I am often asked about recycling batteries for hearing aids and the answer comes with caution because many hearing aid batteries still have trace amounts of mercury and pose problems for recycling centers. However this year some major battery manufacturers switched to mercury free zinc air batteries making it possible to recycle them. Please check your battery packaging for the “mercury free” markings to be sure they are safe. If you save batteries to recycle them, be careful to keep them dry so that they do not leak. Also store your recycling collections separate from your hearing aids and other batteries to prevent damage from battery corrosion and leakage should that occur. Remember also that batteries are toxic, please keep them away from small children and animals and store in a separate room from where you eat and keep food.

Below is information I found from an email that was circulated originally by Cochlear America http://www.cochlearamericas.com/ [the information has been paraphased]

In support of Earth Day 2010 please consider recycling your non-rechargeable zinc-air batteries. Most non-rechargeable zinc-air batteries do not contain hazardous materials that will harm the environment after use, and are safe to dispose of in normal waste. However, it is important to know that certain recycling centers do have the capability to recycle these non-rechargeable batteries.

To determine if you are able to recycle non-rechargeable zinc-air batteries at your local recycling center, you may follow the steps below.

To recycle your used batteries:
1. Return the used batteries to one of the following locations where the batteries will be recycled free of charge.
• Best Buy
• The Home Depot
• Radio Shack
• Batteries Plus

  1. Call 1 800 8BATTERY or visit:www.rbrc.org/consumer/index.phpto locate the Battery Recycling Center nearest you.

Caution: Never store used batteries in locations that are potential fire danger areas. Zinc-air batteries are combustible.

Other useful links:
Habitat for Humanity battery recycling program – http://tinyurl.com/26p776r

Hearing Review Article – Mercury free article

Journal of American Pediatrics – Hazards of battery ingestion http://tinyurl.com/28rh7lu

This blog posted by Suzanne Yoder, Au.D. Doctor of Audiology and owner of HearWell Center. Please visit our website for more information http://www.hearwellcenter.com/