Development of the hearing protection assessment (HPA-2) questionnaire
Background Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) remains an important occupational health issue as the second most commonly self-reported occupational injury or illness. The incorrect and inconsistent use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) compromises their effectiveness in preventing NIHL.
Aims To describe the development of an easily administered yet robust questionnaire to investigate factors that influence HPD use.
Methods A hearing protection assessment (HPA-2) questionnaire was developed using items based on themes identified in our previous research. These fell into two classes: supports and barriers to wearing HPD, which formed two scales within the questionnaire. The questionnaire, which also included demographic items, was administered to workers from 34 manufacturing companies. The internal consistency of the scales was tested, and factor analysis was conducted to investigate the underlying structure of the scales.
Results Of the 1053 questionnaires distributed, 555 completed questionnaires were received giving a response rate of 53%. The Cronbach’s alpha for the barriers scale (α = 0.740) and supports scale (α = 0.771) indicated strong internal reliability of the questionnaire. The supports and barriers were further described as five key factors (risk justification, HPD constraints, hazard recognition, behaviour motivation and safety culture) that influence hearing protection behaviour. Workers who reported always using HPDs had more supports across these factors, while those who did not always wear HPDs reported more barriers.
Conclusions The HPA-2 questionnaire may be useful in both research and interventions to understand and motivate hearing protection behaviour by identifying and targeting supports and barriers to HPD use at different levels of the ecological model.