The significance of image and identity in predicting students’ noise exposure risk-taking behaviours in music settings.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: Exposure to harmful noise-levels in high-volume music venues is a common occurrence for many young people, having the potential to cause serious hearing difficulties later in life. Previous research has highlighted that an awareness of the risks of attending such venues is often not enough to encourage young people to protect their hearing, implying the presence of other factors which are preventing them from engaging in hearing protective behaviours. Aims: To explore the role of image and identity in whether or not students choose to wear Hearing Protection Devices. Methods & Procedures: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with four students aged 18-23 years of age. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse the data. Outcomes & Results: There were four main issues identified which prevent the wearing of Hearing Protections Devices: lack of awareness of the risks of attending high-volume venues; low perceived impact of hearing loss on quality of life; impact of wearing earplugs on enjoyment; and impact of wearing earplugs on image and fitting in. With regards to image and fitting in, wearing earplugs was considered to be not normal behaviour and to imply unattractive personality traits. Conclusions & Implications: It is possible that even if the issues of awareness were addressed, and that there consequently was an increase in the willingness to sacrifice enjoyment, behaviour change would still not occur due to the issue of image and fitting in. Media campaigns and education in schools are therefore needed to address not only awareness but also the acceptability of wearing earplugs in high-volume venues.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy