Effectiveness of the Dangerous Decibels Program in Children from Military Families
There is a high prevalence of permanent hearing damage due to exposure to hazardous sound levels in many populations, including children (5.2 million between the ages of 6-19) and military members (88,285 reports of noise-induced hearing-related visits in active duty military members and disabilities of the auditory system being the third most common injury among veterans). Research has indicated that children are more likely to join the military if they have a parent who is/was in the military. Therefore, if children, specifically children from military families, can be informed about the risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and learn prevention strategies early, hearing loss due to hazardous noise may be prevented. The Dangerous Decibels® classroom program has been effective in changing the knowledge, attitudes, and intended behaviors related to hearing health and hearing loss prevention when delivered to children. The purpose of this study was to assess the relative effectiveness of an adapted Dangerous Decibels program in children from military families and non-military families. Adaptations, specifically the addition of military-related content, were supplemental to the traditional Dangerous Decibels classroom program. Fifty-three students from four, 4th grade classrooms were included in the study. Children from military families and children from non-military families were categorized into two experimental groups. All participants were trained in the Dangerous Decibels program in their regular classroom setting. Changes in knowledge, attitudes, and intended behaviors related to NIHL and hearing loss prevention were evaluated using pre, post, and 3-month follow-up surveys. There were no significant differences in knowledge, attitudes, and intended behaviors at any of the time points between children from military families and those not from military families. There were significant increases in knowledge, attitudes, and intended behaviors between baseline and the two subsequent time points when the population was measured as a whole. Positive changes in the three constructs from baseline to post, and post to follow-up demonstrate the effectiveness of the Dangerous Decibels classroom program in 4th grade children from military and non-military families.