The contribution of focus groups in the evaluation of hearing conservation program (HCP) effectiveness.
Prince-MM; Colligan-MJ; Stephenson-CM; Bischoff-BJ
J Saf Res 2004 Jan; 35(1):91-106
Problem: Exclusive reliance on such practices as policy review, audiometric testing audits, and noise surveillance to evaluate the effectiveness of workplace hearing conservation programs (HCP) fails to capture the impact of these programs as experienced by workers at the "shop floor" and offers little insight into the reasons and potential remedies for noted deficiencies. Methods: A qualitative approach for evaluating industrial HCPs (and their various components) is discussed using three industrial populations as case studies. For each study population, this paper illustrates how focus groups, comprised of line workers and supervisors, were used to clarify and augment information gathered through more traditional program assessments to provide a more enriched picture of hearing conservation practices. Descriptive data on plant hearing conservation program practices at each plant are presented with a comparison of proactive elements of each program relative to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hearing Conservation Amendment (HCA) requirement and to internal plant policy. Results: Yearly program evaluation with input from all end-users is important in the process of hearing loss prevention. The qualitative assessment outlined in this paper serves as a basis for future quantitative assessments of HCP effectiveness using hearing threshold data and noise exposure assessments to examine changes in hearing levels as a function of noise exposure and other risk factors for hearing loss.
Noise-exposure; Noise-control; Noise; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Noise-measurement; Hearing-conservation; Hearing-impairment; Hearing-disorders; Hearing-loss; Hearing-protection; Hearing
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 4676 Colombia Parkway, MSR 16, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Disease and Injury: Hearing Loss
Journal of Safety Research