Equipment Noise Reduction

Noise control or the elimination of hazardous noise from the farm environment is the ideal solution for the prevention of NIHL. To their credit, many equipment manufacturers have incorporated quiet design specifications in recent years, some in response to the need for regulatory compliance with national or international standards such as the European Union Directive 98/37/EC. For example, cabs on farm equipment are both a source of comfort and safety for the farmer. Essentially, all contemporary combines have cabs though many older and smaller tractors do not. An important cab enclosure benefit is the exclusion of hazardous noise. Most comparative sound level assessments demonstrate a 20 dB reduction in noise levels for equipment with original cabs, which are well maintained and kept in good working condition. However, for older equipment many small farm operations or those in more underdeveloped countries, economics may preclude the upgrade to newer and quieter equipment. Consequently, personal hearing protection (earplugs/ear-muffs) is the realistic alternative for many farmers (19,20).

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