Background: Few assessments have been conducted on the impact of a "Train-the-Trainer" (T3) approach for training delivery. The present study compared the effectiveness of a noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) prevention training delivered using "Train-the-Trainer" and expert trainer modalities.
Methods: Participating construction companies were assigned to the Train-the-Trainer or expert trainer modalities. Workers were recruited from each company and then trained. The effectiveness of the modalities was assessed through the use of surveys. The accuracy of self-reported hearing protection device (HPD) use was also evaluated through on-site observation.
Results: Post-training scores for hearing conservation knowledge, perceived barriers, and current and intended future use of HPDs improved significantly for both training modalities. Subjects trained by T3 trainers significantly increased their beliefs regarding general susceptibility to NIHL, desire to prevent NIHL, and ability to recognize, and control hazardous noise exposures. The expert-trained groups significantly increased their beliefs regarding the benefits of HPD use and ability to ask for help with HPDs. The only changes that were significantly different between modalities were in general susceptibility to NIHL and effective use of HPDs. However, these beliefs differed significantly between subjects in the two-modality groups prior to training. Self-reported HPD use was poorly correlated with observed use, calling into question the validity of survey-based HPD use measures in this context.
Conclusions: The training improved beliefs regarding HPD use, increased workers' hearing conservation knowledge, and increased self-reported HPD use. The effectiveness of the training was not found to be dependent on training modality.