Farming was once considered to be quiet and relaxing work. Modern agriculture is a much different picture. Animals, equipment and machinery often expose farmers and farmworkers to harmful levels of noise. This hazardous noise is proven to cause permanent hearing loss. This damage cannot be reversed with any sort of treatment, but it can be slowed by reducing noise levels and/or exposure. In addition to hearing loss, noisy environments can cause increased anxiety, hypertension, ringing in ears, discomfort, and fatigue. Many people who wear a Hearing Protection Device (HPD) comment that they feel relief from these symptoms after regular and consistent use.
Hearing Protection Device (HPD)
Not all HPDs are the same, so it’s important to select one that is right for you. Choose from earmuffs, flanged earplugs, molded earplugs, or more high-tech options that offer bluetooth. Select HPDs based on comfort, cost effectiveness, and level of protection needed, then be sure to wear it consistently and correctly.
Did you know that many people don’t insert earplugs the right way? Check out the info graphic provided by National Institute of Health to see if you’ve been wearing earplugs so that they are effective at reducing noise.
Use NC Cooperative Extension’s Quick Guide to HPDs to learn more.
NIOSH Sound Level Meter App- iOS Download
Other sound meter apps are available for Apple and Android devices. Be aware that these apps are not always accurate. Typically, these apps use the device’s microphone to measure noise volume, which often limits their measurements up to 100 dBs, so noises may be louder than the smartphone is able to measure. Permanent hearing damage begins to occur at 85 dBs, so these apps can still be helpful tools. Use the app store on your device to download similar applications.
external iconHearing Conservation Posters
external iconHHow Loud is to Loud? Description of Common Farm Equipment
What do you have to Lose? Description of Lost Speech Sounds
Other Hearing conservation resources
- Agricultural Hearing Loss – It’s Preventable
- How Loud is Too Loud Bookmark
- How Loud is Too Loud on the Farm
- Huh? What Did You Say? Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss on the Farm
- Know Your Noise Levels
- Put A Plug in the Noise
- Preventing Noise Induced Hearing Loss
- They’re your ears Protect Them
- Wear it Right/Usarlo Bien: Fitting Foam Earplugs/Tapones de espuma para los oídos
- Hair cell model activity – hands on activity using pipe-cleaners to model how hair cells are damaged.