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ABR/Auditory Brainstem Response:  A non-invasive test that measures responses in the brainwaves to auditory stimuli.  This test can indicate whether or not sound is being detected, even in an infant.  This test may also be called BAER, BSEP, and BSER.


Accommodations:  Services or equipment to which a student with a disability is legally entitled to receive for the provision of an appropriate and equal education.


Acoustics:  Pertaining to sound, the sense of hearing, or the science of sound.  Often used to refer to the quality of the sound/listening environment.


Acoustically Modified Earmolds:  Specifically shaped earmolds that help shape the frequency response and change the output of the hearing aid.  An example is the Libby Horn, which improves high-frequency hearing aid response.


Acquired Hearing Loss:  Hearing loss which is not present at birth.  Sometimes referred to as adventitious loss.


Advocacy:  Refers to the role parents or guardians play in developing and monitoring their child’s educational program.  Advocating for your child means knowing what rights are assured you by law and actively participating in the decision-making process to ensure that the services are delivered in line with your goals for your child’s development and education.


Aided Thresholds:  Represented by an “A” on the audiogram, aided thresholds are the softest loudness levels that a person can hear tones while wearing hearing aids in a sound booth.


Air Conduction:  Sounds that travel through the air from a sound source, such as an earphone or loud speaker, to the ear canal, eardrum, middle ear, and inner ear before reaching the brain.  Air conduction thresholds are represented by an “O” for the right ear and an “X” for the left ear on the audiogram.


Ambient Noise:  Background noise that competes with the main speech signal.


American Sign Language (ASL):  ASL is a complex, visual language that has its own syntax and grammatical rules.  It includes manual signs that convey meanings, fingerspelling, eye movements, facial expressions (referred to as “facial grammar”), and body posture.  ASL is not a form of English.


Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA):  A law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, including deaf and hard of hearing individuals.  The four sections of this law cover employment, government, public accommodations, and telecommunication.


Amplification:  The use of hearing aids and other electronic devices to increase the loudness of sounds/speech so that they may be more easily heard.


Analog Hearing Aids:  Conventional hearing aids that are adjusted to the child’s hearing loss by using a screwdriver to turn the tiny controls in the “trimpot” of the hearing aid.  Analog hearing aids are the oldest type of hearing aid still in use.


Assistive Listening Device (ALD):  Amplification system designed specifically to help people hear better in a variety of difficult listening situations.


Assistive Technology:  Devices and systems, such as TTY’s or visual alert systems, which improve communication and enhance the listening environment.


Atonal:  Refers to voice quality that lack traditional musical tonality or harmonics.


Atresia:  Absence or complete closure of the ear canal, causing a conductive hearing loss.


Attenuation:  Reduction or decrease in loudness to make a sound softer or quieter.  


Audibility:  The ability to hear the sounds of spoken speech, but not necessarily being able to tell one speech sound from another.


Audiogram:  A graph on which a person’s ability to hear different pitches (frequencies) at different loudness levels (decibels) of sound is recorded.


Audiological Assessment:  A hearing test, including pure tones thresholds, middle ear function, speech recognition, and speech discrimination measurements, which shows the type and degree of hearing loss.  The test can also assess how well a child is hearing with amplification.


Audiologist:  A person who holds a degree and license in audiology and is a specialist in testing hearing.


Audiometer:  An instrument that produces calibrated pure-tone or speech stimuli for the assessment of hearing levels.


Auditory Nerve:  The eighth (VIII) cranial nerve composed of the auditory and vestibular branches that carry auditory signals from the nerves in the inner ear to the brain.


Auditory Neuropathy:  A central hearing disorder where sound transmitted from the inner ear to the brain is impaired, causing difficulty understanding speech clearly.  Hearing loss can range from mild to severe, or be within normal limits.  Even when a person with auditory neuropathy can hear sounds, he/she will have difficulty hearing speech clearly.


Auditory-Oral (AO):  The auditory-oral method of teaching spoken language stresses the use of amplified residual hearing (through hearing aids or cochlear implant), speech, and oral language development.  Some programs use a multi-sensory approach (hearing, vision, touch) while others use a uni-sensory approach (hearing only) without the benefit of speech reading.  Both approaches teach children to talk through listening without using a formal sign system.

Auditory System:  Refers to the entire structure and function of the ear.


