New Study Links Hearing Loss and Accidents for Farmers
A new study by the University of Iowa says farmers who have trouble hearing a normal conversation are 80% more likely to get injured on the job. The study says they are more likely to not pay attention to quiet sounds that can lead to injuries like falls. Dr. Mike Dahlke says anything over 90 decibels can begin to damage a person's ears. And because farmers may not always wear hearing protection they are at a higher risk of hearing loss and injury.
"Farmers are exposed to more noise than the general population because they're driving tractors, they're exposed to heavy equipment, they use firearms and even livestock noise can be excessively noisy," said Dr. Dahlke.
"If it's something off to your side or behind you there's enough of a muffling or a ringing that you might hear in your ears that you don't pick up subtle sounds that could cause danger," said part time farmer Tom Cadwallader.
Both Dr. Dahlke and Cadwallader say additions of cabs to tractors have helped cut some of the noise damage down. However, they say livestock owners don't always use hearing protection when they work in barns where animal sound levels can greatly increase.
Source: Sleater, Dave. “New Study Links Hearing Loss and Accidents for Farmers.” www.wsaw.com, February 23, 2007.