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Used assistive-listening device

Codes and Frequencies

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This variable indicates whether the person uses adaptive device(s) for the deaf and hard of hearing. Please see Comparability and Universe tabs for information on changes in universe and question wording between samples.


The 1990 survey question provided examples of adaptive devices as a "hearing aid, a special telephone, or other special equipment for hearing problems." In the 2007 survey text, examples of assistive devices included "FM systems, closed-caption television, or amplified telephone or relay services."

Related Variables

In 1990 and 2007, respondents who gave affirmative answers were asked to specify the type of device used. The types of devices asked about in the interviews varied over time.


These other variables include:

  • a hearing aid (HRAUSES, 1990, 1994, 1995)


  • a telephone for deaf people in which a keyboard is used to send printed messages (TDD) or a teletype (TTY) (HRALDTTY 1990, 1994, 1995, 2007)


  • an amplified telephone (HRALDPHONE, 1994, 1995, 2007)




  • a headset or CCTV (HRALDCCTV, 1994, 1995, 2007)


  • a sign language interpreter (HRALDASL, 1994, 1995, 2007)



  • other special equipment (HRALDOTHER, 1990, 1994, 1995, 2007)



In 1990, this question was asked for each person in the respondent's household (among respondents who did not refuse the assistive devices supplement).

In 2007, this question was asked of those whose hearing was not excellent or good (HEARING is not "1" or "2") or if HEARING was good, but they heard worse in one ear (HRWORSE is "2"). Respondents who gave affirmative answers were asked to specify the type of device used.

In addition to the changes in the question wording and response categories, as described above, the use of proxy reporting in 1990, but not in 2007, may also reduce comparability. In 1990, a respondent representing the family (a proxy) answered the question for HRALDUSE for other family members. For 2007, 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.


  • 1990: Persons whose household respondent did not refuse the assistive devices questionnaire.
  • 2007: Sample adults age 18+ whose hearing is not excellent or good, or who reported good hearing, but hear worse in one ear than the other.


  • 1990, 2007