Comparison of self-reported and audiometrically-measured hearing loss in the Australian Defence Force

Int J Audiol. 2012 Apr;51(4):294-8. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2011.625981. Epub 2011 Dec 12.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between self-reported and audiometrically-measured hearing loss in a sample of Australian Defence Force personnel.

Design: Responses to a question regarding hearing problems were compared with contemporaneous audiometric data.

Study sample: 3335 members of the Australian Defence Force for whom anonymised medical records were available.

Results: The sensitivity of self-report data to identify higher-frequency hearing loss was lower than sensitivity at other frequencies, and positive predictive values were moderate to poor at all frequencies. Performance characteristics of self-report compared with audiometric data also varied with age, sex, and rank.

Conclusions: While self-report hearing loss data have good performance characteristics for estimating prevalence of hearing loss as defined by audiometric criteria, this study indicates that the usefulness of self-report data in identifying individuals with hearing loss may be limited in this population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Audiometry*
  • Auditory Threshold
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / diagnosis*
  • Hearing Loss / epidemiology
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Self Report*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity