The hearing handicap inventory for the elderly: a new tool

Ear Hear. May-Jun 1982;3(3):128-34. doi: 10.1097/00003446-198205000-00006.


This report describes the development and standardization of the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly (HHIE). This self-assessment tool is designed to assess the effects of hearing impairment on the emotional and social adjustment of elderly people. The inventory is comprised of two subscales: a 13-item subscale explores the emotional consequences of hearing impairment; a 12-item subscale explores both social and situational effects. The inventory was administered to 100 elderly subjects (mean age = 75 years) with hearing threshold levels in the better ear ranging from normal to severe. The reliability of the HHIE was evaluated by assessing its internal consistency through the computation of Chronbach's alpha. Alpha values ranged from 0.88 (social/situational subscale) to 0.95 for the entire inventory. Split-half reliabilities were equally high. The validity of the HHIE was not directly evaluated. Certain aspects of the data, however, support the construct validity of the instrument, while analysis of the questions themselves appears to attest to its content validity. Possible uses of the inventory were described and suggestions were made regarding future research on the instrument. The reliability and validity of the HHIE as well as its brevity, simplicity, and ease of administration and interpretation all recommend its use in assessing hearing handicap in the elderly.

MeSH terms

  • Aged / psychology*
  • Audiometry
  • Emotions
  • Hearing Disorders / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Methods
  • Social Behavior