Hearing Aids : Glossary and Terms

With the advent of digital technology, new hearing aid terms have emerged every year. We have developed this short glossary to help you further understand your new intruments. Please select a letter below or scroll down to view the glossary of hearing aid terms:

A) B) C) D) E) F) G) H) I) L) M) N) O) P) R) S) T) U) V) W)

 




A

Accuvoice System – Used to control low frequency sounds so your voice does not sound hollow.

Activity Analyzer – Keeps track of listening environments to which you are exposed, so your audiologist can better adjust the hearing aids for your needs.

A/D (Analog to Digital) Converter – the part of the digital chip that takes sound and converts it into a signal the chip can recognize.

Adaptability – the ability of the hearing aid to change its' settings based on the listening environment.

Adaptive Directional Microphone – a directional microphone system capable of activating itself.

Adaptive Directional Microphone with Softswitching - a directional microphone system capable of activating itself and uses special circuitry to make the change more transparent to the wearer.

Advanced Noise Reduction – a more technologically advanced noise reduction system.

Algorithm – the procedure or formula a digital processor uses to calculate what needs to be done with sound as it goes through your hearing aid.

Aliasing – occurs when a sound is not converted properly from analog to digital. The sound is reconstructed at a different frequency causing distortion.

American Speech Language Hearing Association (CCC-A) – an organization that provides standards for certification of audiologists. CCC-A designates an ASHA certified audiologists.

Amplifier (Amplification) – an electronic component that increases the loudness of sound.

Analog Hearing Aid – a basic hearing aid that amplifies sound based on your audiogram.

Anti-Aliasing Filter – filter within a digital chip that prevents aliasing.

Articulation Index Weighted Directivity Index (AI-DI) – a means to calculate the benefit of a directional microphone system.

Artificial Intelligence – term used by Oticon to describe their hearing aids ability to make changes without the wearer doing anything.

Asymmetrical Hearing Loss – the degree of hearing loss in one ear is greater than the other.

Audibility – the level at which a sound can be heard.

Audiologist – a Masters ( MS ) or Doctorate ( AuD ) level professional with an educational focus in hearing sciences and hearing disorders.

Audiogram – a chart used to plot an individuals scores from a hearing test.

Audiometer – Electronic equipment used to perform a hearing test.

Automatic Telecoil – programmable telecoil that activates automatically when a telephone is placed near.

Automatic Volume Control – the hearing aid automatically adjusts the volume for the wearer.

Back to the top

B

Background Noise – generally refers to the presence of other sound in an environment that is not the speech one is trying to hear.

Band – a range of frequencies that can be adjusted in a hearing independent of other frequencies

Bandwidth – the total area of frequency that a hearing amplifies generally from about 125Hz to 5500KHz

Battery – the power source for a hearing aid

Behind the Ear Hearing Aid (BTE) – style of hearing aid in which the components are placed behind the ear and the sound is delivered to the ear through a tube connect to an ear mold.

Bilateral Hearing Loss – a hearing loss in both ears

Bluetooth - a type of wireless connection for electronic devises

Bone Conduction Hearing Aid – a hearing aid that transfers sound through the skull instead of the ear canal.

Back to the top

C

Cerumen – earwax

Channel – a section of frequencies controlled by the hearing aids compression circuitry. Hearing aids can have as few as 1 channel and as many as the manufacturer wants to use.

Circuit Board – the piece inside the hearing aid that contains the digital chip

Clinic – a professional medical oriented office.

Clock Generator – a circuit that provides the timing signal to synchronize the hearing aids operations.

Completely In Canal Hearing Aid (CIC) – the smallest style of hearing aid in which all or nearly all of the aid is placed inside the ear canal.

Cochlea – small snail shaped organ in which sound is processed and then sent to the brain.

Cochlear Implant – type of hearing devise which part of is surgically connected to the cochlea and embedded in the skull. The other part is plugged into the port in the skull and contains the hearing aid portion.

Compression – a type of circuitry that is used to keep soft sounds audible and loud sounds comfortable.

