In the United States it is estimated that more than 30 million workers are exposed to harmful levels of noise on the job. When engineering or administrative controls cannot be used to reduce noise, workers should always use hearing protection devices (HPDs) when exposed to loud noise to prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Previous research has shown that workers do not always use HPDs when required; therefore, it is essential that workers assume personal responsibility for preventing NIHL by increasing their use of HPDs.
This study tested the effectiveness of an individually tailored multimedia intervention to increase use of HPDs by factory workers.
A randomized controlled design was used to compare the effects of a tailored intervention (n = 446) with two other interventions (a nontailored predictor-based intervention (n = 447) and a control intervention (n = 432)) on workers’ self-reported use of HPDs 6 to 18 months following the intervention.
Only those workers receiving the tailored intervention significantly increased their use of HPDs from pretest to posttest. However, this increase significantly differed from the nontailored group but not from the control group.
Individually-tailored interventions offer promise for changing behavior. In light of the similarity between the results for the tailored intervention and the control intervention groups, further research is needed to understand barriers to HPD use and how to maximize the benefits of individually tailored interventions in this setting.
Sally L. Lusk, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN, is Professor Emerita, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
David L. Ronis, PhD, MA, is Associate Research Scientist, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Health Services Research and Development Program, Department of Veterans Affairs, Ann Arbor.
Anamaria S. Kazanis, MA, is Research Associate, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Brenda L. Eakin, MS, is Research Associate, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
OiSaeng Hong, PhD, RN, is Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Delbert M. Raymond, MS, RN, is a doctoral student, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Accepted for publication June 11, 2003.
The project described was supported by Grant No. 2 RO1 NR 02050 from the National Institute of Nursing Research, Sally L. Lusk, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN, Principal Investigator. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NINR or NIH.
Corresponding author: Sally L. Lusk, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, 400 N. Ingalls, Room 3182, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0482.