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01-06-2013 | Uitgave 5/2013

Quality of Life Research 5/2013

The Hearing Handicap Inventory for Elderly-Screening (HHIE-S) versus a single question: reliability, validity, and relations with quality of life measures in the elderly community, Japan

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 5/2013
Kimiko Tomioka, Hiroki Ikeda, Kaoru Hanaie, Masayuki Morikawa, Junko Iwamoto, Nozomi Okamoto, Keigo Saeki, Norio Kurumatani



Little is known about the usefulness of the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly-Screening (HHIE-S) and a single question (SQ) in assessing hearing impairment (HI) and the impact of HI on quality of life (QOL). The objective of this study was to examine the reliability, validity, and associations with QOL measures (i.e., subjective well-being, depressive symptoms, subjective loneliness, and physical functioning) of the HHIE-S and the SQ in the elderly community.


A self-report questionnaire including HHIE-S, SQ, Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale, Geriatric Depression Scale, UCLA Loneliness Scale, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology Index of Competence was administered to community elderly (781 males and 950 females). Among them, 97 males and 100 females also responded voluntarily to a request for test–retest and auditory tests. The criterion validity was tested by using pure-tone averages.


Regarding the reliability of HHIE-S, Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was 0.91, Spearman–Brown coefficient was 0.90, and intra-class correlation coefficient was 0.85. Regarding the test–retest reliability of SQ, kappa coefficient was 0.65. HHIE-S had significantly lower sensitivity in identifying >25-dB HI, but significantly higher specificity for the detection of >40-dB HI than SQ. HHIE-S had stronger associations with QOL measures than did SQ.


HHIE-S had high reliability, while SQ had insufficient reliability. HHIE-S was more specific in detecting HI and more sensitive in assessing the impact of HI on QOL than SQ. HHIE-S is a more effective instrument for assessing HI and QOL research than SQ in the elderly community.

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