Effectiveness of a preventive campaign for noise-induced hearing damage in adolescents
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology. - Amsterdam
, p. 604-609
University of Antwerp
Objectives: Many studies have documented a high incidence of hearing loss and tinnitus in adolescents after recreational noise exposure. The prevalence of noise-induced symptoms is in contradiction to the low preventive use of hearing protection. The effects of preventive campaigns on the attitudes toward noise in young people are under debate. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether a preventive campaign can alter attitudes toward noise in adolescents and whether this results in an increase of hearing protection use in this population. Methods: A cohort of 547 Flemish high school students, aged 14 to 18 years old, completed a questionnaire prior to and after a governmental campaign focusing on the harmful effects of recreational noise and the preventive use of hearing protection. At both occasions the attitudes toward noise and toward hearing protection were assessed by use of the youth attitudes toward noise scale (YANS) and the beliefs about hearing protection and hearing loss (BAHPHL), respectively. These questionnaires fit into the model of the theory of planned behavior which provides a more clear insight into the prediction of a certain behavior and the factors influencing that behavior. Results: The score on the YANS and the BAHPHL decreased significantly (p < 0.001) implying a more negative attitude toward noise and a more positive attitude toward hearing protection. The use of hearing protection increased significantly from 3.6% prior to the campaign to 14.3% (p = 0.001) post campaign in students familiar with the campaign. Conclusions: Measurable alteration of all the variables in the theory of planned behavior caused an increase of the intentions to use hearing protection as well as the actual use of hearing protection. The present study shows the usefulness of the theory of planned behavior to change and guide adolescents' preventive actions toward noise damage. In addition, preventive campaigns can establish attitude and behavioral adjustments. However, the long term effects of preventive campaigns should be investigated in future research. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.