Hearing aids - dangers from batteries

Swallowing batteries or inserting them in noses or ears can cause serious injury or death.

Large lithium batteries are the biggest risk.  

However, there is also a serious risk with the smaller zinc–air batteries which are used in hearing aids, cochlear implants, bone conduction (BC) hearing aids and similar equipment.

Babies and children aged under 5 years

If you have a child under 5 years old who uses a hearing device, and is a patient at the hearing implant centre at St Thomas’ hospital, you will be offered secure battery compartments.

Older children and adults

Let us know if you are living with any children or adults who have health conditions or disabilities and are at risk of swallowing a coin, or button battery, or pushing one into an ear or their nose. This includes people with a significant learning disability, dementia or other cognitive or sensory impairment.

Also let the team know if you are living with children aged under 5 years.


It is important to keep spare batteries, and any waiting to be recycled, in a safe place where any person who is at risk cannot access them.

Go to your nearest emergency department (A&E) if:

  • you suspect someone has swallowed or inserted a battery into their ear or nose

Resource number 4921/VER2
Date published: October 2023
Review date: October 2026

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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