How to Combat Farming Hearing Loss

How to Combat Farming Hearing Loss

In South Dakota, it’s a foregone conclusion that most people will be exposed to agriculture and farming in some capacity, whether it’s a friend or family member who owns, operates or works on or near a farm.

But with farming comes a lot of potential for hearing damage. Keep the following tips in mind to combat farming-related hearing loss.

Protect your ears

It should come as no surprise that farmers are exposed to a lot of prolonged, high-decibel noise on a day-to-day basis. Heavy machinery comes with the territory. That’s why it’s important to consider keeping protection, particularly earmuffs, close by. It’s easy to skip it, but don’t be careless – consider your long-term hearing ability and take the time to grab your ear gear.

Get screened

Because of this sustained exposure to noise, it can often be tough as a farmer to tell when you’re losing your hearing. That’s why receiving a regular hearing screening, perhaps when you receive your annual physical exam, is important – depending on how long you’ve been farming, it might be good to consider seeing a specialist, like an audiologist, for more advanced testing than a general physician would provide.

Stick with cabbed equipment

Depending on your budget, one way to boost avoidance of hearing loss is to purchase equipment that utilizes a cab, especially on vehicles you use regularly and for long periods of time. A cab can control your exposure to the noise of the equipment more so than a simple, cab-free seat setup. On all cabbed vehicles, make sure your doors and windows close tightly for maximum protection.

Fix your equipment

As your equipment ages, it can get a bit loose in the joints. Make sure to quality inspect your machinery annually to ensure all worn-out or loose parts are remedied – wobbly or loose equipment tends to emit higher-volume sound that can do more damage than a vehicle firing on all cylinders.

Take your hearing protection seriously – don’t be afraid to take some precautions now for the sake of continued, optimum hearing in the long run.

Source: Prairie Business Magazine, Penn State Extension