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Batteries and battery safety

Last reviewed: 25 June 2024

If your child uses hearing aids, cochlear implants or any hearing technology that uses batteries, you’ll need to know how to look after these.

Find out how to get batteries, how often you may need to replace them and how to store them safely.

Replacing batteries

Batteries can be disposable or rechargeable.

New batteries will be supplied with small sticky tabs on one side. You need to remove the sticker just before you put the batteries in.

If a new battery isn’t working, check that it’s been put in correctly. Look for the ‘ ’ sign on the battery and the compartment and match them up. You may have been given a battery tester with your technology care kit to check whether there’s any power left. If in doubt, replace with a new battery.

How long batteries last

How long a battery lasts depends on the type and power of your child’s hearing technology and how often it’s used. If your child uses Bluetooth or direct input shoes to listen to audio devices such as a radio aid, their batteries might run out more quickly.

Hearing aid batteries can last a few days or several weeks. Cochlear implant speech processor batteries usually need to be changed between once a day and once a week. Your child’s audiologist or implant team should be able to tell you roughly how long the batteries should last.

Batteries for hearing technology often run out suddenly rather than losing power gradually. If your child wears their hearing technology regularly, you’ll get to know how long the battery will last. You can then change the battery regularly before it fully runs out. For older children, their technology may be programmed to make regular beeps that will warn them when the battery is running out.

It’s a good idea to carry batteries with you at all times so you can change them as soon as they run out. Make sure they’re stored safely so that small children and animals can’t accidentally find and swallow a battery.

Where to get batteries

Hearing aids

Batteries are issued free of charge with NHS hearing aids. Replacements should be available from your child’s audiology service or other local GP and health clinics.

Some audiologists may give you a hearing aid record book to use when collecting batteries. This book holds information about your child's hearing aids and the type of batteries they use.

If you’ve bought your child’s hearing aids privately, you’ll need to pay for the batteries. These will be available from most chemists or large supermarkets. Sometimes you can arrange for your local hearing aid clinic to provide batteries for free.

Hearing aid batteries come in different sizes and are given different code numbers by different manufacturers and distributors. However, all hearing aid batteries share a colour code system, so the coloured sticker or tab on the battery will be the same regardless of the manufacturer.

Cochlear implants

Your implant team will usually give you a good supply of batteries at your appointments. If you run out between appointments, you should be able to ask for more from:

  • a local health centre or GP surgery near your home
  • the audiology department at your local hospital
  • a Teacher of the Deaf (so you can collect them at your child’s school)
  • by post from your child’s implant team or audiologist.

In an emergency, you could buy batteries from a high street chemist. Take your child’s old batteries with you and ask if they have any that are the same.

Some audiology and implant services will ask you to return old batteries when you request new ones.

Battery safety

All young children should have childproof battery locks (also known as tamper-proof battery doors) fitted to their hearing technology. Battery locks should also be offered if there’s any risk your child could swallow a battery, no matter their age, or if your child has a younger sibling. Ask your audiologist or implant team to confirm that your child’s technology has these if you’re in any doubt.

Try not to let young children see batteries being changed. Even if your child has a childproof battery lock, it’s safer if they don’t know that the battery compartment opens. Never leave babies or young children alone with their hearing aids or speech processors.

Batteries are extremely dangerous if swallowed. If you think your child may have swallowed a battery or inserted it into their ear or nose, take them to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department immediately. Take along a packet of batteries so the doctors know exactly what they’re dealing with.

Storing batteries

Batteries need to be stored correctly so that they don’t touch each other. If the batteries still have power in them, they can get hot if their terminals touch.

Never leave batteries in hearing technology when they’re being stored for a long time. If your child has a spare hearing aid or speech processor, remove the battery when it’s not being used. Batteries can leak and cause expensive damage to the hearing technology.

Disposing of batteries

Keep your used batteries in the original packaging to keep them safe and make sure that no old batteries have gone missing.

Some audiology services will ask you to return old batteries so they can be recycled. If you aren’t asked to return old batteries, you can safely dispose of them in your household rubbish. However, many local councils now have recycling schemes for batteries including household collection. Some large stores also offer boxes to keep old batteries in as well as recycling schemes.