Reference Glossary of Terms For Parents of Children With Hearing Loss

Reference Glossary of Terms For Parents of Children With Hearing Loss

As I have been writing my articles/blog posts, I have realized that I use acronyms often.  I decided that it would be a good idea to put together a glossary list of acronyms for reference so that everyone had an understanding of the meanings for these abbreviations.  Of course, as I started to put the list together, I ended up adding other non-abbreviated terms and the list grew longer.  I have tried to include as many terms as possible that are pertinent to the field and that would be helpful for parents of children with hearing loss.  Luckily, as this is on the web (and not in a book), the list can be updated, as needed.  As new terms come to mind, I will add them so that this list is comprehensive.  Hope it is helpful!

AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication refers to all forms of communication (aside from speech) that are used to express ideas, wants and needs.  It is a multi-modal communication approach using a variety of means (signs, gestures, vocalizations, communication boards, speech output devices).

ABI: Auditory Brainstem Implant is a surgically implanted device that bypasses the auditory nerve and directly stimulates the brainstem for people who are not candidates for a cochlear implant.

ABR: Auditory Brainstem Response (also BAER) is an objective test that gives information about the auditory nerve and pathways of the brain for hearing.  It does not require a response by the patient so it is often used with newborns and infants, as well as older children with multiple disabilities.

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a law that protects Americans from discrimination based upon disability.

Apraxia: Apraxia (also known as Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)) is a motor speech disorder characterized by difficulty coordinating the movements of the muscles used for speech.

ANSD: Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder (also known as Auditory Neuropathy/Auditory Dysynchrony (AN/AD)) is characterized by normal outer hair cell functioning and abnormal or absent auditory nerve functioning.  It can result in a range of auditory functioning, including normal to near normal speech detection but poor speech recognition.

Atresia: Atresia is the narrowing or absence of the external ear canal, likely resulting in a conductive hearing loss.

Audiogram: The audiogram is a graph that shows the results of a hearing test.  It measures the softest sound a person can hear across a range of frequencies.

Audiologist: An audiologist is a professional who assesses and manages hearing and balance problems.

AVT: Auditory Verbal Therapy is a method of teaching listening and spoken language to children with hearing loss with an emphasis on using audition.

BAHA: Bone Anchored Hearing Aid is a surgically implanted device that aids hearing through bone conduction.  It is used for both conductive hearing loss and single sided deafness.


Binaural: Binaural means related to two ears.

Bone Conduction: Bone conduction refers to the conduction of sound through the bones in the skull to the inner ear.

BTE: Behind-the-Ear refers to hearing aids that sit behind the ear.

CAPD: Central Auditory Processing Disorder is a disorder of the central auditory system (at the level of the brain), rather than the peripheral auditory system (the outer, middle or inner ear) that is not due to other cognitive, language, or related disorders. It affects how the brain perceives and processes what it hears.

CART: Communication Access Realtime Translation is real-time, word for word, speech to text translation.

CAS: Childhood Apraxia of Speech. See Apraxia

C-Print: C-Print is real-time, meaning for meaning, speech to text translation.

CI: Cochlear Implants are surgically implanted devices that provide electrical stimulation to the cochlea in the inner ear for people with severe to profound hearing loss who receive limited benefit from hearing aids.

C- Level:  Comfort level on a cochlear implant refers to the maximum amount of electrical stimulation on an electrode for the sound to be comfortably loud.

Conductive: Conductive hearing loss refers to a hearing loss due to problems in the outer or middle ear.

dB: Decibels are a measurement of loudness.

ENT: Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor

EVAS: Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome (or LVAS-Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome) is one of the most common causes of syndromic hearing loss in children.  The hearing loss is often fluctuating or progressive in nature.

FAPE: Free and Appropriate Education is part of the IDEA law that students with disabilities have the right to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

FM: Frequency Modulation as it pertains to an FM system, is a wireless technology that helps people with listening, especially in noisy environments, by sending the speech signal directly to the listener’s ear.

HA: Hearing aids

HOH: Hard of Hearing refers to someone with any degree of hearing loss.

IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a law that requires public schools to provide appropriate services for children with disabilities.

IEP: Individual Education Plan is an educational plan created by the school district that defines a child’s school program and services. The IEP pertains to the child’s school programming.

IFSP: Individual Family Service Plan is a plan created for the child between birth and age three that defines a child’s program and services.  The IFSP revolves around the child, family, and community.

ITC: In-the-Canal refers to hearing aids that sit in the ear canal.  They are smaller than ITE hearing aids.

ITE: In-the-Ear refers to hearing aids that fit in the ear.

LRE: Least Restrictive Environment refers to students with disabilities having the right to be educated to the greatest extent possible in the same environments with their non-disabled peers.

LSLS: Listening and Spoken Language Specialists are certified providers that specialize in teaching listening and spoken language to children with hearing loss.

MAP/MAPing:  MAPping is the programming of a cochlear implant where the audiologist sets the amount of electrical stimulation per electrode.

M Level: Most Comfortable Loudness Level on a cochlear implant refers to the maximum amount of electrical stimulation on an electrode for the sound to be comfortably loud.

OAE: Otoacoustic Emissions is often used as a universal newborn hearing screening to screen for hearing loss. It indicates if the inner ear (cochlea) is functioning normally.

OT: Occupational Therapists are professionals who work with students on fine motor, visual perceptual, visual motor, self-help, sensory processing, and motor planning.

PROMPT: PROMPT is an acronym for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets and uses touch cues to the muscles of the mouth to guide the muscles through the movements for speech production.

PT: Physical Therapists are professionals who work with students on gross motor skill development.

PTA: Pure Tone Average is the average thresholds for 500, 1000, 2000 Hz and should approximate the speech recognition threshold.

Sensorineural: Sensorineural hearing loss refers to a hearing loss caused by damage to the cochlea or auditory nerve.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio: Signal to Noise Ratio describes the level of the desired signal (voice/speech) compared to the background noise.

SLP: Speech-Language Pathologist is a therapist trained to work with people with a variety of speech and language disorders on receptive language, expressive language, pragmatic language, articulation, voice, and feeding.

SDT: Speech Detection Threshold refers to the quietest level of sound presented that a person demonstrates awareness that speech is present.

Soundfield: A Soundfield System is a system used within an environment that amplifies the speakers voice within the entire room.

SRT: Speech Recognition Threshold refers to the quietest level of sound that a person can begin to understand speech.

T Coil: A Telecoil or T Switch is a tiny coil inside a hearing aid or cochlear implant that picks up a magnetic signal.  The T Coil functions as a wireless antenna and delivers sound to the listener.

Threshold: Threshold refers to the lowest level of sound that is perceivable.

T Level: Threshold level on a cochlear implant refers to the minimum amount of electrical stimulation needed on an electrode for the person to perceive sound.

TOD: Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a teacher trained to work with children with hearing loss.

Unilateral: Unilateral refers to one side. Usually referring to a hearing loss on one side.


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