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Difficulty hearing (Washington group)

Codes and Frequencies

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Explore how IPUMS created this variable


      class Wghear:public Editor {

    Wghear(VarPointer varInfo) : Editor(varInfo) {}
    void edit() {

        long a = getRecoded();
        switch (dataSet) {
        case dataset_id::tt2011a:
			if (TT2011A_0424() == 2 && TT2011A_0432() == 9)
                a = 1;
			if (TT2011A_0424() == 9 && TT2011A_0432() == 9)
                a = 8;




WGHEAR indicates the person's level of difficulty in hearing, even if using a hearing aid.

Comparability — Index


Comparability — General

The coding structure in WGHEAR follows recommendations from the United Nations Washington Group on Disability Statistics, which developed a set questions to assess degrees of functional difficulty across a range of basic activities. The questions aim to circumvent the stigma and ambiguity often associated with traditional yes-no questions on disability, which are harder to interpret with respect to expectations of functionality.

The Washington Group proposes a framework that identifies four levels of difficulty. Some countries deviate from the recommended four levels. The country specific comparability sections describe how these alternative scales are interpreted and harmonized into WGHEAR.

The information on the traditional (yes/no) questions to report a disability in the form of the inability to hear or limited hearing is available in DISDEAF.

Comparability — Brazil [top]

Brazil uses the recommended Washington Group categorizations of difficulty.

Comparability — Indonesia [top]

The 2010 sample uses a 3-level scale: no difficulty, slight difficulty, and severe difficulty. In WGHEAR, slight difficulty is interpreted as "some difficulty" and severe is harmonized into "cannot do at all" (even though it likely includes those individuals with "a lot of difficulty"). More details are available in the enumeration instructions for Indonesia 2010.

Comparability — Zambia [top]

In 2000, WGHEAR is constructed from separate questions about partial or complete loss of hearing. Persons who indicated both a partial and a complete loss of hearing are classified as "cannot do at all", which may overestimate the difficulty level for some respondents.

Comparability — Zimbabwe [top]

In 2012, the census asks two questions concerning deafness and difficulty hearing. Persons who have difficulty hearing are classified as "some difficulty", while those with deafness are harmonized into "cannot do at all".


  • Brazil 2000: All persons
  • Brazil 2010: All persons
  • Indonesia 2010: Persons in regular enumeration areas
  • Mauritius 2011: All persons
  • Morocco 2014: All persons
  • Myanmar 2014: All persons
  • Senegal 2013: Residents age 1+ in ordinary households
  • South Africa 2011: Persons in private households
  • South Africa 2016: Persons age 5+
  • Suriname 2012: All persons
  • Tanzania 2012: All persons
  • Trinidad and Tobago 2011: Persons in private households living in Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uganda 2014: Persons age 2+
  • Uruguay 2011: All persons
  • Vietnam 2009: Persons age 5+
  • Zambia 2000: All persons
  • Zimbabwe 2012: All persons


  • Brazil: 2000, 2010
  • Indonesia: 2010
  • Mauritius: 2011
  • Morocco: 2014
  • Myanmar: 2014
  • Senegal: 2013
  • South Africa: 2011, 2016
  • Suriname: 2012
  • Tanzania: 2012
  • Trinidad and Tobago: 2011
  • Uganda: 2014
  • Uruguay: 2011
  • Vietnam: 2009
  • Zambia: 2000
  • Zimbabwe: 2012