Farm Life ….Peaceful, but not so Quiet

Today we celebrate the agriculture community where so many Hoosiers, and even Midwesterners, have their roots.  Here in Hancock County, it is 4-H week.  Many who live in metropolitan areas today remember farming activities as a part of their formative years, if not directly, often indirectly.  Visitors to our state drive by corn fields, soybean fields, and farms on their way to Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Louisville, or St. Louis.  Farmer’s markets are nearby with local produce in most communities today.  The food produced by Indiana farmers not only impacts our health and nutrition, but also our economy on many scales.

Most farmers have a lifetime investment in the vocation.  Often they are the product of multiple generations working the land.  They are exposed to chores and work at an early age.  They are also exposed to hazardous noise levels at an early age.  Do you think of country life as peaceful?  It is rarely quiet when work is being done.  Most farm sounds (tractors, combines, grain dryers, chain saws, and aerial spraying) are louder than the permissible noise levels in mines and factories.  Have you ever considered how loud “pig squeals” are?  Have you ever known a farmer with a hearing impairment?  Better yet, have you even known a farmer without a hearing loss?

Many engineering improvements have been made to equipment and machinery, most notably with tractor cabs.  Make sure that the equipment is operated with doors and windows closed.  Maintain the equipment.  Older equipment that is well used will get louder and louder without servicing.  Wear hearing protection at work and during noisy recreational activities.  Noise is often a way of life with ATVs, guns, and motorcycles filling non-work activity hours.  All farmers, even beginners, should have their hearing checked annually as part of a good hearing conservation program.

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