How to preserve hearing health

Exposure to loud noise can have a serious impact on hearing health. In the farming community, it is both exposure to loud noises as a part of the daily farm routine, built up over years or instantaneous damage through exposure to excessive noise such as  explosives, firearms and other loud equipment and machinery that result in hearing damage and loss.

Hearing loss is a hazard of farm life. Here are just a few ways that you can ensure the people on your farm are able to protect their hearing:

Minimise exposure:
Wherever possible eliminate or reduce the noise of daily farm tasks. If a piece of machinery is very noisy consider whether you really need to use it or if the work can be completed using a quieter piece of machinery. It’s just not worth the risk.

Across the work schedule, consider rotating tasks so that workers are not exposed to high levels of noise for a prolonged period of time. For many farmers, exposure to loud noise begins in their youth and continues throughout adulthood. Minimising exposure to dangerous levels of noise is crucial.

Safety measures:
Consider installing noise barriers or insulated walls in the spaces where people are exposed to high levels of noise, and rearrange the workshop layout to minimise noise. Additionally, install mufflers on motorised equipment and always provide hearing protection.

New equipment:
New technology has introduced better and safer ways of doing things. When purchasing new farm equipment, look for plant that has noise reduction qualities.

Safety signs:
In noisy areas, install safety signs so that workers know when the environment is likely to be loud and so damaging to their hearing. Make sure workers are provided with and wear the right kind of hearing protection. It can be an easy thing to overlook, but hearing damage and loss can have a seriously negative impact on your life or the lives of your employees.

Use these tips to help yourself, and help others to keep alive and well on the farm.