The contribution of focus groups in evaluation of hearing conservation program (HCP) effectiveness.
Proceedings: Best Practices in Hearing Loss Prevention, October 28, 1999, Detroit, Michigan. Washington, DC: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1999 Oct; :18-20
My talk today will focus on: (1) the context of a larger research study, (2) focus groups as a research and evaluation tool, and (3) how we use focus groups in this ongoing study at NIOSH. I would like to recognize the researchers, including my coauthors on this paper, Michael Colligan and Raymond Sinclair. I would also like to mention B.J. Bishoff, who conducted the focus groups. The purpose of our study is to identify factors associated with effective hearing conservation program practices and also to develop indicators to measure effectiveness. Briefly, the study includes three noise exposed groups whose data will be compared to other low noise exposed reference populations. We are trying to identify audiometric data sources that have a large number of low noise exposed employees to do the comparison. In general, the study systematically evaluates each component of a hearing conservation program using data collected according to the OSHA Hearing Conservation Amendment to the Noise Standard. A checklist scores programs as proactive or compliant. I will discuss this checklist later and how we use this in the study with focus groups. We collect data from multiple sources from company records including noise exposure, audiometric data, according to company policy/procedures, training programs, and management practices. We also are collecting training materials, doing one-on-one interviews with trainers using an evaluation checklist, and conducting focus groups. Formal surveys can be used as well as employees. People often wonder why formal surveys are not the only tool used for evaluation. Most people want to put a survey in the mail and get employee feedback. This quote sums up why qualitative research is important.
Hearing-conservation; Noise-exposure; Audiometry; Qualitative-analysis; Occupational-exposure; Hearing-loss; Hearing-protection; Noise-induced-hearing-loss
Proceedings: best practices in hearing loss prevention, October 28, 1999, Detroit, Michigan