There is no doubt about it, spring is here and so too is the mowing season and lawn mowers are loud. After the winter rains the grass is lush and green and needs a trim every weekend to stay on top of it. That means every weekend we expose ourselves to the loud noise of a lawn mower and whipper snipper. You could say it’s the weekend sound of the suburbs.
There is nothing worse than clippings, stones or other garden debris flicking into our eyes. We all wear eye protection to stop debris going into our eyes and causing damage, but do we protect our hearing while we are cutting the lawn?
How loud is your lawn mower?
Lawn mowers are loud, between 90dB and 110dB and exposure to that level of constant noise will cause hearing damage and permanent hearing loss. Excessive noise is described as exposure to 85dB or more of sound over eight hours. Even though we only mow in short bursts of time (unless you are a mowing business), we should still be wearing earmuffs or plugs to block out some of the sound. Foam earmuffs have an NRR* of 20+ and ear plugs have an NRR of 15 which makes either safe enough hearing protection while lawn mowing.
Faulty lawn mowers
We can’t reduce the level of noise our mowers make unless you hear loud rattling noises, which could be loose bolts, the engine knocking against the deck or a hole in the muffler. Fixing these problems will help reduce the decibels of your mowing equipment.
For ear protection to work properly we need to make sure that plugs are inserted well into the ear canal and our earmuffs sit flat against the head. This way less noise will leak into our ears. Different earmuffs have varied NRR rating, so it’s best to buy a pair with a higher rating. To increase the level of hearing protection, wearing ear plugs and earmuffs together reduces the decibels of noise significantly from the mower or whipper snipper.
Things to consider
Comfort is an important consideration when choosing earmuffs and plugs. Earmuffs with comfortable cushioning in the earpieces and padded headband are going to be nicer to wear. Soft earplugs that we can mould into our ear work best. When we are out in the elements mowing the lawn, we need to consider ear, eye and sun protection. It can be uncomfortable and restrictive wearing earmuffs, a hat and eyeglasses so how do we fit it all together without compromising one for the other?
Clear plastic face masks are available with clips to attach your earmuffs. This set up offers full face protection and the recommended level of noise reduction. This gear is available at most hardware stores and mower shops. However, if you are an occasional mower, a full-face shield and ear plugs will do the job for short stints of mowing. For sun protection wear sunblock and if you can fit a hat on top of the face shield and the earmuffs or plugs you are doing well.
The Hearing Cub
The Hearing Club is a local and independent hearing service provider. Our aim is to assist the hearing impaired to achieve the greatest enjoyment from life.
We are a family business accredited to provide services through the Commonwealth Office of Hearing Services system, WorkSafe and experienced in excellence providing services to private clients in the area. We are proud of our history and commitment to the local community improving lifestyle through better hearing.
We offer personalised ear plugs fashioned to suit your ear for noise protection. You can read a synopsis of the hearing protection we provide here.
To make an appointment with one of our professional staff please call 1800 627 728. To find a clinic near you, contact us online today.
*NRR stands for noise reduction rating. It is used to determine the level of noise reduction provided by hearing protection gears while they are used in the predetermined noise environment i.e. mowing. The higher the NRR number, the greater the hearing protection.