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Personal listening devices and the prevention of noise induced hearing loss in children: The cheers for ears pilot program

14 Jun 2013

Dunay Schmulian Taljaard, Natalie F Leishman, Robert H Eikelboom

Noise and Health 2013 15(65):261-268

To determine whether the Cheers for Ears Program on noise induced hearing loss prevention was effective in improving current knowledge of noise impact of personal listening devices on hearing, and in changing self-reported listening behavior of primary school students aged between 9 years and 13 years. A survey study was implemented at participating primary schools. Schools represented various levels of socio-economic status. Informed consent (parents and teachers) and informed assent (pupils) were obtained. All pupils participated in two interactive sessions (the second 6 weeks after first) and only those who provided assent and consent were surveyed at three points during the study: Prior to the first session (baseline), directly post-session and at 3 months post-session. A total of 318 pupils were surveyed. The median age of the participants was 11 years (nearly 50% of the total cohort). Significant changes are reported in their knowledge about hearing and in listening behavior of the participants as measured by pre- and post-measurement. The changes in behaviors were stable and sustained at 3 months post-intervention survey point and the success of the program can be attributed to the multimodal interactive nature of the sessions, the spacing of the sessions and the survey points. Wide-ranging support from schools and departments also played a role. The pilot Cheers for Ears Program is effective in increasing knowledge on the harmful effects of noise and therefore, it may prevent future noise-induced hearing loss.

15 June 2013

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