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Hears whisper across room

Codes and Frequencies

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HRWHISP reports whether the sample person can hear or understand what another person says without seeing his or her face if that person WHISPERS 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. See the "universe" option for full description of these differences.


HRWHISP 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.
  • 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.
  • 1999: Sample adults age 18+ who are not deaf but have a little or a lot of trouble hearing.
  • 2007: Sample adults age 18+ who have other than excellent hearing or whose hearing status is unknown.


  • 1971, 1977, 1990-1991, 1999, 2007