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Codes and Frequencies

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This variable indicates whether the respondent (or anyone in the respondent's family for 1971 and 1977) ever used or wore a hearing aid, even if they did not currently use a hearing aid.


From 1997 forward, the question for HRAEV was followed by a question on the respondent's quality of hearing without hearing aid (HEARING).
The HEARING variable description also provides a list of other hearing related variables available.

Related Variables

Other variables related to hearing aids and devices are included in the survey.


These include:

  • currently uses a hearing aid (HRAUSES, 1971, 1977, 1979-1980, 1984, 1990, 1991, 2007-2009)
  • frequency of wearing hearing aid, past 12 months (HRAFREQ 2002, 2007)
  • uses an assistive listening device (see HRALDUSE for full list of devices); 1990, 2007)

For 2007 only, affirmative answers to HRAEV were also followed by

  • How long used hearing aid (now use) (HRANOWLNG)
  • Hearing aid ever recommended (never used) (HRAREC)
  • How long hearing aid used in the past (HRAPASTLNG)
  • How often used hearing aid in the past
  • Why not use hearing aid (see HRANOHELP for full list of reasons)

Other variables available for children from the 2002 survey include age at beginning of adult's hearing loss (HEARDAAGE) and frequency wearing hearing aid, past 12 months (HRAFREQ).


In addition to the changes in the universe the question wording changed slightly, but this change should not substantially affect comparison of responses. For 1971, 1977 and from 2007 forward, the question asked whether the respondent (or family member) ever used a hearing aid; the 1997 to 2006 surveys asked if they had ever worn a hearing aid.

A greater concern for comparing over time is the use of proxy reporting in the 1971 and 1977, and not from 1997 forward. In the two earlier surveys, a respondent representing the family (a proxy) answered the question for HRAEV for other family members. From 1997 forward, except in rare cases where disability precluded self-reporting, sample adults answered the question themselves. Because self-reporting is likely to be more accurate than proxy reporting, researchers should exercise caution when comparing results over time.


  • 1971; 1977: Persons who are deaf in one or both ears or had any other trouble hearing with one or both ears or use a hearing aid.
  • 1997-2001: Sample adults age 18+.
  • 2002: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children under age 18.
  • 2003-2006: Sample adults age 18+.
  • 2007-2018: Sample adults age 18+ who do not currently use a hearing aid or for whom it was unknown whether they currently use a hearing aid.


  • 1971, 1977, 1997-2018