Farm Machinery Can Cause ‘Lifelong Damage’ To Hearing

Several types of farm machinery are loud enough to cause “lifelong damage” to hearing, according to research carried out by Hidden Hearing.

The hearing healthcare provider has carried out a study of various pieces of farm machinery to find the decibel (db) level of each.

According to Hidden Hearing, any noise over 80 decibels can cause noise induced hearing loss when exposed for long periods, with farmers and those in manual labour industries at a higher risk of suffering from early hearing loss as a result.

Combine Harvester

The healthcare company reviewed the decibel levels of 21 different types of farm machinery to create a list of the loudest machinery.

19 out of the 21 pieces of farm machinery or equipment included in the research, have noise levels above the 80db level that can cause hearing loss, with combine harvesters, balers and tractors among the loudest equipment.

Hidden Hearing said that even just 15 minutes exposed to noise 100db and over will start to damage hearing. Any exposure longer than 15 minutes at a decibel level over 100 can have a detrimental impact on hearing and can cause lifelong damage.

Some of the machinery and equipment Hidden Hearing looked at, and there decibel levels, are outlined below:

  • Combine harvester – 105db;
  • Baler – 102db;
  • Tractor – 100db;
  • Cultivator – 98db;
  • Loader – 98db;
  • Rotavator – 96db;
  • Power harrow – 95db;
  • Milk parlour – 92db;
  • Mower – 90db;
  • Plough – 89db;
  • Seed planter – 89db;
  • Harrow – 88db;
  • Crop sprayer – 85db;
  • Hay rake – 85db;
  • Potato harvester – 85db;
  • Seed drill – 81db;
  • Fertiliser spreader – 74db;
  • Slurry tanker – 70db;
  • Quad Bike – 70db.

Speaking on the research, Dolores Madden, marketing director at Hidden Hearing and a qualified audiologist, explained “We often underestimate the damage that comes from being around loud machines for a long time. Your hearing is precious, and not paying attention to the risks can lead to permanent damage.

“Noise-induced hearing loss is an issue for farmers at all ages. Previous research we’ve conducted indicated that 22% of farmers admit that they suffer from hearing issues,” Madden added.

The Hidden Hearing representative said that this damage can be preventable with the right steps.

“The good news is that up to 50% of acquired hearing loss is preventable, so farmers can reduce their risk of hearing loss by simply wearing hearing protection when working in loud environments and being mindful of exposure,” she said.

(Source – Agriland – Charles O Donnell – 19/09/2023)

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Rural Enterprise Skillnet
Rural Enterprise Skillnet

The Rural Enterprise Skillnet is funded by member companies and the Training Networks Programme, an initiative of Skillnets Ltd. funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.

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