Analysis of data from the International Outcome Inventory for Hearing Aids (IOI-HA) using Bayesian Item Response Theory

Arne Leijon, Harvey Dillon, Louise Hickson, Martin Kinkel, Sophia E. Kramer, Peter Nordqvist

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IOI-HA response data are conventionally analysed assuming that the ordinal responses have interval-scale properties. This study critically considers this assumption and compares the conventional approach with a method using Item Response Theory (IRT).

A Bayesian IRT analysis model was implemented and applied to several IOI-HA data sets.

Study sample
Anonymised IOI-HA responses from 13273 adult users of one or two hearing aids in 11 data sets using the Australian English, Dutch, German and Swedish versions of the IOI-HA.

The raw ordinal responses to IOI-HA items do not represent values on interval scales. Using the conventional rating sum as an overall score introduces a scale error corresponding to about 10 − 15% of the true standard deviation in the population. Some interesting and statistically credible differences were demonstrated among the included data sets.

It is questionable to apply conventional statistical measures like mean, variance, t-tests, etc., on the raw IOI-HA ratings. It is recommended to apply only nonparametric statistical test methods for comparisons of IOI-HA results between groups. The scale error can sometimes cause incorrect conclusions when individual results are compared. The IRT approach is recommended for analysis of individual results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Early online date11 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2020


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