Rural & Primary Industries





Not necessarily. Find out why it’s a top priority to protect workers from noise in primary industry & rural settings.


Workers in primary industries work with a range of noisy machinery, from farm machinery to saw milling machinery, chainsaws, rock drills and metal cutters.

It is common for such machinery to operate at 110dB, which is eight times louder than the safe level for human hearing. If hearing protection is provided to rural workers it is often not at a sufficient standard to provide adequate protection, even if it is worn.

The risks for rural and primary industry workers

Noisy environments

Workers in primary industries, on farms and in country areas are more prone to hearing problems than workers in urban areas. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Workers in primary and rural industries are often expected to work beside noisy machinery
  • They are more exposed to dust which can affect the ear canal and the ear drum
  • They are often exposed to chemicals
  • They are often involved with shooting
  • There is a lack of useful information about hearing protection for people in the bush

Dust and chemicals

Dust agitates the sensitive skin inside the ear canal. The body’s natural response to dust is to generate ear wax which protects the ear canal and ear drum. However the wax does tend to build up blocking access to sound. It is important that rural workers and workers in primary industries get their ears checked regularly by their doctor, use specific ear drops to soften and drain the wax and if it won’t drain to have the ears syringed by the doctor.

Chemicals such as fertilizers, weed control poisons and gases from welding are absorbed into the skin and those chemicals (known as ototoxics) destroy the fragile hearing receptors. It is important that when handling or exposed to chemicals, the worker is wearing accredited protective clothing at all times.

Find out more information about noise in the primary and rural industries sector

The menu on the left of the screen has links to a range of different topics concerning noise and hearing loss as it relates to primary industries and rural settings.

If you are working in a primary industry and you are concerned about the noise levels you and/or your workers are experiencing, contact Hearing Link Tasmania today to find out how we can assist you.