Auditory Training:  The process of training a person to use his residual hearing, including awareness, identification, and interpretation of sound.


Auditory-Verbal (AV):  The auditory-verbal method, much like the auditory-oral method, relies on the principle that children with any degree of hearing loss deserve the opportunity to learn to listen and talk in the mainstream community.  Parents are involved in conducting the therapy jointly with the AV therapist.  The emphasis is learning to listen without the use of speech reading or a sign system and encourages spoken language development during play.


Aural Habilitation:  Training designed to help a person with hearing loss to make productive use of residual hearing.  It can include training in speech reading.


Baby Sign:  Young children who are hearing do not say all their words correctly, but use baby talk (“ootie” means “cookie”).  Young children who are using sign do not make the signs correctly, but use baby signs (one finger on the chin instead of five fingers to sign “mother”).


Behavioral Observation Audiometry:  An audiologist assesses a young child’s behavioral response to sound by observation of behavior, such as changes in facial expression.


Bilateral Hearing Loss:  Hearing loss of any degree in both ears.  It may not be an equal (symmetrical) loss in both ears.


Bilingual/Bicultural (Bi-Bi):  Being fluent in two languages and being part of two cultures (ASL and English).


Binaural Hearing Amplification:  Hearing aids worn on both ears.


Body Aids:  Amplification units worn on the body instead of the ear.  Primarily used in special situations where behind-the-ear hearing aids cannot be worn.


Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA):  A bone conduction hearing aid that uses a sound processor and an implant that is surgically placed (“anchored”) in the bone behind the ear.


Bone Conduction:  Sound received through the bones of the skull.


Central Auditory Processing Disorder:  Difficulty with the perception or understanding of sounds.  Primary source of problem is in the central auditory nervous system (brainstem or auditory cortex), but not necessarily the peripheral hearing system (outer, middle, or inner ear).


Cerumen:  Earwax.  An oily substance found in the outer ear canal that can sometimes harden and become impacted.  If it blocks the ear canal, it can reduce the transmission of sound.


Children’s Special Health Services (CSHS):  A program to help children, from birth to 21 years of age, get medical treatment for specific chronic medical conditions, including hearing loss.  Families must meet financial and medical eligibility requirements.  Information about CSHS can be obtained by calling (800) 762-9891.


Chronological/Adjusted Age:  Chronological is how old the infant or child is, based on date of birth.  It is referred to when comparing one child to another child born at the same time.  If a baby is born prematurely, his/her development may be measured by the adjusted age, which takes into account the time between the premature birth and the actual due date of the full-term pregnancy.  This shows a more accurate picture of what the baby’s developmental progress should look like.  For children with hearing loss, their hearing age may be adjusted to when they were first provided with hearing aids.  For example, a three year old fitted with hearing aids at the age of one year would have a hearing age of two years.


Closed Caption:  TV or movie text presented on the screen.


Cochlea:  The end organ of hearing located in the inner ear.  Damage to the cochlea is usually irreversible.


Cochlear Implant:  An electronic device surgically implanted to stimulate the hearing nerve in the cochlea in order to receive and process sound and speech.


Cognitive:  Refers to the ability to think, learn, and remember.


Conductive Hearing Loss:  Dysfunction of the outer and/or middle ear that is often medically treatable or correctable.  It is commonly caused by otitis media (fluid in the middle ear cavity which is normally filled with air).


Congenital Hearing Loss:  Hearing loss present at birth or associated with the birth process or which develops in the first few days of life.


Coupled:  The attachment or connection of one object to another, such as a hearing aid to an assistive listening device.


Cued Speech:  Designed to clarify speech reading by using simple hand movements (cues) around the face to indicate the exact pronunciation of any spoken word.  Since many spoken words look alike on the mouth (“man” and “pan”), cues allow the child to see the difference between them.


Deaf:  When capitalized (Deaf), it refers to the cultural heritage and community of deaf individuals.  Communication for the Deaf culture is primarily via sign language.  When the term “deaf” is used by medical professionals or audiologists, it refers to a profound hearing loss.


Deaf Community:  A group of people who share common interests and a common heritage.  Their primary mode of communication is American Sign Language (ASL).  The Deaf community includes both deaf and hearing individuals who have a wide range of perspectives on issues, but whose common view on Deafness is that it is a positive state of being.


