It seems like tech is invading every aspect of life these days, and farming is no exception. Just check out modern high-end tractors equipped with touch screens, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Sometimes I feel like farming should resist the march of technology and stay down-to-earth, literally and figuratively. A Wi-Fi connection shouldnâ€™t be needed for planting a garden! Farming should be a chance to disconnect from devices and enjoy land and livestock.
But sometimes my desire to multitask gets the better of me. Farmers are busy folks, and I like to take advantage of every minute in the day.
Say youâ€™re out performing a time-consuming, repetitive farming task like mowing the lawn or cutting hay. Youâ€™re essentially just driving in circles for hours at a time.
Wouldnâ€™t it be nice to make these large chunks of time work for you in more ways than one?
Cancel the Noise
Thatâ€™s where noise-cancelling headphones can come into play. Youâ€™re probably already wearing noise-cancelling earmuffs to protect your hearing from loud engine noises (if youâ€™re not, you should be). Why not invest in a pair with headphones built in so you can listen to music or podcasts while you work?
I took this approach with an ordinary pair of headphones last summer, listening to podcasts while watering fruit trees, pruning tree branches and repairing fences.
Now, thanks to a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, I can do the same while mowing grass or transporting manure. Whatâ€™s better than listening to an entertaining podcast and learning new things while out and about getting work done on your farm?
You might be thinking, â€śwonâ€™t the headphone wires get in the way?â€ť
Thatâ€™s a legitimate concern. You donâ€™t want dangling wires getting caught in something. But these concerns disappear when using wireless headphones.
If youâ€™re techy enough, you can use Bluetooth to stream audio from your mobile device to your headphones, eliminating those pesky wires altogether.
There are two types of noise-cancelling headphonesâ€”passive and active models. Each is suited to different types of noisy environments, so a little forethought will guide you toward the best option for your needs.
Passive Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Passive noise-cancelling headphones are essentially just noise-cancelling earmuffs with speakers built in.
They work by tightly enclosing your ears with sound-blocking materials such as foam. Theyâ€™re ideal for protecting your hearing from random loud noises, particularly high-frequency soundsâ€”gunshots, for example.
Theyâ€™re less effective for blocking out low-frequency sounds, such as the roar of a lawn mower engine.
Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Active noise-cancelling headphones use tiny microphones to analyze the noise around you and output precisely the opposite. It’s a remarkable bit of scientific magic that cancels out noise and leaves you in quiet comfort.
Active noise-cancelling headphones are thus the design of choice for cancelling the constant, unchanging hum from an engineâ€”a blessing for farmers! Theyâ€™re so effective at reducing this type of noise, you can listen to audio at a lower volume than with passive noise-cancelling headphones, which has long-term benefits for your hearing.
But since active noise-cancelling technology requires analyzing soundwaves to determine the appropriate noise-cancelling output, these headphones need a bit of time to warm up and canâ€™t protect you as efficiently against sudden loud noises.
Regardless of whether you choose an active or passive model, noise-cancelling headphones can simultaneously protect your hearing and provide entertainment when tackling repetitive farming tasks. Itâ€™s a win-win situation!