The accuracy of self-report in identifying individuals with hearing impairment was evaluated in 1988 in 267 women from rural Iowa. Using pure-tone threshold audiometry as the standard, self-reported hearing loss was a sensitive and specific indicator of measured losses of 40 decibel hearing level for pure-tone averages of either 1,000 and 2,000 Hz or 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 and 4,000 Hz (sensitivities, 90% and 84%; specificities, 71% and 75%, respectively). Predictive values positive were low (28% and 42%) in this population where hearing loss prevalence was 11-18%, but would be increased to acceptable levels in populations with a prevalence of approximately 30%.
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