Tribal Community-based Prevention of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Tinnitus

In partnership with OHSU Department of Public Health, Center for Healthy Communities –  CDC-funded Prevention Research Center (1U48DP001937)  and the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board.

The Goal

  • Reduce the incidence of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus in northwest tribal communities.  We work with Northwest tribal communities to create a sustainable hearing health program that is within the social, cultural, and practical requirements of their communities.  We hope that including the whole community in learning about hearing health, it will help the children retain their new found knowledge, attitudes, and intended behaviors regarding their hearing.
  • The project is called Listen for Life.

Development and Adaptation

  • Meeting with tribal advisors, the Dangerous Decibels classroom program was reviewed to find anything that needed revision to make it more culturally relevant. The few changes were made – examples of loud sounds – before presentation in the schools.


  • Dangerous Decibels classroom presentation to 4th and 5th grade students, plus online activities (Dangerous Decibels Virtual Exhibit).
  • An evening event for student’s families and the whole community to learn ways to protect hearing throughout life.  The students help to tell their families what they have learned.
  • Media Campaign
    • Local radio station PSA’a were developed and broadcast to inform listeners about ways to protect hearing and facts about noise-induced hearing loss.
    • Local newspaper articles about hearing loss with tribal members will be run in tribal newspapers.
    • In addition, ad space was purchased with information on protecting hearing and to advertise the community event.
    • YouTube videos were made for the first two communities involved with the project. They can be viewed on the tribal website and on YouTube. Right Click - Video 1 and Video 2.


-  Baseline, post-intervention, and follow-up surveys are being used in the schools to assess changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to hearing health.

Sustainability: Training and Scholarship

  • Our hope is that the communities we work with will adopt this program as their own to teach hearing loss prevention.
  • Through our scholarship program, tribal members have been invited to attend Dangerous Decibels Educator Training Workshops to learn how to present the classroom program.  Two members on the first community have been trained and continue to work with us on the project.