High Rates of Hearing Loss in Farmers Raises Concern

Farmers have one of the most important jobs in the country. They toil tirelessly day by day to produce the fruits and vegetables we consume as well as raising and caring for animals to provide meat for our tables. They spend countless hours each day enduring mental and physical labor which takes a toll on their well-being and unfortunately, their efforts are often overlooked. A recent online article from Health and Beauty News discusses concerns regarding hearing loss in our farmers – just one more toll their bodies take.

According to the article, operating loud farming machinery for just a few hours per day could be enough exposure to result in hearing loss. This information comes from an associate professor at University of Michigan School of Nursing named Marjorie McCullagh. The research on the farm is called HEAR. The goal is to convince farmers to take the necessary precautions in order to protect their hearing. Unfortunately, loss of hearing caused by noise is irreversible and as the article explains, there currently is no regulation of noise exposure on farms by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, such as an explosion, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time. People of all ages, including children, teens, young adults, and older people, can develop NIHL. Approximately 15 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 (about 26 million Americans) have hearing loss that may have been caused by exposure to loud sounds or noise at work or in leisure activities.

If you or a farmer that you know is concerned about their hearing due to their job, we may be able to help. Farmers are expected to monitor and deal with it on their own. Our audiologists can help with hearing impairments or risk of hearing loss. We have hearing aids which can improve hearing as well as custom-fit ear molds which can help protect ears from repeated exposure to loud noises. Check out our online hearing loss assessment or contact one of our audiologists for more information. Farmers work hard to provide for us and keep us healthy and we aim to do the same for them.

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