Over 40% of farmers in Ireland are at risk of hearing loss because they don’t wear ear protection when operating loud machinery.
That’s according to a survey conducted by private healthcare firm Hidden Hearing.
Over 50% of participants in the hearing screening test had some degree of hearing loss.
The survey conducted at Hidden Hearing’s mobile hearing clinic at the recent National Ploughing Championships revealed the extent of hearing loss concerns and problems amongst the farming community.
Of the 200 people who participated in the hearing test and survey, the majority of whom were of working age, 77% of farmers said they were concerned about their hearing. Many had yet to act on those concerns as 85% of respondents said they had never had a hearing test before despite experiencing hearing loss symptoms.
Over 50% of participants in the hearing screening test had some degree of hearing loss and were recommended to have a full hearing test. A potential explanation for the hearing loss symptoms were discovered as over 40% never wear adequate hearing protection when operating loud machinery and 49% commenting that they only wore protective equipment occasionally.
Commenting on the results, Dr Nina Byrnes, Medical Liaison Officer with Hidden Hearing, said: “The survey results reveal the extent to which people aren’t taking adequate steps to protect their hearing or having their hearing checked, particularly if they are experiencing hearing loss symptoms.
“Ignoring hear loss can not only be detrimental for your hearing health but can lead to other health problems and can seriously reduce your quality of life,” added Dr Byrnes.
Asked about which sound of the countryside they would miss the most if they lost their hearing, the farmers said they would miss the sound of bird song, the sound of lambs mewing or cows lowing.