Hearing conservation campaigns for adolescents: visibility and effects reported by university students

Invited paper

Annelies Bockstael

Ghent University

Tuesday 2 june, 2015, 08:40 - 09:00

0.4 Brussels (189)

Concern is growing that the prolonged exposure to various sources of electronically amplified music increases the risk of leisure time noise- induced hearing loss (NIHL). In this regard, (young) adolescents are an especially vulnerable group because they often participate in leisure time activities where music is played at higher amplitude levels. To prevent NIHL in this age group, several Flemish organizations and legal institutions have conducted campaigns to raise awareness and to promote adequate hearing conservation behaviour. These campaigns are communicated through the regular media such as television and radio, but also via social network sites. However, teenagers and young adolescents might not be the most easy group to persuade of safe and sensible behaviour, especially when this applies to positively appreciated activities involving music. The current study aims to investigate the benefits of seven recent hearing conservation campaigns by focusing on three outcome parameters, (1) the visibility of the campaigns among adolescents, (2) the factional knowledge of adolescents in preventing NIHL, and (3) their reported behaviour with respect to hearing conservation. To address these questions, a comprehensive written survey has been conducted at the start of the academical year among 477 Flemish university students between 18 and 20 years old. To include differences in backgrounds and personal interest, the participants come from three different disciplines, namely social, natural, and medical sciences. The first results show that 60.6 % of the participants had already heard of at least one hearing conservation campaign. In this group, more hearing problems are reported together with generally more concern about hearing loss. The effect of familiarity with hearing conservation campaigns on factual knowledge is not very distinct. By contrast, familiarity with campaigns has a significantly positive effect on the reported use of personal hearing protection.

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