Data Cart

Your data extract

0 variables
0 samples
View Cart
Amount of trouble with hearing

Codes and Frequencies

Can't find the category you are looking for? Try the Detailed codes


For all sample persons over age 55 in 1984 and sample persons 18 years of age and older in 2010-2017, this variable indicates the amount of trouble with hearing, categorized into three levels: "No trouble," "Little trouble," or "Lot of trouble." Beginning in 2018, this item was included on the sample adult questionnaire and asked of all sample adults.
For respondents who indicated they used a hearing aid, the interviewer included the phrase, "with your hearing aid."


The Field Representative's Manual did not provide examples or definition of "little" or "lot" of trouble, thus these terms are respondent-defined.

Quality of Life/ Functioning and Disability Supplement 

Beginning in 2010, the Quality of Life/Functioning and Disability supplement was fielded to sample adults, to develop and test improved measures of functioning. According to the 2010 NHIS Survey Description, this element of the survey was "part of a partnership with the Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG) and the Budapest Initiative on the Measurement of Health State (BI)." Other disability questions developed by the WG and BI groups were included in the NHIS beginning in 2008. More information on the WB and BI efforts are available on the Internet.

In addition to covering hearing, the supplement asked about difficulty with vision, mobility, self-care, learning, cognition, communication, fatigue, pain, and emotions (anxiety and depression). Persons acknowledging difficulty in these areas were asked follow-up questions regarding the degree of difficulty, use of assistive devices, and functioning with assistance.

Study on Aging 

In 1984 the supplement on aging was asked of all nondeleted persons in the family 65 years or older and of a sample of nondeleted persons in the family 55 through 64 years of age. The field representative's manual for 1984 defines a hearing aid as "a compact amplifier worn to aid one's hearing. Do not include devices not worn by the person, such as phone amplifiers, etc.".

Related Variables

Other variables related to hearing are available in the 1984 survey.


These include:

"Hears most things people say, with hearing aid" (HRMOSTSAID), and (HRFEWORDS) whether the respondent hears only few words (with hearing aid).

Sample adults who answered no difficulty, some difficulty, or a lot of difficulty to HRPROBAMT in the Quality of Life supplement were asked a number of follow-up questions.


The variables based on these other follow-up questions include:

  • HRAUSESQOL Uses hearing aid (quality of life supplement)
  • HRAFREQ Frequency wearing hearing aid, past 12 months
  • HRDIFCONV1QR How difficult to hear conversation with 1 person in quiet room
  • HRDIFCONV1NR How difficult to hear conversations with 1 person in noisy room


Aside from the change in universe and response categories, there are no comparability problems with HRPROBAMT. Beginning in 2018, this item was included on the sample adult questionnaire. As always, users should employ the prescribed IPUMS NHIS weights.


  • 1984: Sample persons age 55+.
  • 2010: One quarter of sample adults included in the quality of life supplement (and excluded from the family disability section).
  • 2011: Sample adults 18+ who were selected to receive the family disability questions (FDB).
  • 2012-2017: Sample adults 18+ who were selected to receive the family disability questions (FDB) and were randomly selected to receive the Functioning and Disability (AFD) section.
  • 2018: Sample adults aged 18 and older.


  • 1984, 2010-2018