If you are new with lawnmowers, you must be asking, “can lawnmowers damage hearing?” the answer is YES, lawnmowers can damage your hearing.
Most of the lawnmowers produce 90 decibels of noise. According to Dr. Michael Roizen, MD, exposing yourself to 90 decibels or more of noise for eight hours, you are bound to damage your hearing.
This might not be alarming to you as you have a small lawn; hence, don’t spend a lot of time there, but you should know that the hours quickly pile up, and you end up damaging your ears.
How can you protect your ears when mowing?
For you to take care of your yard without worrying that you are damaging your ears, you need to do several things. Some of these things include:
Wear hearing protection
This is the easiest way of going about it. If you are like me, you mow your lawn on Saturdays. Before you head there, always wear hearing protection. These can be earplugs, headphones, earcaps, or any other hearing protection devices of your preference.
Regardless of the ones you choose, ensure they are fitting. They also should be comfortable for your ears.
Fix the muffler
The muffler forces sound from the engine to pass through a noise-canceling chamber. It also provides pressure for the engine so that it functions to its optimal levels.
If you have had your lawnmower for a long time, it’s common for the muffler to crack. It’s also common for the gasket seal between the muffler and exhaust pipe to deteriorate.
Due to this, the engine noise isn’t canceled and remains louder than you would want it to be.
If you have noticed an increase in the amount of noise produced by the lawnmower, take a look at the muffler.
Steps to follow
Step 1: Allow the engine to cool down. When the lawnmower is working, the muffler gets extremely hot, and you can’t work on it on that state. Give it time to cool down.
Step 2: After it has cooled down, find the location of the muffler and unscrew the bolts holding it to the engine.
Step 3: Inspect the muffler. Check whether there are any cracks on the muffler. You also should confirm the muffler doesn’t have any rust on it. If the muffler has rust or has cracked, replace it with a new one.
When buying a muffler, don’t buy any. Studies show longer mufflers are quieter, and these are the ones you should go for.
Step 4: Remove the old gasket from the exhaust port. If there is any debris, scratch and remove it. You should then fix a new gasket over the exhaust port. Once everything is in place, replace the exhaust pipe and tighten it to the exhaust port.
If you aren’t a handy person and you aren’t good with tools, don’t try fixing the muffler by yourself as you will cause more problems than were originally there.
In such a scenario, you are better off hiring a professional to diagnose the problem and fix it.
If the noise was coming from the muffler, the lawnmower should operate quieter now, but if it’s still making noise, keep on reading to discover other ways to make the lawnmower quieter.
Work on the lawn mower deck
To eliminate the noises coming from the rock pings, blades, and vibrations, work on your deck. One of the most effective ways of doing it is using sound-deadening materials. The most popular ones being:
Naico mats: While they are designed for automotive, there is no harm in using them on your mowing machine. When properly installed, Naico eliminates general sounds, vibrations, and rattling of the moving parts.
Dyanamt: Another material designed for cars, but you can use it on your mowing machine. In addition to blocking the noise from the engine, it also provides perfect heat insulation as it doesn’t melt due to high temperatures.
FatMat: It’s a little bit expensive than the other options, but it’s highly effective in its working. The cool thing with that it’s self-adhesive, so you don’t have to use any additional spray adhesive.
From their name, silencers silence the noise from the lawnmower engine. There are three main types of silencers you can go for: reactive, absorptive, and combination.
Reactive silencers are connected by a tube to the engine exhaust. The noise from the exhaust bounces between the chambers, which reduces the sound produced by the lawnmower. You should only use these silencers when looking to reduce low to mid-level noise.
Absorptive silencers feature a fiberglass or E-glass insulation in their internal construction. When connected to the lawnmower exhaust, they dampen the vibrations and sound produced by the engine.
These silencers are excellent at reducing high-frequency noise from the lawnmowers.
A combination of silencer combines the technology of reactive and absorptive silencers. Due to this, they are ideal when looking to reduce all levels of sound frequency from the lawnmower.
Before you head to the stores to buy the silencers, first consult an experienced mechanic who will recommend the best silencers for the level of noise your mowing machine is making.
Invest in a quieter mowing machine
Sometimes your lawnmower is too old, and no other option will work other than to get a new, more silent mowing machine.
When buying the new machine, pay close attention to the size of your yard. If you have a large yard, get a large lawnmower and vice versa.
From experience, electric lawnmowers are quieter than gas-powered mowers, so go for them if you don’t like the noise.
If you have a small yard, there is no point in buying a lawnmower with a large engine as it will be noisier—you are better off with a smaller machine.
In addition to being cheaper, a smaller lawnmower is quieter, so you don’t have to deal with a lot of noise
Hearing protection options when lawn mowing
When it comes to ear protection, you have three options: earplugs, earmuffs, and ear caps.
Made from silicone, earplugs are cheap and easy to find. There are two main types of earplugs: disposable and reusable.
You use disposable earplugs once then dispose of them. Regardless of how tempting they might be to use them more than once, don’t as they won’t provide you with optimum noise protection the second time.
You can use reusable earplugs a few times, but don’t go overboard with it. Once you start noticing them wearing out, it’s time to get a new pair.
As mentioned above, earplugs are incredibly affordable, and you can find them easily, both online and offline.
For you to get the most from them, ensure you wear them properly. To learn how to do it, read this detailed guide.
Since you stick earplugs to the ears, they collect most of the ear dirt and diseases which can spread to another person if you share them. Even if it’s your coworker or brother, don’t share your earplugs with anyone else.
Also known as headphones, earmuffs are made from plastic. They provide better noise protection than earplugs as they completely cover the ears preventing noise from getting in.
Properly maintained headphones for mowing last for years, but you need to replace some parts such as the ear cup cushions that wear out quickly.
For headphones to last for a long time, avoid dropping them. Once you are done with mowing, clean them, then store them in a dry place away from dust and insects.
Just like with earplugs, the key to getting the most from earmuffs is to wear the most fitting pieces. Before walking out of the store, try the headphones out, and ensure they perfectly fit your head.
The earmuffs should form a tight seal against the side of your head.
If you like listening to the radio when mowing, go for radio headphones for mowing, producing good quality sound.
While earmuffs provide better noise protection, they are heavier than earplugs. They are also more expensive.
When cleaning earmuffs, use mild liquid detergent then rinse with warm water. Take care when cleaning so that the sound attenuating material inside ear cushions doesn’t get wet.
Use a soft brush to remove oil, dirt, skin, and other particles as they harden ear cushions.
Also known as canal caps or hearing bands, ear caps work by sealing the ear opening without entering like earplugs. Due to this, they provide the least amount of noise protection.
I would highly discourage you from wearing ear caps when mowing a large lawn with an extremely loud lawn mower as they aren’t designed for this work.
Only wear ear caps if you have an electric lawnmower or a lawn mowing machine that isn’t too loud.
For optimal ear health, you should wear ear protection. Two of the most important things to consider when buying ear protection devices are comfort and fit.
If you have been mowing for a while and you have noticed reduced hearing capabilities, visit an audiologist for a checkup.