The term "hearing loss" denotes an impairment of hearing acuity which is commonly defined clinically as either organic or nonorganic loss. Since World War II, hearing clinics throughout the country have reported an increase in the number of nonorganic losses of psychogenic origin or malingering.
There are many apparent benefits to be derived by persons displaying a handicap in hearing acuity. A few of these might be enumerated as follows: exemption from military service, Veterans' Administration disability pensions, and workmen's compensation due to occupational trauma. Hearing loss as an explanation for abnormal behavior, academic deficiency, or as an "attention-getting" mechanism in children is not unusual. As more is done to compensate and benefit the acoustically handicapped person, hearing losses become more attractive to the potential malingerers and those with psychogenic hearing losses. The responsibility of detecting the person with this nonorganic loss falls to the otologist and/or the audiologist.
HARRIS DA. A Rapid and Simple Technique for the Detection of Nonorganic Hearing Loss. AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1958;68(6):758–760. doi:10.1001/archotol.1958.00730020782015
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.