Could you speak a little louder!


Hearing loss happens gradually over a length of time and may not be noticed until later in life when people need to repeat themselves before being understood!


As we go about our daily routines, we become complacent about using hearing protection because “this job won’t take long”, “I don’t want to look like a sissy” and “I’ve never needed it before, so why start now?” 


Prolonged exposure to loud noise from equipment can result in permanent hearing loss.  Any sound above 85 decibels for more than eight hours a day, can cause irreparable damage.  An idling tractor or a conveyor belt runs at 85-95 decibels.  After a full day of unloading hay and straw there is already damage done to the eardrum. A diesel truck or power lawn mower has a decibel reading of 95 and power tools read at 100 decibels.


You can tell if the noise is doing damage when you experience ringing noises in your ears, you have a hard time hearing people when they talk and high pitched or soft noises become inaudible.


The intense sound of squealing pigs before feeding time can register over 100 decibels.  If you compound this intense sound, twice a day for 365 days a year, times the number of years working on a hog farm, this can amount to quite a lot of irreparable damage.


Eliminating the noise is the most effective way to prohibit damage, but this is usually not possible.  Controlling the noise level and limiting the exposure time is also very helpful, but again sometimes this is not realistic.


However, wearing hearing protection is something that is easily done and is very effective.  Foam ear plugs can be compressed and shaped prior to inserting them into the ear for a snug fit.  Earmuffs take less effort to put on and can seal the ear from noise.  Cotton balls stuck into the ear are not effective!


This is a simple procedure that should become a habit, just like putting on a seat belt before driving.  Every tractor, machine shop, tool shed and barn should have ear protection handy to be used by farmers and machinery operators.


By starting now, you can ensure that you will still be hearing birds singing and listening to your grandchildren’s whispers when you are much older