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Codes and Frequencies

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HRAUSES reports whether the person now uses a hearing aid. Please see Comparability and Universe tabs for information on changes in the universe between samples.

NHIS Disability Supplement 

In 1994 and 1995 this variable is part of the Disability Supplement (NHIS-D) 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.

The Washington Group on Disability Statistics 

In 2019, functioning and disability measures included on the NHIS questionnaire were modified to align with validated, internationally-comparable disability measures developed by the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG). For more information about the WG initiative, other WG functioning and disability measures included on the NHIS questionnaire, and guidance for researchers about how to use the WG measures in analyses, please see our user note on the Washington Group Disability Measures.


HRAUSES is not completely comparable over time. The universe includes all persons in 1971, 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1991. In 1984, the universe includes sample persons ages 55 and older. In 1990, the universe includes persons whose household respondent did not refuse to complete the assistive devices supplement. In 1994 and 1995, the universe includes persons in the National Health Interview Survey-Disability Survey (NHIS-D) Phase I sample. From 2007-2018, the universe includes sample adults ages 18 and older. From 2019 forward, the universe includes sample adults ages 18 and older and sample children ages 2 to 17.

In 1990, persons coded "Not mentioned" include those for whom it was unknown whether he or she used any assistive device for hearing problems. To identify those persons, please see HRALDUSE (Uses assistive device for hearing impairment).

In addition to the changes in universe noted in the Universe tab, the presence of proxy reporting somewhat reduces comparability. In 1971, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1990, and 1991, a respondent representing the family could answer this question for other family members. In 1984 and 2007 forward, except in rare cases where disability precluded self-reporting, sample persons themselves answered the question. Because self-reporting is likely to be more accurate than proxy reporting, researchers should exercise caution when comparing results between different years.

Changes in the universe may affect raw frequencies, but do not affect comparability of the variable. As always, data users should use the prescribed NHIS weights.

The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.


  • 1971; 1977; 1991: All persons.
  • 1979-1980: All persons.
  • 1984: Sample persons age 55+.
  • 1990: Persons whose household respondent did not refuse the assistive devices questionnaire.
  • 1994-1995: Persons in the NHIS-D Phase I sample.
  • 2007-2018: Sample adults age 18+.
  • 2019-2022: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children age 2 to 17.


  • 1971, 1977, 1979-1980, 1984, 1990-1991, 1994-1995, 2007-2022