Musician Earplugs: Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs, Behaviors, and Experiences Among Small Music Venue Workers
Music venue workers are frequently exposed to high levels of music without access to hi-fidelity (musician’s) hearing protection or hearing health education. The purpose of this study was to describe the changes in knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and experiences of small music venue workers before and after wearing high-fidelity musician’s earplugs at work for five work shifts. A modified pre-questionnaire and post-questionnaire were administered including the Youth Attitude to Noise Scale (YANS), the Beliefs About Hearing Protection and Hearing Loss Scale (BAHPHL), the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), and additional questions to ascertain further information regarding past sound exposure and hearing protector device (HPD) use. The post-questionnaire additionally included the Modified (HPD) Comfort Index that allowed participants to respond with regard to their experience wearing musicians’ earplugs. Thirty-two participants from three small music venues completed the pre-questionnaire and 24 completed the post-questionnaire. Participants were asked to wear a set of musicians’ ear plugs after completing the initial survey and watching a video that demonstrated proper fitting and use of the musician’s earplugs. For the modified YANS, a significant improvement was only observed in attitude towards daily noise (p = <0.0001*). For the BAHPHL, a significant improvement was observed in self-efficacy (p = 0.01). For the combined knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, beliefs, and experiences (KABBE) analysis, a significant improvement was observed for beliefs (p = 0.04) and behaviors (p = 0.01). A clinically significant reduction in self-reported tinnitus symptoms was observed for 36.4% of participants after hearing protector use during work exposures. ER-20 earplugs were scored as neither comfortable or uncomfortable on both the pre- and post-questionnaires. Overall these results suggest that the distribution of hi-fidelity earplugs accompanied by a brief HPD fitting video viewed on a smartphone to workers in small music venues is practical and results in significant improvements in worker attitudes towards daily noise, self-efficacy, beliefs, and behaviors related to hearing protector use and a clinicially significant decrease in self-reported tinnitus after five days of use.