Deaf Culture:  A view of life manifested by the mores, beliefs, artistic expression, understandings, and language (ASL) particular to Deaf people.  A capital “D” is often used in the word Deaf when it refers to community or cultural aspects of Deafness.


Deaf/Blindness:  Educationally significant combined loss of hearing and vision.


Decibel (dB):  The unit of measurement for the loudness of a sound.  The higher the dB, the louder the sound.


Decoder:  An electronic device or computer chip that can display closed captions encoded in television programs or videocassettes.  Also called a telecaption adaptor.  Newer televisions are already closed caption ready.


Desired Sensation Level (DSL):  A method of fitting hearing aids commonly used with infants and young children.  The goal of this method is to make sounds comfortably audible (able to be heard) without making them too loud, in each frequency (pitch) region.


Digital Hearing Aid:  Has a small computer chip that processes sound digitally.  This computer chip allows for much more flexibility in programming the hearing aid for each individual’s hearing loss and needs.  Digitally programmable hearing aids almost always attach to a computer by a small cable that sends information from the computer software to the circuit of the hearing aid.  Once the hearing aid is connected to the computer, the audiologist can adjust the settings, such as loudness or frequency response, of the hearing aid.  Some of the hearing aids have more than one program, such as program 1 for loud settings and program 2 for quiet settings, for example.


Direct Audio Input (DAI):  Direct transmission of a sound signal into a hearing aid without the sound being changed in any way.  Many hearing aids are now equipped with DAI for use with assistive technology devices such as personal FM systems.


Disability:  A loss of function or impairment of a whole or parts of body systems.


Discrimination:  In audiological terms, the ability to know one sound as different from another.  An example of this is speech sounds.  The ability to distinguish among sounds of different pitches, durations, or loudness.


Distortion:  Reduction or addition to a sound, decreasing its original form.


Dry-Aid Kit:  A device that removes moisture from a hearing aid.  It may be a small plastic container or bag with a silicone gel material inside.  By placing the hearing aid inside, usually overnight, the gel acts as a dehumidifier to remove moisture.


Ear:  The organ used for hearing.  The ear has three main sections:  the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.


Ear Canal:  The canal between the pinna (the part of the ear you can see) and the tympanic membrane (eardrum).


Eardrum:  Also called the tympanic membrane.  The part of the ear that separates the outer ear from the middle ear.


Earmold:  A custom-made plastic or vinyl piece that fits in the outer ear and connects with a behind-the-ear hearing aid.


Educational Interpreter:  A person who is able to perform conventional interpreting, together with special skills for working in the educational environment.  Deaf and hard of hearing students may use educational interpreters who can use sign language.


Electrophysiologic Tests:  Tests that measure the electrical activity of the brainstem and/or brain in response to sound.  These tests do not require a purposeful response from the patient and are often referred to as objective tests.  They are frequently used to determine hearing status in infants or toddlers who are too young for behavioral testing in the sound booth.


Eligibility:  A child must be determined to be eligible for special education services, based on specific disabling conditions and exhibited delays (see Part B and Part C) in one or more of the following areas:  cognitive ability, motor skills, social/adaptive behavior, perceptual skills, and communication skills.


ENT:  A medical doctor who specializes in the ears, nose, and throat.  Sometimes referred to as an Otolaryngologist.


Environmental Sounds:  Non-speech sounds that occur in the environment such as a siren, the telephone ringing, the doorbell, water running, or a train whistle.


Etiology:  The specific cause of a hearing loss.


Eustachian Tube:  A tube that connects the middle ear with the throat and allows air to move back and forth into the middle ear space.  This tube can become swollen and closed, causing middle ear dysfunction.


Expressive Language:  Refers to words and concepts that one can use to communicate effectively.


Family Advisor Program:  A program of family-centered education and infant intervention that stresses early exposure to language and attention to developmental processes which enhance the learning of language.


Feedback (acoustic):  A high-pitched squeal from a hearing aid most commonly caused by an improper fit or placement of the earmold.  Feedback may also be caused by earwax in the earmold, a crack in the earmold tubing, earhook, or hearing aid casing.  Additionally, feedback may occur when an object is very close to the hearing aid, such as when wearing a tight-fitting hat.


Fingerspelling:  Representation of the alphabet by finger positions in order to spell words.


