A Hearing Conservation Program for Wisconsin Youth Working in Agriculture


  • This study was funded in part by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Cooperative Agreement #UO7/CCU507126-05 and the National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield, Wisc.


ABSTRACT: Adolescents working in agricultural settings may be exposed to noise levels that result in hearing loss. The article describes the design, implementation, and results of a four-year, hearing conservation program (HCP) conducted at school. Thirty-four schools (753 students) were randomly assigned to either an intervention or control group. The intervention included multicomponent educational strategies and employed features of an industrial HCP. Final compliance surveys indicated 87.5% of intervention students reported using hearing protection devices (HPD) at least some of the time, compared to 45% of control students. The HCP components with the greatest reported influence were distribution of HPDs for use on the farm and yearly hearing tests. Eighty percent of intervention students reported intention to use HPDs in the future. It is feasible to conduct a hearing conservation program with junior high school and senior high school students, and it appears possible to persuade teen-agers to protect themselves from exposure to loud noise while working on a farm.