Noise injury and hearing loss is a significant problem in the Australian farming community. Hearing loss sustained from noise injury, can have disabling personal and social consequences for the affected person and their family.
Research has shown that around two-thirds of farmers have a measurable hearing loss, or have on average, hearing levels 10 to 15 years worse than that of the rest of the population.
Noise injury in farmers occurs from prolonged exposure to on-farm noise hazards such as tractors, chainsaws, firearms. Damage can be caused by prolonged and cumulative effects of noise over 85 dB over many years; or by instant trauma associated with peak noise levels over 140 dB. Exposure to excessive noise levels without protection, is an unacceptable risk to the hearing health of farming families.
Noise injury prevention on farms
Summary factsheets for farmers based on research conducted by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety is provided below under Related Documents.
Research reports on farm noise injury are available at www.aghealth.org.au. This research also informed Farmsafe Australia’s Noise Injury Prevention Strategy for the Australian Farming Community, developed to address the hearing health needs of farmers.
The Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety recently undertook a the Better Hearing for Farming Families Project in three NSW communities, using the framework provided by the Noise Injury Prevention Strategy. A report on this Project will be available shortly, to assist other communities implement similar noise injury prevention projects in their area.
Hearing screening and services
Q. Have you had your hearing screened? A free and nationally available telephone hearing screening service is available through Telscreen,an Australian Hearing initiative.
Phone 1800 826 500 (Freecall).
Q. Are having trouble hearing on the phone? The National Relay Service may be able to help. This is a free telephone relay service for people who are hearing impaired.
Go to www.relayservice.com.au for details.
For further information on hearing services in your area, contact your local Community Health Centre or look under Hearing Services in the Yellow Pages.