Two common screening tools for detecting hearing loss, the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly-Screening Version (HHIE-S) and Audioscope, are compared. One hundred eighty-five consecutive patients over age 60 at a primary care clinic received both screening tests followed by pure tone audiometry. Three criteria for hearing loss was considered: Speech Frequency Pure Tone Average > or = 25 dB; High Frequency Pure Tone Average > or = 25 dB; and Ventry and Weinstein's criteria of a 40 dB loss at 1.0 or 2.0 kHz. Ranges of respective operating characteristics for the Audioscope versus the HHIE-S were: sensitivities 0.64 to 0.96 versus 0.29 to 0.63; specificities 0.80 to 0.91 versus 0.75 to 0.93; and positive likelihood ratios 4.86 to 7.52 versus 2.42 to 4.27. Most patients preferred screening with the Audioscope (60%) over the HHIE-S (13%). The Audioscope is preferred by patients, and outperforms the HHIE-S using a variety of reference standard definitions.
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