FM System:  An assistive listening device worn by the speaker to amplify his/her voice and transmit it directly to the listener’s ears via an electronic receiver and special earphones, or the listener’s own hearing aids.  The device reduces the problem of background noise interference and distance between a speaker (such as a teacher) and hard of hearing listener.  FM systems are especially useful in the classroom.


Frequency:  The number of vibrations per second of a sound.  Frequency, expressed in Hertz (Hz), determines the pitch of a sound.


Gain:  The range that describes how well the amplification is performing.  For example, a child with unaided hearing at 80 dB who, when wearing a hearing aid, hears at 40 dB, is experiencing a gain of 40 dB.


Genetic Counseling:  Counseling for individuals with birth defect/genetic disorders that may involve hearing loss.  Genetic counseling includes recurrence risk information for individuals with hearing loss and their families.


Hard of Hearing:  1) A hearing loss, whether permanent or fluctuating, which adversely affects an individual’s ability to detect and recognize some sounds.  2) The term preferred over “hearing impaired” by the Deaf and hard of hearing community to refer to individuals who have hearing loss, but also have and use residual hearing.


Hearing Age/Aided Age:  Age measured from the time the child begins wearing hearing aids or a cochlear implant consistently (see chronological age above).


Hearing Aid:  An electronic device that conducts and amplifies sound to the ear.


Hearing Aid Stethoscope:  A device that allows one to listen to the output of a hearing aid or assistive listening device to check sound quality and functioning.


Hearing Loss:  The following hearing levels are typically characterized as follows:


Normal Hearing:  0 to 15 dB

Slight Loss: 16 to 25 dB

Mild Loss: 26 to 35 dB

Moderate Loss: 36 to 50 dB

Moderately-Severe: 51 to 70 dB

Severe Loss: 71 to 90 dB

Profound Loss: 91 dB or greater


Hearing Screening:  Audiometric testing of the ability to hear selected frequencies at intensities above normal hearing.  The purpose is to identify individuals with hearing loss who need further evaluation by an audiologist.


Hertz (Hz):  A measurement of frequency equal to one cycle per second.  Named after German physicist H.R. Hertz.


Huggies:  The brand name of a plastic-ringed device designed to “hug” the hearing aid to the ear.  Popular for infants and toddlers whose ears may be too small to hold the hearing aid snugly in place.


I.D.E.A.:  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Public Law 101-476; formerly known as PL 94-142 and PL 99-457.


Inclusion:  Another term for mainstreaming.  This means that students with disabilities should be integrated and included to the maximum extent possible with their non-disabled peers in the educational setting.


Individualized Education Plan (IEP):  A team developed, written program which defines educational and therapy goals and objectives needed for each individual child to give him appropriate access to education.  An IEP for a child with a hearing loss should take into account such factors as: 1) Communication needs and the preferred mode of communication.  2) Linguistic needs.  3) Severity of hearing loss.  4) Academic progress.  5) Social and emotional needs, including opportunities for peer interaction and communication.  6) Appropriate accommodations to facilitate learning.


Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP):  the IFSP addresses:  1) The family’s strengths, needs, concerns, and priorities. 2) Identifies support services available to meet those needs.  3) Empowers the family to meet the developmental needs of their infant or toddler with a disability.  The IFSP is a written plan developed by parents or guardians with input from a multidisciplinary team.


Impedance (Immittance) Testing:  An objective measure of middle ear function, not hearing sensitivity, which may include tympanometry and/or acoustic reflex.  Sometimes referred to as a measurement of how well the eardrum moves.


Inner Ear:  The innermost part of the ear composed of the cochlea and the semi-circular canals (end organs of balance).  Damage to the inner ear results in a sensorineural type of hearing loss.


Intensity:  The loudness of a sound, measured in decibels (dB).


Interpreter:  A person who facilitates communication between a hearing and deaf or hard of hearing person through interpretation of spoken language into a signed language, or transliteration of a language into a visual and/or phonemic code by an oral interpreter, an ASL transliterator, or cued speech interpreter.


Intonation:  The aspect of speech made up of changes in stress and pitch in the voice during spoken language.


Least Restrictive Environment (LRE):  A basic principle of Public Law 101-476 (IDEA) which requires public agencies to establish procedures to ensure that to the maximum extent appropriate, that children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational setting occurs only when the nature and/or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.


Lipreading:  See Speech Reading.


LSL:  Listening and spoken language.


Localization:  The ability to understand where a sound originates or is coming from.  Children with unilateral hearing losses have difficulty with localization of sounds.


