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Is deaf or has serious difficulty hearing: Yes or no (person)

Codes and Frequencies

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DISHEARP reports whether had any trouble hearing what was said in normal conversation even when wearing a hearing aid in 1994 and 1995, or the person was deaf or had serious difficulty hearing in later years. Please see Comparability and Universe tabs for changes in universe and question wording between samples.


In 1994 and 1995, this variable is part of the Disability Supplement (NHIS-D) in 1994 and 1995 that collects information on disability. NHIS-D included two household interviews: in Phase I all members of sample families were screened for any indication of disability; in Phase II persons with any indication of disability were followed-up for additional information. Phase I includes sensory, communication, and mobility problems; health conditions; activities of daily living and independent activities of daily living; functional limitations; mental health; services and benefits; special health needs of children; early child development; education; relationship to respondent; and perceived disability. Phase II includes four Disability Followback Survey (DFS) questionnaires: one for children, one for adults, one for elderly persons (69 years of age and over) without any indication of disability (also called the Supplement on Aging or SOA; only in 1994), and one for persons with a history of polio.


Changes in universe and question wording affect comparability between samples.

In 1994 and 1995, this question reports whether the person has "any trouble hearing what is said in normal conversation (even when wearing a hearing aid)." This question was asked of all persons in the NHIS Disability supplement.

From 2008 on, this question is reported for all persons ages 1 and older who received the Family Disability questionnaire. In those years, DISHEARP reports or whether the person is deaf or has "serious difficulty hearing" even when wearing a hearing aid.

In 2008 this question was administered in a split-ballot test of Family Disability questions and is only available for Quarter 4. There are six disability questions in the test file that comprised one component of a larger testing effort to develop and adopt a standard set of disability questions to be used with multiple surveys across multiple countries. Changes in survey design (e.g. the quarters in which data are collected) affect raw frequencies but do not affect comparability between samples.

For more information, please refer to the User Note for disability.


  • 1994-1995: Persons in the NHIS-D Phase I sample.
  • 2008: Persons age 1+ in quarter 4 who received the family disability test questions (person administration)
  • 2009: Persons age 1+ who received the family disability test questions (person administration).
  • 2010: Persons age 1+ who received the Family Disability (FDB) section (and not the quality of life supplement).
  • 2011-2017: Persons age 1+ who were randomly selected to receive the Family Disability questions.


  • 1994-1995, 2008-2017