Date of Degree

5-2015

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Au.D.

Program

Audiology

Advisor

Adrienne Rubinstein

Subject Categories

Speech Pathology and Audiology

Abstract

Previous research has shown that prolonged exposure to noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Noise levels at Orthodox Jewish weddings can reach extremely high and damaging levels, yet the hearing conservation attitudes and behaviors of the attendees are unknown. The objective of this study is to identify the attitudes and behaviors of Orthodox Jewish wedding attendees toward hearing conservation. The major questions are: 1. What are the sound exposure levels at Orthodox Jewish weddings? 2. Do attendees hold positive attitudes toward the need for hearing conservation at Orthodox Jewish weddings? 3. What hearing conservation is being practiced at weddings among Orthodox Jewish attendees? 4. Is there an association between hearing conservation practice and age? 5. Is there an association between hearing conservation practice and gender?

Noise measurements were conducted using the Casella CEL-35X dBadge dosimeter at three Orthodox Jewish weddings in the New York-New Jersey area. The data was analyzed using supplied software with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) protocols and definitions. The results revealed that the noise dose at each wedding exceeded NIOSH recommendations, suggesting hazardous levels of noise exposure.

A survey was developed and administered at five Orthodox Jewish weddings in the New York-New Jersey area and in Toronto, Canada. Participants were asked to respond to a series of items addressing hearing conservation attitudes and behaviors. The results showed that the majority of participants believe hearing protection is necessary at weddings. However, the survey responses revealed limited practice of hearing conservation at weddings. In fact, only a small percentage of participants reported protecting their hearing with earplugs at weddings. The associations between age, as well as gender, and hearing conservation attitudes and behaviors were investigated. Chi square analysis revealed a significant effect for age on hearing conservation attitudes and behaviors; however, the practical differences in reported behavior between 18-30 year olds and 30+ year olds appear to be minor. No significant gender effect was revealed. Future efforts to promote hearing conservation at Orthodox Jewish weddings should focus on increasing earplug usage, as this is one of the most effective healthy hearing conservation behaviors, yet according to our study, the least practiced.

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