Mainstreaming:  The concept that students with disabilities should be integrated with non-disabled peers to the maximum extent possible that is still appropriate for the needs of the child with the disability.  Mainstreaming is one option in an educational plan and is sometimes referred to as inclusion.


Masking:  A procedure often used in hearing testing where a static-like noise is presented to the non-test ear through headphones to keep it from responding to test stimuli.


Medical Clearance:  Statement of  clearance from a doctor specializing in disorders and diseases of the ear that a particular hearing loss is not medically treatable and that the use of hearing aids will not harm the patient’s ears.  


Middle Ear:  Located between the outer ear and the inner ear.  It contains three tiny bones (ossicles) and is an air-filled cavity.  It is connected to the throat by the Eustachian tube.  The middle ear can become abnormally filled with fluid, which may cause a temporary hearing loss.


Mixed Hearing Loss:  A hearing loss that is partly conductive and partly sensorineural.


Monaural Amplification:  The use of a hearing aid in one ear, rather than both ears.


Morpheme:  A linguistic unit of meaning that cannot be divided into smaller meaningful parts.  


Multi-Band Hearing Aids:  The frequency or “pitch” on an audiogram is represented as a “band” in a multi-band hearing aid.  This allows for each individual band to be adjusted separately to fit the hearing loss.


Multi-Channel Hearing Aid:  A channel in a hearing aid refers to the compression capability of that hearing aid.  Compression means how loud a sound gets before the hearing aid compresses, or makes the sound softer.  A hearing aid that is multi-channel can be adjusted to make different sounds made louder or softer.


Multi-Program Hearing Aid:  A hearing aid which can be programmed for different listening environments; a quiet listening environment versus one with background noise, such as a classroom.


Multi-Disciplinary Assessment and Evaluation:  This assessment and evaluation of a child is made by qualified persons representing two or more disciplines or professions, such as a speech therapist and an audiologist.  The child’s development is evaluated to determine if there are any delays or conditions that would indicate the need for special services.


Native Language:  The language of the home.  The native language of children who are deaf with deaf parents is often American Sign Language.


Natural Environment:  Defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as:  Settings that are natural or normal for the child’s typical peers (those who have no disabilities).  “To maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the child, early intervention services must be provided in natural environments, including the home and community settings in which children without disabilities participate.”


Omnidirectional Microphone:  One that picks up sounds from all directions, but slightly more responsive to those in front of the microphone.  An example of this is your voice when you are talking to your child face to face, instead of behind his head.  Some hearing aids have directional microphones, which are much more sensitive to sounds in front of, rather than behind, the hearing aid.  For safety and for classroom settings, an omnidirectional microphone is usually recommended.


Open Captioned:  The same as closed captioned (see Close Captioned) except there is no need for a special decoding device to see the printed text.


Oral:  An unspecific term that is sometimes used when referring to individuals with hearing loss and deafness who talk and don’t necessarily use sign language.  Some educational programs that emphasize the development of spoken language (no matter what the method) are simply referred to as “oral programs.”


Otitis Media:  Fluid in the middle ear.  Children with recurring episodes may experience fluctuating hearing loss and may be at risk for speech and language delays.  Fluid can be present with or without infection, and may cause temporary hearing loss, which can evolve into permanent loss if untreated.


Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE):  A passive audiological test that verifies cochlear activity, often used in testing infants suspected of hearing loss.  A probe is placed in the ear canal for this measurement of sensory hearing loss.


Otolaryngologist (ENT):  A physician who specializes in medical problems of the ear, nose, and throat.  This specialist provides diagnosis of medical conditions of the ear, nose, and throat, as well as providing medical clearance for the use of hearing aids.


Otologist:  A medical doctor who specializes in diseases of the ear.


Outer Ear:  The pinna (the part of the ear that you can see) and the ear canal.


Output:  Refers to how much amplification is being put out by a hearing aid.


Part B:  Part B is the section of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that refers to services available to eligible children from three to twenty-one years of age in the public schools.


Part C:  Part C is the section of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that refers to early intervention services available to eligible children from birth through two years of age and their families.


Peri-Lingual Deafness:  Refers to hearing loss acquired while learning a first language.


Phonemes:  Refers to the individual speech sounds.


Pitch:  The perception of frequency when sound is commonly thought of as high or low in pitch.


