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.