First Advisor

Deanna K. Meinke

First Committee Member

Diane Erdbruegger

Second Committee Member

Erinn Jimmerson

Degree Name

Doctor of Audiology

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Date Created


Embargo Date



The prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) among youth in farming communities is a pressing issue, primarily due to prolonged exposure to loud farm environments. Effective health communication techniques that focus on education and NIHL prevention are essential to convey critical health messages to young individuals in agricultural communities. The Dangerous Decibels program employs these techniques, emphasizing the identification of hazardous noises, understanding the consequences of noise overexposure, and promoting hearing protection measures. It is crucial to acknowledge that the effectiveness of health communication messages can vary among different social groups, necessitating a tailored program to effectively inform young individuals in agriculture about the risks of loud noise exposure and protective measures. This customized approach draws parallels with successful adaptations of the program for youth firearm users and military families and holds significant potential for the well-being of farm youth.

The adaptations to the Dangerous Decibels program for youth in farming communities have been thoughtfully crafted to retain the program's core content, module structure, and associated learning activities. The modified Dangerous Decibels program for farm youth incorporates several alterations throughout its modules, including the emphasis on presenters with ties to the farming community, the introduction of the concept of acoustic trauma relevant to firearm use, simulation of high-frequency hearing loss using additional farm-related sounds, addressing noise exposure risks specific to agriculture, providing information on electronic hearing protection devices, and adapting scenarios to better relate to the social pressures and stigma faced by young individuals engaged in farming. These adaptations are strategically implemented to align with the needs and experiences of youth in the farming community while upholding the core objectives of the program.

The adapted Dangerous Decibels program necessitates a strategic approach to dissemination, with a focus on reaching young individuals in farming communities through agricultural organizations and events. Overcoming challenges, such as establishing connections with relevant organizations and addressing potential reluctance to endorse hearing health initiatives, is crucial. Future directions involve evaluating the program's effectiveness through questionnaires to assess its impact on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, thereby providing insights into its potential success among youth in farming communities.

Abstract Format



Communication Sciences and Disorders


121 pages

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.

Available for download on Friday, November 01, 2024