172457 Adoption of hearing protection use among US farmers

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marjorie McCullagh, PhD , School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Farmers are exposed to high noise at work from equipment and livestock, and experience higher rates of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) than their non-farming age cohorts. Although use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) is an effective self-protective behavior in preventing NIHL, their use among farmers is low. Previous research has identified several major factors influencing use: barriers, access, and gender. The specific aims of this study were to (a) identify the predictors of HPD use among farmers; and (b) describe farmers' personal experiences in overcoming barriers to adoption of this self-protective behavior and becoming consistent HPD users. The study was guided by Pender's Health Promotion Model.

A hypothesized model of HPD use among farmers was developed and tested through computer-assisted telephone administration of a scientifically-developed survey instrument to a population-based sample. Second, face-to-face interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of farmers who reported high frequency of HPD use.

Of the 532 participants, nearly half reported no use of HPDs. Significant factors influencing use included barriers (-), situational influences (-) and sex. Interview results showed that participants report high exposure to hazardous noise and susceptibility to hearing loss. Participants described their motivation to adopt this self-protective behavior, and how they influenced adoption by other farmers. Unlike non-users, these participants revealed how they have developed effective methods of overcoming common barriers to use and limitations to access. Results will be used to develop and test interventions designed to increase HPD use and to decrease rates of NIHL among farmers.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe hearing hazards and use of hearing protection among farmers. 2. Describe common factors influencing hearing protection use. 3. Discuss motivators and methods that successful users of protection use to overcome barriers to self-protection of hearing at work.

Keywords: Hearing Protection, Agricultural Work Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted research in this area for the past 10 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.