When we talk about work related hearing loss, we mostly consider professions that are located within the city perimeters, like construction yards or public services. But far away from the city noise, the farmers deal, on daily basis, with loud tractor noises, squeals from hundred dogs or ear shattering noise from grain dryers during fall harvest.
Amount of farmers suffering from hearing loss
Out of three million farmers nation wide around one third of them have some degree of hearing loss caused by daily exposure to loud machinery.
Even young farmers, in their mid 20’s can suffer from hearing loss if they don’t use necessary precautions to prevent it.
“You just can’t get away from the machinery. We’re driving those tractors and they’re so goddamn loud,” said Tom Duerst, a 55 year old farmer from Wisconsin.
Most farmers are pretty left on their own when it comes to hearing loss as only the largest farms in the U.S. are under federal workplace safety regulations. Even though everyone is aware of the risk, only the non-profit organizations are focused on educating farmers and their children on how to prevent the hearing loss. The are trying to educate them to wear necessary safety gear like sound-cutting earmuffs or ear plugs.
Reducing the amount of hearing loss
Some companies are trying to redesign their machinery in order to make them less harmful to your ears, however not every farm is able to afford the latest equipment and most of them use old super noisy tractors. Some things can not be replaced by less noisy equipment like dogs for example, the dog squealing can produce a sound equivalent to a running snowmobile.
To make farmers more aware of the degree that their ears get damaged, service educators do show conventions where they show to these farmers to what degree their hearing can get damaged and what they can do to prevent this. It is a good wake up call for many farmers, and since there is no compensation they can at lest think on their own and protect their ears.
Keep in mind, even with compensation benefits, no matter how much money you get as a result, nothing can replace your hearing loss, as it is unfortunately irreversible.
So the best thing you can do is to keep your ears protected when dealing with loud equipment at work.
Some farmers, while shooting clay pigeons realized that they could use the same saftey gear for ears while working on farm. They even attached the safety gear with strings to the tools for more easier handling.
While general U.S. population have seen improvement in hearing since the 70s, when the federal workplace safety regulations came into place. But the farmers that were suffering hearing loss got their share of spotlight only 5 to 6 years ago.
We hope younger farmers will realize how important is to keep their hearing protected and to really take into consideration to go for less noisy equipment.