Hearing Health Education Programs and Smartphone Apps to Promote Hearing Conservation in Teenagers

January 10, 2023
Jolie Chang, MD

A team including researchers from the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF OHNS) assess the impact of a video-based hearing health education program in high school students. They developed a smartphone application to monitor daily noise doses from headphone use.

The team, led by first author Jolie Chang, MD, of UCSF OHNS, share their findings in "A smartphone application and education program for hearing health promotion in high school teenagers." The work was published in The Laryngoscope.

The authors assessed knowledge retention and measured headphone listening behavior change after 76 teenagers participated in the video-based hearing health education and hearing screening sessions. Of the participants, 83% identified as a racial or ethnic minority and 66% were of low-income socioeconomic status from two public high schools in San Francisco.

The results showed that hearing health knowledge was retained in students and was improved in their parents.

"Video-based hearing health education with knowledge question reinforcement was associated with knowledge retention in students and improved parental attitudes and knowledge about hearing conservation," write the authors.

Over the six weeks of the study, 12 of the students also used a novel smartphone application that measured daily noise exposure via headphones and displayed alerts when cumulative daily doses of noise neared the maximum. The smartphone app offered a real-time display of noise exposure dose and identified at-risk students. Users of the app significantly reduced average daily headphone noise doses with reduced time spent at the highest volume settings.

"The integration of hearing health education, hearing screening and digital health tools has promise to promote positive behavior changes for long-term hearing conservation," concluded Dr. Chang et al.

Dr. Chang is an Associate Professor and the Chief of the Division of Sleep Surgery and General Otolaryngology at UCSF OHNS. Additional researchers from the department include senior author Steven Cheung, MD, and Jennifer Henderson Sabes, AuD, Camille Huwyler, MD, and Norimasa Yoshida, MEng.

Read more research and news from UCSF OHNS.