Hearing Aid Glossary

A

A/D (Analog to Digital) Converter – the part of the digital chip that takes sound and converts it into a signal the chip can recognize.
ADRO – Hearing aid technology that is is really good for mild to moderate loss.  ADRO hearing aids are normally built on many channels.
Adaptive Directional Microphone – process by which directional microphones can adjust automaticly
Algorithm – this is the computer software the hearing aids use
Amplifier  – part of the hearing aid that amplifies sound
Asymmetrical Hearing Loss – situation where one ear has a greater loss than the other
Audibility – the level at which a sound can be heard.
Audiogram – hearing loss shown in chart form
Audiometer – used to measure hearing loss
Automatic Telecoil – activates automatically when a telephone is placed near.
Automatic Volume Control – the hearing aid automatically adjusts the volume for the wearer.

B

Background Noise – presence of non-speech noise when speech needs to be amplified.
Band – a range of frequencies that can be adjusted in a hearing independent of other frequencies
Behind the Ear Hearing Aid (BTE) – style of hearing aid in which the main part of the aid is placed behind the ear with a tube and earmold that fits in the ear
Bilateral Hearing Loss –  hearing loss in both ears
Bone Conduction Hearing Aid – a hearing aid that transfers sound through the skull

C

Cerumen – earwax
Channel – a section of frequencies controlled by the hearing aids compression circuitry.
Circuit Board – the piece inside the hearing aid that contains the digital chip
Completely In Canal Hearing Aid (CIC) – the smallest style of hearing aid in which all or nearly all of the hearing aid is placed inside the ear canal.
Compression – a type of circuitry that is used to keep soft sounds audible and loud sounds comfortable.
Conductive Hearing Loss – hearing loss due to damage to the conductive portion -of the auditory system such as the eardrum or the bones in the middle ear

D

Data Logging – feature in some digital products that keeps a record of what kind of environments the user has been exposed to, battery life, hours of usage, etc., and may even make recommendations for adjustments.
Decibel (dB) – a measurement of the loudness of a sound
Digital – a type of amplifier system that changes analog sound into a series of numbers for processing.  Most hearing aids made today are digital.
Direct Audio Input – On BTE hearing aids, enables the wearer to directly connect an electronic sound source to their hearing aid.  Typically used for classroon settings where the instructor speaks into a microphone and the hearing aid receives the sound.
Directional Microphone – multiple microphone system that amplifies sound from the front more than sound from the rear for better hearing in noise.
Dynamic Range – the range between wear a person begins to hear sound and sound becomes uncomfortable.

E

E2E Wireless Communication – Siemens product that enables one hearing aid to make the same adjustments to the other hearing aid. Turn up the volume on one and it will automatically adjust the volume on the other aid.
Earmold – a lucite or silicon piece, usually custom made, that is inserted in the ear in order to connect a hearing aid or for hearing protection.

F

Feedback – the whistling sound that occurs when sound from a speaker loops back to the microphone.
Feedback Cancellation – the removal of feedback by producing a signal exactly opposite of the feedback signal.

Frequency – High Frequency – sounds on the higher end of the speech frequency range. Perceived as high tone or treble, soft consonants such as f and s.
Frequency – Low Frequency – sounds on the lower end of the speech frequency range. Perceived as low tones or bass, vowels are generally low frequency

G

Gain – the volume added to a sound after amplification.

H

Half Shell Hearing Aid (HS) – style of hearing aid that fills approximately half of the bowl of the ear.
Hearing test – series of tests performed with an audiometer that measures a persons hearing loss based on subjective response.
Hearing Loss – any reduction of a persons ability to hear sound below a sound level of 25 decibels between the ranges of 250 Hertz and 8000 Hertz. (see Decibel, Frequency, and Hertz)

I

Impression – a silicon cast of the shape of the ear and canal used to make custom hearing aids and ear molds.
In The Canal Hearing Aid (ITC) – style of hearing aid that resides primarily in the ear canal, but also extends into the bowl of the ear.
In The Ear Hearing Aid (ITE) – a style of hearing aid that fills the bowl of the ear (also called full shell)

L

Listening Program – an individual memory program in a digital hearing aid with multiple memories accessed through a push button or remote control.
Low Frequency – sounds on the lower end of the speech frequency range. Perceived as low tones or bass, vowels are generally low frequency
Low Tone – low frequency sounds such as vowels and hard consonants, bass.

M

Memory (Memories) – the area within the digital circuit that stores the information programmed for your hearing loss. Some hearing aids have more than one memory. The additional memories are programmed for specific situations such as noise or telephone use.
Meniere’s disease – affects the membranous inner ear and is characterized by deafness, dizziness (vertigo), and ringing in the ear (tinnitus).
Mild Hearing Loss (20 -40 decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls between 20 – 40 decibels.
Mixed Hearing Loss – a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. (see sensorineural and conductive)
Moderate Hearing Loss (40-60 decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls between 40 – 60 decibels.
Multi-band Adaptive Directional Microphones – directional microphone systems that are capable of suppressing more than one sound source at a time in different frequencies.

N

Noise Reduction – reducing the perception of noise

O

Omnidirectional – type of microphone that picks up sound from all around.
Open Ear Acoustics – method of fitting hearing aids so that the ear canal is left as open as possible.
Open Ear Hearing Aid – a hearing aid designed to fit over the ear with a thin tube or wire running into the ear, and a small, soft plastic tip. The tip has holes to keep from blocking the ear canal so that the user does not feel plugged.

P

Phase Cancellation – cancellation of sound by creating a sound exactly opposite.

-Inverted Phase Feedback Canceller – a more advanced form of phase cancellation with improved performance.
Processor – the part of a digital chip where information is interpreted and changed based on the instructions that have been programmed into the processor.
Profound Hearing Loss (over 80 Decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls at 80 decibels or worse.
Program – refers to a set of instructions given to the processor.
Programmable Telecoil – a telecoil that is connected to one of the memory slots of a hearing aid and can be programmed to the users needs apart from the other memories.
Programming- creating and sending the program to the processor.
Progressive Hearing Loss – a hearing loss that becomes progressively worse over time.

R

Receiver – the speaker of the hearing aid.  This is the part of the hearing aid where the sound comes out of.

S

Sensorineural Hearing Loss – hearing loss due to damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or the nerve pathway from the cochlea to the brain.
Severe Hearing Loss (60-80 decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls between 60 – 80 decibels.
Shell – The outer portion of the hearing aid that is custom formed to fit the ear.
Sound Waves – Sound is made up of molecules of air that move and when they push together the form waves.
Sudden Hearing Loss – a hearing loss that occurs with a rapid onset requiring immediate medical treatment.
Symmetrical Hearing Loss – hearing loss that is the same or very similar in both ears.

T

Telecoil – devise in a hearing aid that can connect with the magnetic coils of a telephone
Tinnitus – High pitched sound generated inside ear canal often occumpanied by hearing loss.

U

Unilateral Hearing Loss – hearing loss in only one ear.

V

Vent – an air channel in the hearing aid or earmold to alleviate pressure and reduce low frequency amplification.
Volume Control – component of the hearing aid that turns the volume up or down

W

Wide Dynamic Range Compression (WDRC) – hearing aid processing type that works to keep soft sounds audible and loud sounds comfortable.
Wind Noise Manager – device within a digital processor that reduces the sound of wind noise on the microphone.