Effectiveness of a Multifaceted Occupational Noise and Hearing Loss Intervention Among Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers
Landscaping and groundskeeping workers are exposed to excessive amounts of loud noise from powered lawn equipment and tools that can lead to adverse health effects, including noise-induced hearing loss. The main objectives of this project were to evaluate attitudes and behavior of wearing hearing protection devices (HPDs) and to test the effectiveness of knowledge following an educational training among these workers. This was a cross-sectional intervention study. Bivariate analysis was conducted to evaluate worker perceptions about the importance and frequency of wearing HPDs. Pre- and post-tests were distributed to workers to evaluate significant differences in learned knowledge following a multifaceted noise and hearing loss training. Although nearly all workers recognized the importance of wearing either earplugs or earmuffs, actual use for wearing HPDs was approximately only half of the time when working around loud noise. Following the training intervention, there was a significant increase between mean pre- and post-test scores. Targeted trainings can be effective for increasing worker knowledge about the effects of noise, hearing loss, and hearing protection. Sustained efforts, however, must be made by employers to ensure that regular trainings are routinely provided and that the use of HPDs are promoted in the workplace.
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Speaker / Author:
Gregory D. Kearney, MPH, DrPH, REHS, Brody School of Medicine, Department of Public Health, East Carolina University
Jo Anne G. Balanay, MOH, PhD, CIH, Environmental Health Sciences Program, Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University
Adam J. Mannarino, MSEH, MPH, East Carolina University