Analog hearing aid: Most basic form of hearing instrument that amplifies sounds.

Asymmetrical hearing loss: Hearing loss affecting only one ear or worse in one ear than the other.

Audible: Level at which a sound can be heard.

Audiologist: A hearing care professional with a medical doctorate (Au.D.) in the science of hearing and hearing disorders.

Audiogram: Charted result of scores from a hearing test vital to assessing hearing loss.

Audiometer: Electronic device used to perform an audiogram.

Auricle: The visible outer portion of the ear (see also: pinna).

Bandwidth: The range of frequencies within a given band or used to transmit a signal.

BTE: Style of hearing aid that fits behind the ear and has a tube that is inserted in the ear.

Bilateral: Refers to loss of hearing in both ears.

Bluetooth®: A short range, low power-consuming network technology that enables wireless connectivity between electronic devices through use of short-wave radio frequencies.

BAHA: Bone attached hearing appliance that is attached via a tiny screw to the bone and transfers sound through the skull.

Cerumen: More commonly known as earwax; naturally lines the ear canal and protects the inner ear from penetration by dirt, insects, and other foreign matter.

CIC: Small hearing aid that is inserted completely in the canal of the ear.

Cochlea: The snail-shaped organ deep inside the ear that process sound waves and sends them to the brain.

Cochlear Implant: Device that is partially surgically attached to the skull and enables hearing in many profoundly hard-of-hearing patients; most frequently initially implanted in very young children.

Compression: Used in more advanced hearing aids to amplify softer sounds more than louder sounds for greater hearing comfort.

Conductive hearing loss: Hearing loss due to damage of the eardrum or tiny bones of the middle ear.

Decibel (dB): Unit that measures how loud a sound is.

Digital hearing aid: Advanced unit that converts an analog signal into digital (series of numbers), distinguishes speech from noise, then converts sound back to analog for hearing.

Ear canal: Connects the outside part of the ear (pinna) to the interior of the head and directs sound to the eardrum.

Eardrum: Thin membrane between outer and middle ear that vibrates with sound, transferring the sound wave to the tiny bones of the middle ear.

Ear mold: Portion of the hearing aid that is made to fit in a specific wearer’s ear.

Feedback: Occurs when sound is recycled to a microphone; often occurs when one electronic device is close to another (hearing aid and a telephone). Sound often described as high-pitched whistle, whine, or squeal.

Frequency: Rate at which sound waves occur or are repeated within a specific time or sample. High frequency refers to sounds on the high end of speech (i.e., children’s voices); low frequency refers to sounds on the lower end of speech (i.e., bass).

Gain: A volume increase after a sound is amplified.

Hearing aid provider: A location that sells, fits, and maintains hearing aids. Some hearing aid providers are staffed by hearing care professionals as well as hearing aid specialists.

Hearing care professional: A person certified to diagnose hearing loss and attendant conditions. Some hearing care professionals are also hearing aid providers.

Hearing aid specialist: A person who sells, fits, and services hearing aids.

Impression: A cast of the ear and ear canal taken using a moldable material that harden once removed from the ear, like silicon. Used to create a custom hearing aid or ear mold.

Induction loop system: Electromagnetic communication system used in assisted listening systems to accommodate hearing impaired individuals in certain venues. Delivers announcements, lectures, and other information directly into hearing instruments without distortion.

Incus: One of the three tiny bones in the middle ear (aka the “anvil”).

Intelligibility: Ease with which a sound or speech can be understood

ITC: Hearing aid that inserts from the bowl of the ear into the canal.

ITE: Hearing aid that sits in the bowl of the ear.

Malleus: One of the three tiny bones of the middle ear (aka the “hammer”).

Meniere’s disease: Condition affecting the inner ear that causes hearing loss (sometimes temporary), vertigo, tinnitus, and other symptoms.

Mixed hearing loss: Combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

Occlusion: Sensation of obstruction or blockage (muffled sound) sometimes experienced by hearing aid wearers.

Ossicles: The three tiny bones behind the eardrum that form a bridge from the middle to the inner ear. Includes the malleus, incus, and stapes.

Pinna: Another name for the outermost portion of your ear (see also: auricle).

Presbycusis: Hearing loss brought on by the aging process.

Program: Sets of instructions for hearing for specific individuals and/or different environments entered into the hearing aid. Hearing aids may have multiple programs.

Receiver: The speaker component of a hearing aid.

Sensorineural hearing loss: Type of hearing loss due to damage to the cochlea or communication path between cochlea and brain. May be caused by illness or aging process.

Stapes: One of the three tiny bones in the middle ear (aka the “stirrup”).

Symmetrical hearing loss: Loss of hearing that is the same or very close to the same in both ears.

Telecoil: Also referred to as T-Coil; tiny receiver built into some hearing aids that allows sound to come in directly from a telephone or other electronics, including induction loop systems.

Tinnitus: Chronic noise without a known source; often described as “ringing” or “humming” sounds.

Vent: Air channel build into hearing aid or ear mold to reduce pressure in the ear.