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Is farmwork affecting your hearing?

Prolonged or repeated exposure to loud noises can induce hearing loss. As a farmworker, noise-producing livestock, tractors, chainsaws and other machinery are probably part of your everyday routine. Without taking precautions or addressing the cause of hazardous noise, you risk losing your hearing permanently.

A study shows that 78% of farmers exposed to extreme noise levels suffered hearing loss. While not as devastating as losing a limb or a burn, hearing loss can reduce your quality of life. Apart from being irreversible, it is linked to cognitive impairment and dementia.

When is a noise dangerously loud?

Exposure to noises above 70 dB, such as blowers, tractors or ATVs can cause ear damage over time. However, pain and hearing loss can occur in just a few minutes when exposed to noises greater than 120 such as bark, firearm or chainsaw right in the ear.

Generally, noise is too loud if you are experiencing physical pain and ringing in your ears. Having difficulty hearing hours after exposure is also a bad sign.

You may have hearing loss if you exhibit symptoms like constantly asking people to speak louder, needing to turn up the volume of the radio or TV and having trouble understanding words. A doctor can help assess the level of damage and prescribe tools that can prevent further damage.

Seeking compensation for hearing loss

The best way to prevent hearing loss is to protect your ears. Industrial hearing protection and fixing any loose equipment that’s causing the noise could help. Employers should provide these safety measures to workers, but not all do.

Moreover, states such as North Dakota and Minnesota do not require employers to provide workers’ compensation to agricultural laborers and farmworkers. Therefore, if you suffer hearing loss and damages because of your job, you may have to seek other ways to recover compensation.

Working under dangerously loud conditions endangers your health. If your employer’s actions cause you to suffer ear damage and other injuries, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. A lawyer can review your case and provide advice on how to move forward.