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Predictors of use of hearing protection among a representative sample of farmers



Farmers experience higher rates of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) than workers in most other industries. We developed a model of farmers' use of hearing protection, and tested it with a random sample (n = 532) of farmers from the upper Midwest. Barriers to using hearing protection (e.g., difficulty communicating; OR = .44, p < .003) were negatively related to use. Greater access/availability of hearing protectors (OR = 1.75, p < .010) and male gender (OR = .43, p < .019) were positively related to use. The model correctly predicted use of hearing protection for 74% of the cases. Overall, farmers demonstrated low hearing protector use, and results were similar to those from previous studies of non-farm workers. Findings from this study will be useful in designing interventions to increase farmers' hearing protector use and decrease their rates of NIHL. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 33:528–538, 2010