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HEARING LOSS PREVENTION

sound waves, ear

Inputs: NIOSH Strategic Goals

The NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Program has developed strategic goals to guide NIOSH's research and partnership efforts related to preventing occupational hearing loss. Hearing loss was previously one of the NIOSH priority topic areas established to guide research efforts, and under NORA it continues to be the focus of intramural and extramural research efforts. The application of strategic goals takes this approach a step further by identifying specific outcomes that we want to target, performance measures for evaluating progress in meeting outcome goals, and intermediate goals to describe the necessary steps that need to be performed to accomplish each strategic goal. Setting goals is challenging because:

  • It forces us to focus on a subgroup of issues where we think NIOSH can make an impact: a long list would spread our resources too thin to accomplish the goals. Not every worthwhile topic can be included.
  • It is difficult to develop performance measures. Available injury statistics have limitations, and exposure and health outcome measures are typically not available.
  • It is ambitious for NIOSH to set goals to achieve outcomes such as a national reduction in work-related hearing loss. Because NIOSH is a research agency, we typically have an indirect rather than a direct influence on outcomes. As such, stakeholder partnerships have proven to be especially useful in translating NIOSH research into outcomes.

NIOSH Program Portfolio Approach

NIOSH has been organizing research, guidance, information, and service efforts into specific programs that can be readily communicated and strategically governed and evaluated. Ten Sector Programs represent industrial sectors, and twenty-four Cross-sector Programs are organized around adverse health outcomes, statutory programs and global efforts.

The Sector Programs intersect with Cross-Sector Programs in a matrix-like fashion. For example, an Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program goal of reducing farm-related deaths and injuries due to tractor rollovers and trucks would likely be a shared goal with the Transportation Program and if appropriate would be adopted by both programs. This approach provides an added advantage and will allow multiple Programs to work towards accomplishment of intersecting goals.

Each of the 34 programs in the NIOSH Program Portfolio has a Manager and Coordinator. Each of the 10 NIOSH Sector Programs facilitates the work of a NORA Sector Council to engage external stakeholders in the process of developing sector goals for the nation and methods to measure the short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes arising from those goals. The NORA goals for the nation will be considered when choosing NIOSH sector program goals. Cross Sector programs have internal Steering Committees that develop program goals and monitor outcome measures.

These planning efforts will position NIOSH to align with the most current governmental approaches for evaluating program effectiveness, i.e., the Program Assessment Rating Tool (or PART). PART is a mechanism to hold governmental agencies accountable for accomplishing results. As part of our comprehensive approach to performance measurement, NIOSH has engaged the National Academies to independently evaluate our sector and cross-programs for relevance and impact.

The Hearing Loss Prevention Program was among the first programs selected by NIOSH to be reviewed by the National Academies. The results of this review were released in September, 2006. For additional information about the NA review of this Program and the NIOSH input to the NA review, go to the following websites:
http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/projectview.aspx?key=210
 http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/nas/hlr/

Hearing Loss Prevention Program Strategic Goals for Intramural Research

Currently, the NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Program strategic goals are:

Strategic Goal 1: Improve surveillance.

Strategic Goal 2: Reduce noise emission levels from equipment.

Strategic Goal 3: Develop hearing protector technology.

Strategic Goal 4: Develop best practices for hearing loss prevention programs.

Strategic Goal 5: Identify hearing loss risk factors.

Strategic Goal 6: Develop updated hearing damage risk criteria that are predictive of hearing thresholds resultant from noise exposures incurred during youth and adolescence as well as adulthood.

Hearing Loss Prevention Program Priority Strategic Goals for Extramural Research

The NIOSH Hearing Loss Prevention Program selected the following as priority goals that are particularly suited for extramural research during fiscal years 2014-16:

Strategic Goal 2: Reduce noise emission levels from equipment.

Strategic Goal 3: Develop hearing protector technology.

Strategic Goal 4: Develop best practices for hearing loss prevention programs.

Strategic Goal 6: Develop updated hearing damage risk criteria that are predictive of hearing thresholds resultant from noise exposures incurred during youth and adolescence as well as adulthood.

Those seeking NIOSH grants to conduct studies related to the Hearing Loss Prevention Program can view the current funding opportunities.

NIOSH is interested in your opinions about the relevance and value of strategic goals for the Hearing Loss Prevention Program. We encourage you to consider partnering with us on issues of interest to you and your organization.

 

 
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  • Page last reviewed: September 25, 2013
  • Page last updated: September 25, 2013
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