Excess leakage currents under reverse bias (known as shunting) and spontaneous reductions of this excess leakage under increased reverse bias (known as curing) were investigated in hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) based single junction p-i-n type diodes. An increase in the frequency of shunting was observed when the front contacts were switched from tin oxide to zinc oxide, most likely due to defects in the previously deposited zinc oxide coated glass was observed. Storage in the dark and light soaking up to 100 hours were both observed to independently increase the leakage current in previously leaking diodes. Models for the distribution of shunt-causing defects within a given cell area were considered. Comparing the measured frequency of shunting using cells of varying area (1 to 16 mm2) to the models' predictions indicate a distribution of point defects separated by relatively large average distances that are slightly larger for tin oxide (5-6 mm) than for zinc oxide (4 mm).