Hearing Aid and Audiology Terminology

Discover your hearing health dictionary.

Hearing Health Glossary

From audiogram to tinnitus, find all the terms commonly used for hearing loss and hearing aid technology.

Aftercare includes all care and support from your provider after you purchase your hearing aids. This includes regular checkups, hearing aid cleanings, an ear inspection and annual hearing tests.

Airplane ear occurs when air pressure in the middle ear and external ear are out of sync, placing stress on your eardrum and other middle ear tissues. As you know, the problem is often worst when the airplane is taking off or descending. A quick swallow or yawn will usually “pop” the ears and ease the discomfort. 

A hearing test performed by a hearing health care professional comprises several tests that can help to determine whether a patient is suffering from hearing loss. The results from the hearing tests are often displayed in the form of an audiogram, which is a graph that gives a detailed description of your hearing ability.

This is the most traditional model: a small, curved case that fits behind the ear with a thin, transparent tube that runs into the ear canal. Newer models are far less visible than previous generation hearing aids. The BTE hearing aid is highly versatile, providing excellent treatment for most forms of hearing loss.

Molded to fit deep within the ear, CICs are nearly invisible and tend to pick up less external (e.g., wind) noise because they’re protected by the ear itself. See a Miracle-Ear consultant to determine if you’re a candidate for this style, which is typically appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss.

A decibel is a unit used to measure sound. The decibel (dB) scale is based on the sounds our ears can hear in increasing intensity. A decibel level of 0 is almost complete silence. Experts agree that any noise over 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.

Feedback refers to the distracting whistling or high ringing sound that hearing aid wearers sometimes experience. Feedback management means that a hearing aid is equipped with an advanced system to reduce occurrences of feedback.

This simply means you can control the amplification settings of your hearing aid based on the sounds in your environment. The hearing aid can also store those settings so that you can easily switch between environments such as work, home and your favorite restaurant, for example, without having to readjust the settings each time. Furthermore, some hearing aids can even learn your preferred settings and switch between programs automatically as you change environments.

A hearing aid is a small digital device that sits in the ear and aids an individual who has hearing loss. Hearing aids work by processing and amplifying sounds.

Many public settings, such as theaters, stadiums and public transit stations, are equipped with induction loop systems. In these hearing assistive technology systems, microphones transmit sound to a permanently installed induction loop wire (usually located in the ceiling or under the carpet), thus generating a current and creating an electromagnetic signal. When used on a specific setting, hearing aids can pick up this signal directly and wearers can adjust the volume as desired. The effect is the same as having a sound transmitted directly to your ears by your hearing aid.

Smaller than an ITE and very discreet, the ITC fits partly into the ear canal. Due to its small size, the ITC comes with the option of remote-control accessories for easy adjustment. These are best for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Meniere's disease is an inner ear disorder that causes episodes of vertigo (spinning), ear pressure, tinnitus, and hearing loss.

Noise reduction reduces background noise, helping you focus on the important sounds.

Pure tone audiometry is the main hearing test used to identify the different thresholds of hearing an individual can process. It is performed by first projecting pure tones, sounds with specific and orderly wave patterns, into a subject’s ear. The subject then responds to what they can hear. A pure tone audiometry test is one of the primary diagnostic tools hearing specialists use to detect hearing loss.

This is a discreet, comfortable design that is easy to fit. It sits inside the ear canal, like the BTE. This hearing aid is a great choice for those with mild to moderate hearing loss who are sensitive to sensations in their ears.

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the nerves in the inner ear and can be treated with hearing aids. It is also known as noise-induced hearing loss.

The speech banana is the section of an audiogram that corresponds to all the sounds within all languages of human speech. It is named the speech banana because of its curved shape. Hearing specialists are concerned with the speech banana because any hearing difficulty indicated within that area can affect language comprehension and development.

Tinnitus is a condition that causes ringing or buzzing in the ears. This condition can be treated or managed with hearing aids.

When unaidable hearing loss is present in one ear, the Wireless CROS and BiCROS solution is available in some hearing aids to allow you to hear sounds from both sides. 
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