Factors associated with the accuracy of subjective assessments of hearing impairment

Ear Hear. 2015 Jan;36(1):164-7. doi: 10.1097/AUD.0000000000000075.


Objectives: Self-reported hearing impairment is often used to gauge objective hearing loss in both clinical settings and research studies. The aim of this study was to examine whether demographic factors affect the accuracy of subjective, self-reported hearing in older adults.

Design: We examined 3557 participants aged 50 and older in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey cycles 1999-2006 and 2009-2010. We examined the relationship between objective and subjective hearing impairment using percent correct classification and misclassification bias in analyses stratified by gender, age group, race/ethnicity, and education.

Results: We found that younger participants tended to overestimate and older participants underestimate their hearing impairment. Older women, blacks, and Hispanics were less accurate in self-reporting than their respective younger age groups.

Conclusions: The association between subjective and objective hearing differs across gender, age, race/ethnicity, and education, and this observation should be considered by clinicians and researchers employing self-reported hearing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone*
  • Audiometry, Speech*
  • Black or African American
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / diagnosis*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Self Report*
  • Sex Factors
  • White People