Glossary

A

Audiogram
A chart which records a person’s hearing thresholds.
Audiologist
A health professional specialised in diagnosing, managing, treating and monitoring hearing and balance problems.
Auditory Brainstem Response
The main diagnostic hearing test given to babies which records the softest level of sound the baby can hear.
Auditory nerve
Sends electrical signals from the inner ear (cochlea) to the auditory cortex in the brain for processing.
Auditory Steady-State Response
A test given to babies which records what the softest sounds are that can be heard at a range of frequencies.

B

Balance organ
Contains hair cells which help maintain balance.

C

Cochlea
Also known as the inner ear, the hair cells of the cochlea move to sound vibrations, generating electrical signals and stimulating the auditory nerve.
Cochlear implant
A hearing device that is surgically implanted into the inner ear of people with a severe or profound degree of hearing loss.
Conductive hearing loss
A type of hearing loss resulting from blockage, damage or malformation to the outer or middle ear.

D

Decibels
The measure of the loudness of a sound (dB).

E

Ear canal
Directs sound waves into the ear drum and protects the ear drum.
Ear drum
Connects the outer ear and middle ear and turns sound waves into vibrations.
Early Childhood Intervention Services
Specialised programs, services and support to support families of children with a disability.
Early Intervention
Specialist services that support families whose child has a hearing loss during the critical early years of language development. This includes the use of hearing devices and the development of communication skills.
Early Support Service facilitators
Professionals who offer support and assistance to families of a baby who receive a positive result following newborn hearing screening.
Eustachian tube
Equalises air pressure in the middle ear.

F

G

H

Hearing loss
A condition where one cannot fully or partially hear or perceive sounds at varying loudness or frequencies.
Hearing aid
A hearing device, usually placed behind the ear in children, to amplify sounds.
Hearing screen
A routine hearing check babies have soon after birth. A screen is not a diagnostic hearing test.
Hearing threshold
The softest sounds a person can hear, as measured by an audiogram.
Hearing tests
Tests used to diagnose hearing loss.
Hertz
The measure of the pitch or frequency of a sound (Hz).

I

J

K

L

M

Middle ear bones
Consists of the malleus, incus and stapes. These bones vibrate in response to the eardrum moving and carry the sound vibrations into the inner ear.
Mild hearing loss
A degree of hearing loss where a person can typically not hear sounds softer than 21-40dB.
Mixed hearing loss
A type of hearing loss resulting from blockage, damage or malformation to the outer ear and/or middle ear as well as inner ear.
Moderate hearing loss
A degree of hearing loss where a person can typically not hear sounds softer than 41-60dB.

N

O

Oto-acoustic emissions
A test of the health of the hair cells in the inner ear.

P

Pinna
Directs sound waves into the ear canal.
Pitch
The perceieved frequency of a sound.
Profound hearing loss
A degree of hearing loss where a person can typically not hear sounds softer than 91dB.

Q

R

Risk factors
Factors which may predict a hearing impairment in children.

S

Sensorineural hearing loss
A type of hearing loss resulting from damage to the inner ear.
Severe hearing loss
A degree of hearing loss where a person can typically not hear sounds softer than 61-90dB.

T

Temporal bone
Protects the inner ear
Tympanometry
A test of the middle ear function.

U

V

VIHSP
The Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) screens the hearing of newborn babies with the aim to detect hearing loss early.

W

X

Y

Z