October 2011 – Tara Rachakonda, MD of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, is working on developing a unique hearing-related quality of life assessment for adolescents with hearing loss, the Hearing Environments and Reflection on Quality of Life Questionnaire, or the HEAR-QL. Dr. Rachakonda is the 2011-2012 recipient of the American Hearing Research Foundation Wiley H. Harrison Memorial Research Grant.
The rate of hearing loss in adolescents has increased over the past decade. Currently there are no hearing-related quality of life (QOL) assessments tailored for adolescents. Having an adolescent-specific QOL questionnaire regarding hearing loss will help identify challenges faced by this group, and will assist clinicians measure the effectiveness of their therapies for this age group.
The HEAR-QL was developed at the Washington University School of Medicine by conducting focus groups with pediatric patients with hearing loss and their families to uncover their specific concerns. In her study, Dr. Rachakonda plans to test the validity and reliability of the HEAR-QL questionnaire by comparing the instrument with other surveys, including a generic health-related quality of life tool.