Developing a Questionnaire to Assess Noise Exposure in Children and Teens
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Speech and Hearing Science Honors Theses; 2007
Until recently, children and teenagers were not thought to be an at-risk population for noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). As MP3 players have grown in popularity, there has been an increased awareness of possible noise exposure and hearing loss in children and teens. NIHL is a cumulative hearing loss that is due to repeated exposure to noise. Concerns about NIHL in children and teens are raised due to the opportunities for noise exposure that they may encounter in their daily environments. Children and teens can be exposed to potentially dangerous levels of noise during activities at school, part-time work, recreational activities, and even household chores (e.g. musical instruments, lawn mowers, dirt bikes, and vacuums). The need to identify, diagnose, and treat hearing loss, as close to the onset is crucial, especially for children. Hearing loss in children and teens impacts their speech perception, learning, self-image, and social skills. NIHL is virtually 100 percent preventable; therefore identifying any risk of NIHL as early as possible can stop its progression and severity. The present study attempts to develop a questionnaire to help identify children and teens at highest risk for NIHL. Mandated hearing screenings in schools provide an opportunity to reach those at risk. A noise exposure questionnaire may be a useful companion tool for the hearing screenings. Research about questionnaire development was completed to determine what survey format would be most effective. Items on the questionnaire were selected based on research regarding current concerns of NIHL and sources of noise exposure in children and teens. Five experts in the field of hearing conservation reviewed the questionnaire to address face validity. Comments provided by the experts were taken into consideration and the questionnaire was revised. In the future, a field trial of the questionnaire should be completed in order to correlate the results of the questionnaire to behavioral audiometric test results.
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