Efficacy of technology-based interventions to increase the use of hearing protections among adolescent farmworkers

Objective: Adolescent farmworkers are exposed to loud noise during farm activities. We present a prospective study that evaluated the efficacy of low-cost, technology-based intervention approaches in high schools to enhance the use of hearing protection among adolescent farmworkers. Design: Six high schools in Iowa that agreed to participate in the study were divided into three equal groups through cluster-randomisation with each group receiving one of the three formats of hearing protection intervention: (a) classroom training, (b) classroom training coupled with smartphone app training and (c) computer training. Participants completed baseline (pre-training) and six-week post-intervention surveys for assessing hearing protection knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. Study Sample: Seventy participants from six schools were initially enrolled but 50 completed both pre- and post-intervention surveys. Results: In most cases, all three groups showed significant improvement in hearing protection knowledge, attitude and frequency of use from pre- to post-intervention. However, changes between groups were statistically non-significant. Conclusions: Although all three formats led to improvements on hearing protection knowledge, attitude and behaviour, the findings of the study, perhaps due to the small sample size, did not allow us to detect whether technology-based hearing protection interventions were more effective than the traditional face-to-face training for adolescent farmworkers.