Farmer’s experience loud noises everyday, often for long period’s of time. Farmer’s experience more hearing loss than many other occupations. Hearing does not come back once the nerve is damaged.
If you have to speak loudly to a person three feet away, than you are working around noises that require hearing protection. What noise level requires hearing protection? The danger zone for hearing damage is 85 decibels. When you have a decibel increase, the “safe time” is cut in half.
|Decibel Level||Farm Sounds|
|The Danger Zone|
|80||Idling tractor, conveyors, elevators.
These noises will cause damage to your hearing if exposed for more than eight hours continuously.
|90|| If tractor is at 50% load, lawn mower, compressor, combine.
As the noise increases, the “safe” time decreases, damage occurs in less than eight hours.
|100||Tractor is at 80% load, squeal of a pig, power tools, chain saw.
Two hours of this kind of exposure can be dangerous.
|120||The tractor is at full load, a bad muffler, old chain saw.
Danger is immediate.
|140||A gunshot, back-fire or dynamite blast.
Any length of exposed time is dangerous. This level, may cause pain in the ear.
Personal Protective Equipment
Protective personal hearing equipment is rated according to its noise reduction rating. Wear ear plugs or muffs when around any noise above 85 decibel’s. Damage from music in headphones can also cause damage if turned up too loud. Make sure you follow the directions when inserting ear plugs.
You should have your hearing tested, by finding a problem early, further hearing loss may be eliminated.
Farm family members are at risk also. Noise induced hearing loss is preventable but not reversible if damaged. Provide personal protective equipment for children. Noise exposure early in life can reduce hearing loss with the correct protection.