The Auditory Behavior in Everyday Life (ABEL) questionnaire was developed to assess parental perceptions of their children's auditory behavior. The original 49-item questionnaire was intended to assess auditory communication, environmental awareness, functional independence, and social/ communication skills. Our goal was to capture some of the changes in children's everyday auditory behavior in a reliable and easily quantifiable manner. Parents of 28 children aged 4 to 14 years with varying degrees of hearing loss (mild-profound) completed the questionnaire. The results were used to examine the reliability and factor structure of the questionnaire. Eleven items had poor item-total correlations. After these items were removed, the questionnaire had an overall reliability of 0.94 (Cronbach's alpha), and three factors accounted for 20.5% of the variance in the data. In a pilot investigation of the ABEL to determine its appropriateness for children with cochlear implants, questionnaires were also given to a separate group of parents of seven children aged 3 to 12 years who were about to receive a cochlear implant. Questionnaire and speech perception results were obtained preimplant and at 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months. Complete (6 visits) or near-complete (4 visits) results were obtained for four children. There were significant improvements over time for both speech perception and questionnaire ratings and there was significant agreement between the two measures. Overall the results indicate excellent reliability and validity of the ABEL questionnaire. Our intent was to develop a simple, quick tool for parents to rate children's auditory skills in everyday life. A shorter questionnaire can be achieved by eliminating items with the poorest reliability and factor loadings. The resultant 24-item ABEL questionnaire has an excellent overall reliability of 0.95. The items fall within three factors, "Aural-oral," "Auditory Awareness," and "Social/Conversational Skills." Children's auditory behavior can be assessed using an overall rating or separately for the three factors. Further research is needed to evaluate this short version of the questionnaire in children wearing hearing aids and cochlear implants.