Study: Lack of Hearing Protection Increases Injury Risk for Farmers

Feb. 21, 2007
Farmers who don't use hearing protection have an increased risk of getting hurt on the job, according to a new University of Iowa study.

The study, led by Dr. Nancy Sprince, an occupational and environmental health professor with the University of Iowa College of Public Health, showed that farmers who had difficulty hearing normal conversation were 80 percent more likely to suffer an injury related to a fall on the farm.

In addition, farmers who wore hearing aids were 2.4 percent times as likely to be injured on the job and 5.4 times more likely to suffer an animal-related injury - such as falling off a horse - and 4.4 times more likely to suffer a machinery-related injury.

Other risk factors found to be associated with greater injury include working 50 or more hours a week on a farm, having large livestock on the farm and regularly taking medication.

Noisy Work Environments

According to Sprince, the loud conditions on farms created by tractors, combines, grain dryers, chainsaws and even livestock can create a hazardous work environment that can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. Compounding the problem is that hearing protection isn't always worn, Sprince said.

"In many cases it is difficult to engineer out noise on the farm, so farmers have to rely on personal protective equipment," Sprince said. "And too often, they are unaware of the tasks that require hearing protection."

Hearing aids, she said, help restore some of the farmers' auditory abilities, but the best situation is for them to retain as much of their natural hearing ability as possible.

Previous studies have established farms are dangerous work environments. A 2005 study found farmers are eight times more likely to suffer a fatal occupational injury than the average American worker and twice as likely to suffer a non-fatal occupational injury.

Sponsored Recommendations

ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS)

March 28, 2024
ISO 45001 certification – reduce your organizational risk and promote occupational health and safety (OHS) by working with SGS to achieve certification or migrate to the new standard...

Want to Verify your GHG Emissions Inventory?

March 28, 2024
With the increased focus on climate change, measuring your organization’s carbon footprint is an important first action step. Our Green House Gas (GHG) verification services provide...

Download Free ESG White Paper

March 28, 2024
The Rise and Challenges of ESG – Your Journey to Enhanced Sustainability, Brand and Investor Potential

Free Webinar: Mining & ESG: The Sustainability Mandate

March 28, 2024
Participants in this webinar will understand the business drivers and challenges of ESG and sustainability performance, the 5 steps of the ESG and sustainability cycle, and prioritized...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!