Clinical Outcomes of the Hearing Questionnaire
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
Aims: This study investigated the participation restrictions associated with hearing impairment using a modified version of the Hearing Handicap Inventory termed the “Hearing Questionnaire”. The Hearing Questionnaire features updated terminology in keeping with the current guidelines from the World Health Organization (2001a). This study aims to determine the critical change score for a New Zealand population of experienced hearing aid wearers using the Hearing Questionnaire. The researcher hypothesised that there would be no significant change in the degree of perceived participation restrictions resulting from hearing impairment in a six-week interval between administrations of the Hearing Questionnaire.
Methodology: The sample population for this study consisted of 52 adults with hearing impairment that had been fitted with at least one hearing aid in the last two years. All participants were current clients of Bay Audiology, the largest distributer of hearing aids in New Zealand. Each participant received a mailed study packet which included the Hearing Questionnaire and a demographic questionnaire. Participants completed a second copy of the Hearing Questionnaire after a period of approximately six weeks. A paper-pencil administration method was chosen to reflect the most common mode of administration in New Zealand according to clinician reports. The researcher performed paired t-tests and correlational analysis to identify significant differences between the scores from multiple administrations of the Hearing Questionnaire. Partial correlational analysis was used to identify possible covariates from demographic information including gender, ethnicity, relationship status, income, level of education and working status. A Shapiro-Wilk test was used to test for normality of the sample population. Finally, the critical change score for the Hearing Questionnaire was calculated.
Results: No significant difference existed between the scores from the first and second administrations of the Hearing Questionnaire (t (51) = .63, p = .53). Scores for the first and second administrations were significantly positively correlated (r = .62; p < .000). The critical change score was 7.8 points based on a 95% confidence interval using the calculations described by Demorest and Walden (1984). No significant covariates were identified from the demographic information collected.
Conclusions: The degree of perceived participation restrictions associated with hearing impairment measured via the Hearing Questionnaire remains stable over a six-week period for experienced hearing aid users in New Zealand. While the critical change score for the Hearing Questionnaire is comparable to some versions of the Hearing Handicap Inventory the test-retest reliability of the Hearing Questionnaire is considerably poorer (Newman et al., 1991). The researcher concludes that refinements are required if the Hearing Questionnaire is to be used clinically in New Zealand. This study has highlighted a number of aspects of the Hearing Handicap Inventory that require updating and contributed to the collective knowledge available regarding experienced hearing aid users in New Zealand. Further research is needed to explore other potential uses of the Hearing Questionnaire such as a version for significant others as a proxy measure of participation restriction.