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Article

Evaluation of the HearWell Pilot Program: A Participatory Total Worker Health® Approach to Hearing Conservation

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Department of Public Health Sciences, UConn School of Medicine, Farmington, CT 06030, USA
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Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, UConn School of Medicine, Farmington, CT 06030, USA
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Department of Health Sciences, Springfield College, Springfield, MA 01109, USA
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Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA
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Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sara L. Tamers, L. Casey Chosewood and Jessica Streit
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9529; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189529
Received: 28 June 2021 / Revised: 2 September 2021 / Accepted: 2 September 2021 / Published: 10 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker Safety, Health, and Well-Being in the USA)
Our objective was to pilot test HearWell, an intervention created to preserve hearing among highway maintainers, by using a participatory Total Worker Health® (TWH) approach to designing, implementing and evaluating interventions. Regional maintenance garages were randomized to control (n = 6); HearWell (n = 4) or HearWell Design Team (n = 2) arms. Maintainer representatives from the HearWell Design Team garages identified barriers to hearing health and collaborated to design interventions including a safety leadership training for managers, a noise hazard management scheme to identify noise levels and indicate the hearing protection device (HPD) needed, and a comprehensive HearWell training video and protocol. These worker-designed interventions, after manager input, were delivered to the HearWell Design Team and the HearWell garages. Control garages received standard industry hearing conservation training. Periodic surveys of workers in all 12 garages collected information on the frequency of HPD use and a new hearing climate measure to evaluate changes in behaviors and attitudes over the study period and following interventions. An intention-to-treat approach was utilized; differences and trends in group HPD use and hearing climate were analyzed using a mixed-effects model to account for repeated measures from individual participants. The HearWell Design Team maintainers reported the highest frequency of HPD use. Hearing climate improved in each group 6 months following intervention implementation, with the largest increase and highest value for the HearWell Design Team workers. The HearWell pilot intervention showed promising results in improving HPD use through a participatory TWH approach to hearing conservation. Furthermore, results suggest that employee participation in hearing conservation programs may be necessary for maximal effectiveness. View Full-Text
Keywords: Total Worker Health; hearing conservation; hearing protection device; safety climate Total Worker Health; hearing conservation; hearing protection device; safety climate
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cavallari, J.M.; Suleiman, A.O.; Garza, J.L.; Namazi, S.; Dugan, A.G.; Henning, R.A.; Punnett, L. Evaluation of the HearWell Pilot Program: A Participatory Total Worker Health® Approach to Hearing Conservation. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 9529. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189529

AMA Style

Cavallari JM, Suleiman AO, Garza JL, Namazi S, Dugan AG, Henning RA, Punnett L. Evaluation of the HearWell Pilot Program: A Participatory Total Worker Health® Approach to Hearing Conservation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(18):9529. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189529

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cavallari, Jennifer M., Adekemi O. Suleiman, Jennifer L. Garza, Sara Namazi, Alicia G. Dugan, Robert A. Henning, and Laura Punnett. 2021. "Evaluation of the HearWell Pilot Program: A Participatory Total Worker Health® Approach to Hearing Conservation" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 18: 9529. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189529

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