About 78 percent of farmers in the U.S. believe that they experience hearing loss. This is a much higher number of individuals compared to other groups.
Working on a farm every day exposes workers to noises from heavy machinery, squealing pigs, tractors and ventilation systems. As a result, farmers are at a high risk of losing their hearing.
Excessive Levels of Noise are Heard on a Daily Basis
A study asked 5,000 farmers about their hearing over a course of 10 years. The research concluded that 92 percent of these farmers had been exposed to excessive levels of noise while working on a farm. Due to this dangerous exposure, 78 percent had issues with their hearing.
What are the Average Farm Noise Levels?
As previously mentioned in this blog, the threshold for hearing loss is 85 decibels (dB).
A Lack of Hearing Protection
Anyone who works in a noisy environment should regularly wear hearing protection. In the study, only 44 percent of men stated that they regularly use hearing protection. In Sweden, 40 percent of male farmers reported using protection for their hearing. About 78 percent of women who farmed were more likely to use hearing protection. These studies verified how significant it is to wear protection for your hearing health. Fifty farmers who regularly use protection for their hearing, were paired up with non-users. The outcome showed that there was much less hearing loss in farmers who wore hearing protection.
Additional ways to Protect Hearing
Other than wearing hearing protection, it’s also important to limit your noise exposure. According to Niklas Adolfsson, from the Swedish Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, noises can be reduced on farms by installing sound insulation inside of a barn and choosing the quietest equipment when investing in tools/machinery.
The loud noise levels do not only create a high risk of hearing loss, but they can also be a huge distraction, which can lead to mental and physical fatigue. Anyone who has hearing loss, needs to use more of their energy in order to carry out their duties. In this case, farmers tend to expend more energy so that they can do their job in a noisy climate. This can lead to more work related injuries.
If you, or someone that you know, are a Lancaster County farmer who experiences hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a free hearing test and consultation. We offer a variety of hearing aid styles and brands for a wide range of hearing loss.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs and re-fittings. We ask that you please wait in your car, while wearing your mask, and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to your car to get them. If you are having any issues with your hearing aids, or an assistive listening device, please contact us before visiting one of our office locations.