Introduction An important goal of any health promotion effort is to have it maintained in delivery and effectiveness over time. The purpose of this study was to establish a community-based noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus prevention program in three different types of American Indian communities and evaluate them for evidence of long-term sustainability. Methods The target population was fourth- and fifth-grade students from three different models of American Indian communities. The evidenced-based Dangerous Decibels® program was adapted to include local media, classroom education, family and community outreach, and web-based activities. Sustainability was attempted by promoting funding stability, political support, partnerships, organizational capacity, program adaptation, program evaluation, communications, public health impacts, and strategic planning. Results Currently, there is evidence suggesting that the hearing health promotion program is self-sustaining in all three American Indian communities. The intervention was effective at changing knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in the target population, but program adoption and self-sustenance faced challenges that required patience, persistence, and creativity by the program team. Components of the intervention continue to be delivered by local members of each community. Conclusions Critical factors that led to self-sustaining programs included approval of community leaders and engagement of community members in the design, administration, and evaluation of the effort; use of a well-developed, evidence-based intervention; and high-level training of local participants who could confidently and effectively continue delivering the program following a gradual transition to independence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health