Noise injury prevention

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, represent an unacceptable risk to the hearing health of farming families. 

The Noise Injury Prevention Strategy for the Australian Farming Community was developed through AgHealth Australia  on behalf of Farmsafe Australia, as a framework to address these issues, based on the research findings.   A number of research reports, articles have been produced by ACAHS, contributing to action on this issue (see NFIDC reports and publications). 

Summary information for farmers based on this research is provided in:

-  Rural Noise Injury Factsheet

- Farm Noise and Hearing Loss Pamphlet

- Shooting pamphlet

The Better Hearing for Farm Families Project -

AgHealth Australia undertook this community-based Project in three NSW communities, using the framework provided by the Noise Injury Prevention Strategy.  The project was funded through the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, and aimed to:
• Improve awareness of noise injury and hearing health  strategies 
• Improve access to services offering:
- advice on noise injury prevention and hearing health
- audiometric screening / testing 
- services and devices for the hearing impaired 
• Improve networking of services within each community
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 - For information on local hearing services, contact local Community Health Centre or look under "hearing services" in the the Yellow Pages*

A free and nationally available telephone hearing screening service is available for farmers and others through Telscreen, an Australian Hearing initiative.  Phone 1800 826 500 (Freecall).

For those who are hearing impaired, the National Relay Service provides a free telephone relay service for people who are having difficulty hearing on the phone. Go to www.relayservice.com.au for details.

For further information please contact:
Kerri-Lynn Peachey
Phone: 02 6882 1486
Email: kerrilynn.peachey@sydney.edu.au