Purpose: To report the development of user-defined, multidimensional, psychometrically sound Quality of Life questionnaires – Impact of Hearing Loss on Children – IHL-C 69 and Brief IHL-C for children with hearing loss, in two languages -Tamil and English.
Methods: 421 problem statements from previous qualitative studies were reduced to a 220-item questionnaire with 7 domains (educational implications, social integration, psycho-social well-being, speech, language and communication, family relationships, leisure time activities and general functioning). After field testing, the domain of leisure time activities was dropped, resulting in a 103-item self-administered questionnaire with 6 domains. This 103-item questionnaire was translated from Tamil to English, and self-administered by children with hearing loss (11-18 years of age) in Special schools (n=100) and Integrated schools (n=100), as well as by normal controls in Integrated schools (n=200). Standard methods were used for item reduction and to evaluate psychometric properties.
Results: Psychometric item reduction produced the 69-item IHL-C69 (long version) and 48- item Brief IHL-C (brief version) questionnaires. Psychometric evaluation showed that all the domains of both the questionnaires had good acceptability, high internal consistency (alpha >0.80; intrinsic validity >0.80) and test-retest reliability (0.86).The questionnaires significantly distinguished between the children with hearing loss and the normal controls. The domains of both the questionnaires showed moderate evidence of convergent validity, and discriminant validity derived through hypotheses testing showed mixed results. The translation validity was also determined.
Conclusion: The IHL-C 69 and Brief IHL-C are reliable and valid user-defined, multidimensional questionnaires, available for the first time in both Tamil and English languagesin Tamil Nadu, India. Designed to analyse the impact of hearing loss and to determine the quality of life of children with hearing loss, the questionnaires could be used to prioritise the goals for rehabilitation intervention for these children.