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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 24  |  Page : 75--84

Does the presentation of audiometric test data have a positive effect on the perceptions of workplace noise and noise exposure avoidance?

1 National Acoustic Laboratories, Chatswood, Australia
2 New England Area Health Service, Tamworth, NSW, Australia

Correspondence Address:
W Williams
National Acoustic Laboratories, 126 Greville Street, Chatswood, NSW 2067
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 15703143

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Research and 'common knowledge' has for many years accepted that education and feedback supplied to individuals during and immediately after workplace health assessments provides valuable information to workers about their health. Further, if more relevant and detailed information could be supplied then awareness and preventative action may increase proportionately. This research carried out with a rural Australian population has shown that preventative action did not increase in proportion to a corresponding increase in the amount and variety of information provided in connection with hearing health status. Two research groups underwent hearing tests, both with pure tone audiometry (PTA) while the second group also underwent otoacoustic emission (OAE) testing. Test results were presented to the subjects at the conclusion of their test session. An analysis of questionnaire responses at six week and twelve months follow up showed that more information did not result in increased preventative action. Barriers seem to exist such that individuals feel that they are not able to effectively act to reduce overall noise exposure. While self-efficacy initially increased, it declined to close to its initial value over the longer period. Other measures such as perceived susceptibility to hearing loss and the benefits of exposure reduction significantly increased and remained at the same increased level after twelve months. So, while overall awareness of noise and the risks of exposure were increased after both types of hearing test there was no increased hearing health benefit due to additional testing and hearing information.


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