Hearing loss through noise injury is a major problem in many industries. Effects include difficulty hearing the telephone or TV; hearing conversation at work, in class, at meetings or wherever there is background noise. Tinnitus, (ringing /noises in the ears or head), can also be a sign of exposure to excessive noise. Hearing loss through noise injury is painless, permanent, progressive & preventable.
The degree of hearing loss depends on the length of time that you exposed to the noise and the intensity (loudness) of the noise. Noise is measured in decibels (dB) and each 3dB increase in noise level results in a doubling of the intensity of that noise so the exposure time has to be halved. Noise levels greater than 85dB(A) averaged over an 8 hour period LAeq,8hdB(A)=85dB, places the human ear at risk of hearing loss.
A good guide is to remember that all machinery or activities where you need to raise the voice to communicate 1 metre away, is a noise hazard. Common noise hazards include tractors, chainsaws & firearms. Firearms have noise levels of over 140dB & should never be used without hearing protection. Exposure to several noisy activities in the day is also cumulative toward the recommended daily noise limit.
FARM NOISE check list
Are you a farmer? You may be at risk of noise injury. Complete the following check list to determine if you need to change your noise management habits
Are you exposed to noise from
- Tractors (no cab) beyond 2 hours per day
- Shotguns, firearms or Pistols
- Workshop tools beyond 2.5 hours /day
- Heavy machinery
- Working in Pig sheds beyond 1 hour /day
- Working in Shearing Sheds beyond 7 hours / day
- Any other noisy activity
Do you sometimes not wear ear protection for noisy activities
If you answered yes to any of the above questions you should consider making better use of ear protection. Hearing and noise do not do well for your hearing health. If you feel at risk of noise injury, it might be time to undergo a hearing assessment.