On the farm, we use our hearing to do our jobs better. The problem is, when it comes to hearing safety, most threats are long term. We don’t sense any immediate harm. This week's farm safety tips address why it’s important to train your employees on hearing protection.
According to the Hearing Health Foundation, any prolonged exposure to sounds higher than 85 decibels can cause gradual loss of hearing. With gradual loss, you may not realize damage has occurred until hearing loss ranks in the mild to moderate range. Noises above 150 decibels can cause pain, and even brief exposure can damage the ears.
So, when training employees, how do you explain that hearing protection is necessary?
First of all, it’s important to recognize that everyone’s sensitivity to noise is different. What may cause ringing or pain in your ears, may not affect others in the same way. Furthermore, it’s important to make sure your employees are trained properly on when it’s time to use proper hearing protection.
Several simple indicators will tell you (and your employees) when it’s time to begin wearing protective ear wear:
- If you’re next to someone in a noisy environment, and they must talk loudly or shout for you to hear them.
- If the noise literally hurts your ears.
- If you have difficulty hearing for several hours after exposure, you should be using ear protection at work.
- If your ears are ringing at the end of the day, or at night when you’re trying to relax, it’s definitely time to use hearing protection on the job.
More than 30 million people are exposed to hazardous noise levels on a daily basis. Working on a farm, you and your employees are no doubt included in that 30 million.