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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 78  |  Page : 237--244

Hearing in young adults. Part I: The effects of attitudes and beliefs toward noise, hearing loss, and hearing protector devices


1 Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
2 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
3 Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium ; Department of Communication Pathology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Hannah Keppler
De Pintelaan 185, 2P1, Ghent - 9000, Belgium

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Source of Support: Hannah Keppler was funded through an Aspirant Scholarship of the Research Foundation, Flanders (FWO), Belgium, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.165024

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There is great concern regarding the development of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in youth caused by high sound levels during various leisure activities. Health-orientated behavior of young adults might be linked to the beliefs and attitudes toward noise, hearing loss, and hearing protector devices (HPDs). The objective of the current study was to evaluate the effects of attitudes and beliefs toward noise, hearing loss, and HPDs on young adults' hearing status. A questionnaire and an audiological test battery were completed by 163 subjects (aged 18-30 years). The questionnaire contained the Youth Attitude to Noise Scale (YANS) and Beliefs about Hearing Protection and Hearing Loss (BAHPHL). A more positive attitude or belief represented an attitude where noise or hearing loss is seen as unproblematic and attitudes and beliefs regarding HPDs is worse. Hearing was evaluated using (high frequency) pure tone audiometry (PTA), transient evoked and distortion product otoacoustic emissions. First, mean differences in hearing between the groups with different attitudes and beliefs were evaluated using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Second, a χ2 test was used to examine the usage of HPDs by the different groups with different attitudes and beliefs. Young adults with a positive attitude had significantly more deteriorated hearing and used HPDs less than the other subjects. Hearing conservation programs (HCPs) for young adults should provide information and knowledge regarding noise, hearing loss, and HPDs. Barriers wearing HPDs should especially be discussed. Further, those campaigns should focus on self-experienced hearing related symptoms that might serve as triggers for attitudinal and behavioral changes.






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