Codes and Frequencies
HRTALK reports whether the sample person can hear and understand what another person says without seeing his or her face if that person TALKS IN A NORMAL VOICE to the sample person from across a quiet room.
This question was asked to adults whose hearing is not excellent and who indicated their hearing was worse in one ear than the other, could not hear whispering, normal, or shouting voices, or hearing condition was unknown in 2007. In 1999, it was asked of adults who are not deaf but could not hearing shouting voices from across a room. In 1971, 1977, 1990, and 1991, it was asked of persons age 3 and over who are deaf in one or both ears, or have other trouble hearing or use a hearing aid, and who, without a hearing aid, cannot hear a whisper, a normal voice, or a shout across a room. Please refer to the "universe" tab for full description of these differences.
This variable is part of the Hearing Supplement in 1971, 1977, 1990, and 1991 and is part of the Sample Adult Questionnaire in 1999 and 2007, which provides unique information on hearing conditions. For related variables and more information about these supplements, please use the IPUMS NHIS search function and drop-down menus.
HRTALK is not completely comparable over time. Apart from changes in the universe, substantial changes in the question wording occurred in 2007 when the survey did not include the text "without a hearing aid" in the question.
The presence of proxy reporting in 1971, 1977, 1990-1991 but not in the 1999 and 2007 surveys also somewhat reduces comparability. In the earlier years, a respondent representing the family could answer this question for other adult family members. From 1999 forward, except in rare cases where disability precluded self-reporting, sample adults themselves answered the question. Because self-reporting is likely to be more accurate than proxy reporting, researchers should exercise caution when comparing results between the earlier years and 1999 forward.
- 1971 1977: 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, and who, without a hearing aid, cannot hear a whisper across a quiet room (or for whom it was unknown whether they could hear a whisper across a room).
- 1990-1991: Persons age 3+ who are now deaf in one or both ears, or now have other trouble hearing with one or both ears, or now use a hearing aid, and who, without a hearing aid, cannot hear a whisper across a quiet room (or for whom it was unknown whether they could hear a whisper across a room).
- 1999: Sample adults age 18+ who are not deaf but have a little or lot of trouble hearing and who do not report hearing whispering voices.
- 2007: Sample adults age 18+ who have other than excellent hearing or whose hearing status is unknown AND who can't hear whispering voices or refused/don't know whether they can hear whispering voices.
- 1971, 1977, 1990-1991, 1999, 2007