On a daily basis, farmers are exposed to squealing livestock, tractors, ventilation systems, chainsaws and other heavy machinery. All of these things contribute to the increasing problem of noise-induced hearing loss in the agricultural industry. A good deal of research into hearing damage in the agricultural sector has been carried out throughout the last decade. In a recent US study, it was discovered that approximately 30 million Americans are exposed to hazardous noise on the job. 36% (10.8 million) of those individuals are in the agricultural business. Furthermore, 78% of those farmers had suffered or were suffering from hearing problems.
While noise induced hearing loss is permanent, it is easily preventable. However, only 44% of males in the study said they used ear protection on a daily basis. US law has put preventative measures into place by controlling maximum job noise exposure. If the noise is higher than a certain level or someone is exposed to a lower level of noise for an extended period of time, then protective gear must be used. Unfortunately, enforcing the regulation is difficult. Furthermore, protective gear is a cost of business as it is not issued by the government through subsidies. Thus, it is a cost that struggling farmers cut by opting not to purchase hearing protection in the first place. Further education on the subject would very likely alleviate some of the problem..
But, what about people who already have damaged hearing? Many of the people in ‘noisy occupations’ are in a lower income bracket and therefore can’t normally afford the cost of $3,000 - $7,000 dollar hearing aids. This potentially creates a downward spiral as productivity is reduced leading a further reduction in income, or an individuals person comfort level becomes so intolerable that they quit. One option that could be explored in order to help former farmers suffering from hearing damage, are the tools that Acudora have developed. Our technology measures your Acoustic DNA and, matched to your individual profile, allows you to fine tune your audio output to optimize clarity and resolution. This would not only allow affected farmers to do day-to-day activities, such as watching TV or talking on the phone with ease, but would also allow them to pursue other careers without the disadvantage of hearing loss.