Play Audiometry:  The audiologist teaches a child to respond to sound with some type of action, such as dropping a block in a bucket, putting a peg in a pegboard, etc., when he or she hears a sound.


Post-Lingual Deafness:  Refers to hearing loss acquired after learning a first language.


Progressive Hearing Loss:  Hearing that worsens over time.


Psychologist:  A highly trained professional who evaluates an individual’s mental development and counsels them and/or their family.


Pure Tone:  A tone used in hearing tests that has energy at only one frequency.


Pure Tone Average:  A number resulting from averaging the thresholds at 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, and 2000 Hz on an audiogram.


Real-Ear Measurement:  An audiological test that measures the actual output of a hearing aid in the wearer’s ear canal.  This test uses a “probe microphone” that is placed into the ear canal along with the earmold of the hearing aid.  It assesses how effectively sound is actually being amplified by the hearing aid while in the person’s ear.  It is considered to be a very important measurement because everyone’s ear canals are shaped differently, and this will affect how the hearing aid functions.


Receptive Language:  Refers to words or concepts that one understands.


Relay Services:  Relay Service or Relay Network.  A service which involves an operator “relaying” conversations between a TTY/TDD user (generally a person with a hearing loss and/or speech disorder) and a hearing/speaking individual using an ordinary, non-adapted phone.  Montana Relay provides this service for Montana.


Residual Hearing:  The amount of usable hearing that a person with hearing loss has.


S.E.E. 1:  Seeing Essential English.


S.E.E. 2:  Signing Exact English.  A sign system in which all words of English are signed in English word order.  Number, person, and tense have signed grammatical markers to replicate spoken English.


Semantics:  The meaning of words.


Sensorineural:  A type of hearing loss caused by damage that occurs to the inner ear (cochlea) and/or hearing nerve.  Sensorineural damage is usually irreversible.


Sign Babbling:  Infants who are hearing put sounds together (babble) before they talk.  Infants who are exposed to sign language put hand shapes together (sign babble) before they sign.


Signal to Noise Ratio or Speech to Noise Ratio (SN Ratio or SNR):  Refers to the relationship between the signal or speech that a listener wants to hear and the noise that a listener does not want to hear.  For example, a classroom needs to have an acceptable SNR, meaning the teacher’s voice must be comfortably louder than the background noise in the room for effective learning to take place.


Signese:  Families who are hearing talk to their infants in a special way called motherese or parentese (higher than normal pitch of voice with frequent repetition).  Families who are deaf sign to their infants in a special way (simplified signs) called signese.


Simultaneous Communication:  Talking and signing at the same time.


Sound Booth:  An acoustically treated room where diagnostic hearing tests are performed.


Sound Field Tests:  A type of hearing test within a sound booth, in which sound is presented via loud speakers (as opposed to earphones) into the room (sound field).  Hearing aid benefit can be tested in a sound field.


Speech Awareness Threshold (SAT):  The faintest level at which someone detects speech 50% of the time.  This is indicated in an audiological test, with and/or without hearing aids.


Speech Banana:  Also called the speech zone.  On an audiological graph measured in decibels (loudness) and frequencies (pitch), the area where most conversational speech sounds occur.  Sometimes called the “speech banana” because of the shape this area depicts on the graph.  The purpose of hearing aids is to amplify sound into the speech zone, so that speech sounds may become able to be heard.


Speech Intelligibility:  The ability to be understood when using oral speech.


Speech Language Pathologist:  A licensed and certified professional who works with individuals who have specific needs in the areas of speech and language.


Speech Reading:  The interpretation of lip and mouth movements, facial expressions, gestures, prosodic and melodic aspects of speech, structural characteristics of language, and topical and contextual cues.


Speech Reception or Recognition Threshold (SRT):  This is the softest level at which a person can understand speech 50% of the time.  SRT is measured during an audiological evaluation with and/or without hearing aids.


Speech Zone:  See Speech Banana.


Syntax:  Defines the word classes of language, such as nouns, verbs, etc., and the rules for their combination, or which words can be combined and in what order.


Tactile Aids:  A type of assistive communication device that emits a vibration or “tactile” signal to indicate the presence of sound(s).  It is worn on the body and triggers the sense of touch or feeling to draw attention to information that cannot be heard by the individual with hearing loss.


