Glossary of Terms

Amplification:
The use of hearing aids and other electronic devices to increase the loudness of a sound so that it may be more easily received and understood.

Assistive Communication Devices:
Devices and systems that are available to help deaf and hard of hearing people improve communication.

Audiological Assessment/Evaluation/Test:
A compilation of hearing tests, which show the type and degree of hearing loss.

Audiologist:
A person who holds a degree in audiology and is a specialist in testing hearing and/or hearing loss. A certified audiologist will have the letters CCC-A or FAAA behind his/her name.

(Automated) Auditory Brainstem Response ([A]ABR):
A hearing screen in which equipment is used to introduce the sound of clicks into the ear canal. An electroencephalographic (EEG) response is measured from electrodes placed on the scalp. The waveforms generated are measured against an internal template to determine a pass or refer result.

Cochlea:
A winding, cone-shaped tube that forms a portion of the inner ear.

Conductive Hearing Loss:
Impairment of hearing due to failure of sound waves to reach the inner ear through the normal air conduction channels of the outer and middle ear. In children, conductive loss is typically medically correctable, and is most often associated with Otitis Media.

First Steps:
A program administered through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that offers coordinated services and assistance to young children, birth to age three, with special needs and to their families.

Follow-up:
The work of Missouri Newborn Hearing Screening Program staff to assure all babies born in Missouri receive a hearing screening and all babies with abnormal screening results are referred to audiologists for further evaluation.

Hearing Screening:
An objective, physiological procedure completed to determine the likelihood of hearing loss.

Infant:
A child under one year of age.

Otitis Media:
A middle ear infection. Children with recurring ear infections may experience fluctuating hearing loss and may be at risk for speech and language delays.

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE):A hearing test that uses a microphone placed in the ear canal to measure sound waves generated in the cochlea in response to clicks or tone bursts.

Referral:
The direction of an infant who does not pass the hearing screening to an audiologist for appropriate diagnostic procedures to determine the existence and extent of hearing loss.

Risk factor:
An indicator known to place an infant at increased risk for being born with or developing a hearing loss. These include but are not limited to: family history of permanent childhood hearing loss, parental or caregiver concern about an infant’s hearing and the presence of neurodegenerative disorders.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss:
A type of hearing impairment caused by damage that occurs to the cochlea. Sensorineural damage is usually irreversible.