Hearing and Speech Word List
Hearing and Speech Word List

Amplification: This is any device that helps children hear better by increasing the sounds around them. Examples: hearing aids, F.M. systems

Amplifier: This is the part of a hearing aid that increases the electrical signal that comes from the microphone. The amplifier is located inside the hearing aid.

Aspiration: This is the term used to describe when food or liquid enters your child's airway through the open vocal cords while he/she eats or drinks.

Auditory nerve: This is the nerve that is connected to the cochlea (the inner ear). It takes sound that has been changed into electrical impulses in the cochlea and moves the impulses to the brain, so that the brain can interpret them.

Battery: This is what powers a hearing aid.

Cochlea: This is the hearing organ of the body. It is a part of the inner ear. The cochlea changes sound waves into electrical impulses so that they can be picked up by the auditory nerve and carried to the brain to be interpreted.

Communication disorder: This is a term for a variety of problems with speech, language and hearing. Examples of this include stuttering, aphasia, dysfluency, voice disorders, cleft lip, cleft palate, articulation problems, delays in speech and language, autism and phonological disorders. The Hearing and Speech Clinic staff do evaluations for children to figure out if they have any of these problems.

Decibels (dB): This is the term used for measuring loudness. A small number of decibels is a soft sound, and a big number of decibels is a loud sound.

Digitized sound: This is sound processed through a computer. Sound is digitized when it enters a hearing aid.

Earmold: This is the part of a hearing aid that connects to a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid and moves the amplified sound into the ear canal.

ECMO: This stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It is a treatment used for infants and children with cardiorespiratory failure. An artificial lung ("membrane") that is outside of the child's body ("extracorporeal") puts oxygen into the blood and then takes this blood to the body tissues ("oxygenation"). Children are put on ECMO machines for a short time so that their heart and/or lungs can have time to recover. The most common reason ECMO is used is for newborn babies with respiratory failure. It can also be used for severe heart failure, to support the heart after heart surgery, and while waiting for cardiac surgery or a heart transplant.

Electrodes: These are small metal plates that attach to a non-metal surface and conduct electrical current. Electrodes are used by audiologists during automated brainstem response (ABR) tests. During the ABR, they are placed on a child's forehead and earlobes with paste and medical tape.

Hearing evaluation: This is the term for the group of tests used by audiologists to figure out how well a child can hear.

Hertz (Hz): This is a tool for measuring pitch. The range of human hearing is from 20-20,000 Hz.

Hydraulic energy: This is a type of energy that is created by moving liquid in a confined space. When sound moves from the middle ear to the inner ear, the sound changes from vibrations to this type of energy.

Microphone: This is the part of a hearing aid that changes sounds into electrical energy. Where it is located on the hearing aid is important, because the sounds closest to the microphone will be picked up most easily.

Newborn hearing screening: This is a hearing evaluation that every baby must have before leaving the hospital in Kansas and Missouri.

Otologist: This is a doctor who specializes in problems of the ear.

Otoscope: This is a hand held tool used by audiologists to look at the ear canal and eardrum.

Penetration: This is the term used to describe when food or liquid enters into your child's airway while he/she eats or drinks, but is pulled back out before passing through the vocal cords.

Phonological awareness: This is a child's ability to recognize the sound structure of language.

Pitch: This is determined by the frequency of vibrations of a sound wave. The more vibrations over a period of time, the higher the pitch. The less vibrations over a period of time, the lower the pitch. Pitch is measured in Hertz (Hz).

Receiver: This is part of a hearing aid that changes the amplified electrical signal back into sound. With a behind-the-ear or in-the-ear hearing aid, the receiver is inside the case of the aid and is not visible.

Speech-language evaluation: This is the term for the group of tests used by speech-language pathologists that measure your child's communication skills.

Sound booth: A sound booth is a room that is specially made so that no unwanted sounds can enter the room. Audiologists do many of their hearing tests in sounds booths. The booth helps them control exactly what sound a child hears during a hearing test so they can get the most accurate test results.

Tubing: This is the part of the earmold that connects it to the behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid. It moves sound from the receiver through the earmold.

Tympanometer: This is a tool used by audiologists to check how well the eardrum works and to see if there is fluid in the middle ear. Audiologists also use a tympanometer to check whether or not a child's tubes are open and working well. It does this by measuring the ear canal volume.

Unilateral hearing loss: When a child has hearing loss in only one ear it is called unilateral hearing loss. If a child has hearing loss in both ears, it is called bilateral hearing loss.

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