Conductive Hearing Loss – hearing loss due to damage to the conductive portion -of the auditory system such as the eardrum or the bones in the middle ear

Back to the top

D

D/A (Digital to Analog) Converter – changes the digital signal coming out of the amplifier into an analog sound that we can understand..

Data Logging – feature in some digital products that keeps a record of what kind of environments the user has been exposed to, battery life, hours of usage, etc., and may even make recommendations for adjustments.

Deaf – a person that is not able to perceive sound and / or understand speech, even when amplified.

Decibel (dB) – a measurement of the loudness of a sound

Digital – a type of amplifier system that changes analog sound into a series of numbers for processing.

Digital Bionics – Phonak product name for a digital system that claims to mimic natural hearing,

Digital Signal Processor - a microprocessor that converts analog sound to digital signal.

Digital Processor – see digital signal processor

Digital Speech Enhancement – the enhancement of speech signals by a digital processor to make speech more readily distinguished from noise.

Digital Surround Zoom – Phonak name for an adaptive directional microphone system.

Direct Audio Input – generally only available on BTE hearing aids, enables the wearer to directly connect an electronic sound source to their hearing aid.

Directional Imaging (PDI) – Starkey name for their directional microphone system.

Directional Microphone – multiple microphone system that amplifies sound from the front mor than sound from the rear for better hearing in noise.

Dual Band Directional Microphone - a directional microphone system that separates high and low frequencies, providing more emphasis on high frequency for better speech understanding.

D3 Directional Microphones – Sonic Innovations brand name for the directional microphone system used in their Innova product.

Directional Speech Detector (DSD) Directional Microphones – Directional Microphone system used in Starkey Destiny and Microtech Radius products.

Directional Polar Pattern – the area in relation to the head in which a directional microphone provides full amplification.

Disposable Hearing Aid – a hearing aid designed to be worn and then thrown away when the battery dies.

Dither – noise added to sound to reduce distortion

Dynamic Range – the range between wear a person begins to hear sound and sound becomes uncomfortable.

Back to the top

E

E2E Wireless Communication – Siemens product that enables one hearing aid to make the same adjustments to the other hearing aid. Turn up the volume on one and it will automatically adjust the volume on the other aid.

Ear – the organ of hearing comprised of the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear, but is more commonly used to refer to the portion of the ear that is visible, the pinna.

Ear Canal – channel on the side of the head that the pinna directs sound down to the eardrum.

Ear Drum – the tympanic membrane – thin membrane that separates the outer ear from the middle ear; sound vibrates the membrane which transfers the energy to the bones of the middle ear.

Ear Wax (Cerumen)- glandular excretion in the ear canal which is designed to help keep foreign objects from entering the ear canal.

Earmold – a lucite or silicon piece, usually custom made, that is inserted in the ear in order to connect a hearing aid or for hearing protection.

Echo Block – component in Phonak Savia that is designed to reduce reverberated sound, or echo.

EEPROM (Electrical Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) – the memory area of a hearing aids digital processor.

ePocket Remote Control – Siemens remote control.

Back to the top

F

Feedback – the whistling sound that occurs when sound from a speaker loops back to the microphone.

Active Feedback Intercept – Starkey's Destiny and Micotech's Radius feedback cancellation product.

Feedback Cancellation – the removal of feedback by producing a signal exactly opposite of the feedback signal.

Feedback Suppression – control of feedback by reducing the frequency where the feedback has occurred.
Fluctuating Hearing Loss – hearing loss that does not stay constant but is improved on some days and worse on others.

Frequency – the measurement of the number of times an event occurs in a specific time. The more often the higher the frequency.

Frequency Band – in hearing aids refers to the divisions of frequencies that can be adjusted for volume independently from other frequency bands.

 

- High Frequency – sounds on the higher end of the speech frequency range. Perceived as high tone or treble, soft consonants such as f and s.

- Low Frequency – sounds on the lower end of the speech frequency range. Perceived as low tones or bass, vowels are generally low frequency

Full Shell Hearing Aid (FS) – style of hearing aid that fills the bowl of the ear.

Back to the top

G

Gain – the volume added to a sound after amplification.

Granulation Noise – audible distortion in amplified sound.

