Noise Health. 2016 Nov-Dec;18(85):368-375. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.195803.
PURPOSE: Although farm operators have frequent exposure to hazardous noise and high rates of noise-induced hearing loss, they have low use of hearing protection devices (HPDs). Women represent about one-third of farm operators, and their numbers are climbing. However, among published studies examining use of HPDs in this worker group, none have examined gender-related differences. The purpose of this study was to examine gender-related differences in use of hearing protection and related predictors among farm operators.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data previously collected at farm shows and by telephone were analyzed using t-tests and generalized linear model with zero inflated negative binomial (ZINB) distribution.
FINDINGS: The difference in rate of hearing protector use between men and women farm operators was not significant. There was no difference between men and women in most hearing protector-related attitudes and beliefs.
CONCLUSION: Although men and women farm operators had similar rates of use of hearing protectors when working in high-noise environments, attitudes about HPD use differed. Specifically, interpersonal role modeling was a predictor of HPD use among women, but not for men. This difference suggests that while farm operators of both genders may benefit from interventions designed to reduce barriers to HPD use (e.g., difficulty communicating with co-workers and hearing warning sounds), farm women have unique needs in relation to cognitive-perceptual factors that predict HPD use. Women farm operators may lack role models for use of HPDs (e.g., in peers and advertising), contributing to their less frequent use of protection.