Noise, Hearing Loss and Hearing Protection on the Farm

 
 
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 Why is hearing protection especially important to farmers?
Farmers use many different types of machinery that produce excessive amounts of noise, including tractors, grain dryers, and radios in enclosed cab tractors. Swine barns at feeding time contain extremely high noise levels. In addition, farmers are around these high noise levels for long periods of time, thus making the risk of hearing loss even greater.

How can I tell if a noise is dangerous?
If the noise is loud enough that you must raise your voice to be heard above the noise at three feet from your partner, the noise is probably loud enough to damage your hearing.

How does the noise hurt my ears?
The damage caused by noise involves nerve loss, resulting in hearing loss. Once your hearing is damaged by noise, there is no treatment that can correct your hearing to normal. That is why it is important to use hearing protection.

How do I protect myself from hearing loss?
Depending on the level of noise, a variety of hearing protection devices can be used. These include such items as disposable earplugs and earmuff-style hearing protectors.

Notes: Disposable earplugs should be thrown in the garbage as soon as they are dirty. Cotton, when stuffed into ear canals, is very poor protection.

Hearing protection can be purchased at pharmacies, implement dealerships, and safety supply companies.

You can also prevent hearing loss by:
  • limiting the amount of time spent near the noise
  • turning off radios in the tractor
  • install or repair mufflers on equipment
  • close all windows and doors on equipment
Where can I find out more information?
If you have specific questions or are worried about hearing loss, please contact your family physician.

 
 
 
 
For more information about the content of this document, contact Kenda Lubeck.
This information published to the web on June 3, 2003.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 8, 2013.