Telecoil and Telecoil Switch:  A series of interconnected wire loops in a hearing aid that responds electrically to a magnetic signal.  An external control on a hearing aid activates a telecoil that picks up magnetic energy from a telephone or a magnetic loop of an assistive listening device (ALD).  It is often beneficial for children to have hearing aids equipped with a telecoil.


Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD):  Originally and often called TTY, this electronic device allows the deaf and hard of hearing to communicate via a text telephone system.  This term appears in ADA regulations and legislation.  Montana Telecommunication Access Program (MTAP) provides equipment in Montana.


Threshold:  The softest level of sound an individual can hear 50% of the time.  This term is used in reference to pure tones or speech reception in audiometric tests.


Total Communication (TC):  A mode of communication that involves a sign system used with spoken words and any effective method (sign, mime, speech, pictures, etc.) of conveying information.


Transpositional Hearing Aid:  One that moves high frequency sounds, such as the consonant sounds of /s/, /f/, or /th/, to lower frequencies, where hearing is typically better.  The transposed sounds are then made louder.  This type of hearing aid is particularly helpful for children with sloping, high frequency hearing loss.


Trouble Shooting a Hearing Aid or Assistive Listening Device:  Performing a variety of visual inspections and listening checks to determine a cause for a malfunction and the need for professional repair.


Tubes – Pressure Equalization (PE) or Tympanostomy Tubes:  Tiny ventilation tubes surgically placed through the tympanic membrane (eardrum) to replace a malfunctioning Eustachian tube, and thus allowing for equalization of pressure.


Tympanogram:  A “pressure” or “impedance” test that measures how the ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear bones are working.  This information can be useful in determining whether a middle ear problem, possibly requiring a medical treatment, exists.  It is not a test of how much a person hears.


Unilateral Hearing Loss:  A hearing loss in one ear.


Visual Reinforcement Audiometry:  A method of assessment in which the child is conditioned to look at a light box each time he or she hears a sound.  It is often used with young children.


List of Common Acronyms




AAA American Academy of Audiology


AAC Augmentative and Alternative Communication


ABR Auditory Brainstem Response


ADA Americans with Disabilities


ALD Assistive Listening Device


APD Auditory Processing Disorder


ARD Admission, Review, and Dismissal


ASHA American Speech-Language and Hearing Association


ASL American Sign Language


AT Assistive Technology


AUD Audiology


AVT Auditory Verbal Therapy




BI/BI Bilingual – Bicultural


BTE Behind-the-Ear




CAPD Central Auditory Processing Disorder


CASE Conceptually Accurate Signed English


CCC Certificate of Clinical Competence


CFR Code of Federal Regulations


CFY Clinical Fellowship Year


CI Cochlear Implant


CIC Completely-in-the-Canal


CODA Child of Deaf Adult


CP Cerebral Palsy


CS Cued Speech


CSHS Children’s Special Health Services




DAI Direct Audio Input


dB Decibels


DOE Department of Education


DPHHS Department of Public Health and Human Services




ECI Early Childhood Intervention


EI Early Intervention


ESL English as a Second Language


ESY Extended School Year




FAPE Free Appropriate Public Education


FAQ Frequently Asked Questions


FYI For Your Information




HA Hearing Aid


HI Hearing Impaired


HoH Hard of Hearing


Hz Hertz




IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


IEE Independent Educational Evaluation


IEP Individualized Education Program


IFSP Individualized Family Service Plan


ITC In-the-Canal


ITE In-the-Ear




LEA Local Education Agency (School District)


LRE Least Restrictive Environment


LSL Listening and Spoken Language


LVAS Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome




MCE Manual Codes for English


MSDB Montana School for the Deaf and the Blind


MTAP Montana Telecommunications Access Program/Montana Relay




OAE Otoacoustic Emission


OPI Office of Public Instruction


OSEP Office of Special Education Programs


OSERS Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services


OT Occupational Therapy




PT Physical Therapy



SEE1 Seeing Essential English


SEE2 Signed Exact English


SLP Speech Language Pathologist


SOP Standard Operating Procedure


SPED Special Education


SRT Speech Reception Threshold




TC Total Communication


TDD Telecommunications Device for the Deaf


TOD Teacher of the Deaf


TTY Older Name for TDD, Derived from the Word “Teletype”




VRA Visual Reinforcement Audiometry

Terminology, Definitions & Acronyms
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