Codes and Frequencies
HRGALSCAL provides responses to the questions used for the Gallaudet Hearing Scale, an assessment of the degree to which someone hears and understands speech at various volume levels (from a whisper to a shout), without a hearing aid. The interviewer asked an ordered list of up to four questions to determine the extent of hearing disability. When a respondent answered "yes" to a question, that question indicated the magnitude of the disability and interviewer did not proceed with the subsequent levels of disability. For example, if a respondent said they could not hear a whisper but answered "yes", they could understand a normal voice, then their HRGALSCAL recode would be "20," understands a normal voice.
For all years, if the respondent had reported that he or she used or ever used a hearing aid. then the interviewer included the phrase "without a hearing aid" when asking the questions associated with hearing scale.
In 1990 and 1991, respondents who answered "No" to all four of the questions were recoded as "54," "Cannot hear and understand speech."
The four questions of the Gallaudet Hearing Scale consistently asked over time are included in the survey.
- Can hear and understand someone who whispers from across a quiet room (HRWHISP, 1971, 1977, 1990-1991, 1999, 2007)
- Can hear and understand someone (without seeing his face) who talks in a normal voice from across a quiet room (HRTALK 1971, 1977, 1990-1991, 1999, 2007)
- Can hear and understand someone (without seeing his face) who shouts from across a quiet room (HRSHOUT 1971, 1977, 1990-1991, 1999, 2007)
- Can hear and understand if someone speaks loudly in the "better ear" from across a quiet room (HRSPEAK, 1971, 1977, 1990-1991, 1999, 2007)
In 1970 and 1971, questions on the ability to distinguish speech from other sounds were also included in the scale (HRTELLSPECH , can tell speech from other sounds; HRLOUDNOIS, can hear loud noise; andHRTELLNOIS, can tell one noise from another).
These were dropped from the survey in 1990 and 1991.
Other hearing related variables for the years which HRGALSCAL is available are included in the survey.
- Quality of hearing in left ear, without hearing aid (HRLEFT, 1971, 1977, 1990-1991, 1999, 2007-2008)
- Quality of hearing in right ear, without hearing aid (HRRIGHT, 1971, 1977, 1990-1991, 1999, 2007-2008)
For a full list of hearing related variables see (HEARING, 1997-2009), quality of hearing.
The IPUMS NHIS provides the responses for each of the Gallaudet Hearing Scale Questions so that researchers can use the questions to recode responses according to their research purposes. Although three questions were dropped from the 1990 and 1991 survey, the remaining four listed above are comparable over time.
Researchers should note that proxy reporting was used in all survey years for HRGALSCAL. In other words, a respondent representing the family could answer this question for other adult family members. Because self-reporting is likely to be more accurate than proxy reporting, researchers should exercise caution when comparing results over time.
- 1971; 1990: Persons age 3+ who are deaf in one or both ears, or have other trouble hearing with one or both ears, or use a hearing aid.
- 1977; 1991: Persons age 3+ with hearing problems.
- 1971, 1977, 1990-1991
- 1971, 1977, 1990-1991 : PERWEIGHT