When we think of farming we think of peaceful fields, softly lowing animals, the whisper of wind in your ears. The reality though can be just the opposite and hearing loss on a farm can be a devastating side effect of a “not so peaceful” industry.
Damaging effects of noise induced hearing loss
Have you considered the damaging effect of noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) that can be caused by exposure to high levels of noise that farmers and agricultural workers may be exposed to?
What about noise such as:
- Squealing pigs – at a sound level of 100dB. More than 15 minutes of exposure to squealing pigs without hearing protection can start to produce noise induced hearing loss damage.
- Driving in a tractor or no cab combine at a sound level of 105dB for more than 4 minutes without hearing protection is considered to be a time frame that could produce hearing loss.
Even common equipment used on large properties such as a ride-on lawnmower producing 102dB of sound for more than 9 minutes can cause damage with no hearing protection or a leaf blower at 110dB for more than 1.4 minutes can be the cause of hearing loss damage.
Proper Hearing Protection
Ensuring that you or your workers have proper hearing protection is vital in the prevention of NIHL for farmers and agricultural workers. You may be protected within a well sound proofed cab of a combine machine but what if you open that cab door for more than 4 minutes? Make sure you are protected with the proper hearing protection device for your noise exposure.
You may be wear hearing protection while mowing your lawn but what about your children or young family members who may be outside and exposed to that same sound level? Are you ensuring their hearing protection?
You may find a comfortable pair of ear muffs that block out noise best suited for you. Maybe you also need to be able to hear certain sounds and some noise-cancelling headsets that allow you to still hear non-damaging sounds might be more appropriate for your needs.
4 Steps to protecting your hearing.
First things first!
- The first step to protecting your hearing and the hearing of your workers and family members is to be aware of how quickly damage can take place when you are exposed to dangerously loud noises. Teach your workers and family members the importance of wearing hearing protection devices when they know they will be in an area of exposure.
- Second, have your workers, family and yourself screened for hearing loss so that you can assess hearing loss damage that may already have occurred.
- Investigate which hearing protection devices (HPDs) are best suited for your needs.
- USE THEM! Hearing protection devices will only provide protection when used properly and for the appropriate level of exposure.