Technology & Workforce Learning
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is problem that has the potential to affect everyone. Whether the noise be occupational or recreational, the exposure to noise has the ability to cause harm. Baby boomers and members of Generation-X have been exposed to this noise for decades. Effects of NIHL are being felt at younger ages than previous generations, largely in part because of technology. Millennials have the ability to be exposed to noise constantly. Millennials are more vulnerable than any other generations because they don’t know life without it.
There is no doubt that younger generations are more dependent on technology, but where is the line drawn between making life simpler and harming your health? If a millennial employee only protects their hearing at work, it leaves 16 hours available where exposures are unregulated and hearing is unprotected. As members of this generation enter the workforce, they will do so the potential for more hearing loss than any other generation had for their age. Hearing loss, among other communication barriers will lead to reduced productivity and as well as an increase in the stereotypes that widen the generational gap. The way that companies present employee training and hearing conservation methods will undoubtedly change to include education about recreational noise exposures. Increased knowledge through proper education and training about NIHL can potentially protect the hearing of millions of people, particularly the millennial generation and those to come. The proposed study will examine the potential effects of NIHL as it becomes more prevalent within the Millennials population and their performance as they enter the all aspects of the workforce.
With research results from the proposed study, employers, employees and the general public will be able to benefit from the findings. The subjects of this proposed mixed methods study will be selected from Pittsburg State University by completing a screening process. A sequential exploratory mixed methods design will be used to collect data on the severity of personal noise exposures of the subjects in this study. For quantitative analysis, a survey instrument using Likert scale questions will be used to collect data on the subject’s perception of NIHL and their listening habits. The qualitative analysis will be drawn from 10 of the 100 survey respondents to further explain the phenomenon found in the quantitative analysis through observations and interviews regarding the respondents’ listening habits. The fact that Millennials are entering the workforce with a significant hearing loss is already known. The methods of noise mitigation and training against noise exposures in use and recognized today by OSHA and industry standards will have to change to reduce potential litigation and address hearing related performance expectations in the workforce.