powerful magnet wand running across the floor. It will help you find your battery.

Jonathan Javid Au.D.

Jonathan Javid Au.D., a seasoned audiologist with an extensive background in the field of audiology. With over 11 years of invaluable clinical experience, Jonathan has dedicated his career to helping individuals enhance their hearing and improve their quality of life.

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