Group Delay – the time delay between the input and output of a sound.

Back to the top

H

Half Shell Hearing Aid (HS) – style of hearing aid that fills approximately half of the bowl of the ear.

Hearing – the transfer of sound through the auditory system ( outer, middle, and inner ear ) to the brain.

Hearing Aid – an electronic devise used to improve damaged hearing.

Digital Hearing Aid – a hearing aid with a digital processor that converts analog sound to digital, and then back to analog.

Analog Hearing Aid – a standard hearing aid that amplifies sound in an analog format.

Hearing test – series of tests performed with an audiometer that measures a persons hearing loss based on subjective response.

Hearing Loss – any reduction of a persons ability to hear sound below a sound level of 25 decibels between the ranges of 250 Hertz and 8000 Hertz. (see Decibel, Frequency, and Hertz)

 

-Asymmetrical Hearing Loss – the degree of hearing loss in one ear is greater than the other.

-Bilateral Hearing Loss – hearing loss in both ears.

-Conductive Hearing Loss – hearing loss due to damage to the conductive portion -of the auditory system such as the eardrum or the bones in the middle ear.

-Fluctuating Hearing Loss – hearing loss that does not stay constant but is improved on some days and worse on others.

-Mixed Hearing Loss - a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.

-Mild Hearing Loss (20 -40 decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls between 20 – 40 decibels.

-Moderate Hearing Loss (40-60 decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls between 40 – 60 decibels.

-Profound Hearing Loss (over 80 decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls at 80 decibels or worse.

-Progressive Hearing Loss – a hearing loss that becomes progressively worse over time.

-Sensorineural Hearing Loss – hearing loss due to damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or the nerve pathway from the cochlea to the brain.

-Severe Hearing Loss (60-80 decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls between 60 – 80 decibels.
-Stable Hearing Loss – a hearing loss that has not changed for several years.

-Sudden Hearing Loss – a hearing loss that occurs with a rapid onset requiring immediate medical treatment.

-Symmetrical Hearing Loss – hearing loss that is the same or very similar in both ears.

-Unilateral Hearing Loss – hearing loss in only one ear.

Hertz (Hz) – measurement of the speed of a sound wave, one cycle per second = 1Hz

High Frequency – sounds on the higher end of the speech frequency range. Perceived as high tone or treble, soft consonants such as f and s.

High Power BTE – behind the ear hearing aid designed for hearing losses in the severe to profound range.

High Tone – high frequency sounds such as a soft s or f, crickets, children's voices, treble.

Back to the top

I

Impression – a silicon cast of the shape of the ear and canal used to make custom hearing aids and ear molds.

Intelligibility- how easily a sound, especially speech, is understood.

In The Canal Hearing Aid (ITC) – style of hearing aid that resides primarily in the ear canal, but also extends into the bowl of the ear.

In The Ear Hearing Aid (ITE) - a style of hearing aid that fills the bowl of the ear (also called full shell)

Inverted Phase Feedback Canceller – a more advanced form of phase cancellation with improved performance. (see phase cancellation)

Back to the top

L

Listening Program – an individual memory program in a digital hearing aid with multiple memories accessed through a push button or remote control.

Listening Environment – another term for listening program.

Low Frequency – sounds on the lower end of the speech frequency range. Perceived as low tones or bass, vowels are generally low frequency

Low Frequency Roll Off Algorithm – circuitry that reduces low frequency amplification when activated to reduce background noise.

Low Tone – low frequency sounds such as vowels and hard consonants, bass.

Back to the top

M

Manual Volume Control– the wearer adjusts the volume setting.

Megahertz (Mhz) – 1 million hertz

Memory (Memories) – the area within the digital circuit that stores the information programmed for your hearing loss. Some hearing aids have more than one memory. The additional memories are programmed for specific situations such as noise or telephone use.

Memory Change Indicator – a beep signal that is given to let the wearer know when the have pushed their button and changed memories.

Meniere’s disease - affects the membranous inner ear and is characterized by deafness, dizziness (vertigo), and ringing in the ear (tinnitus).

Mild Hearing Loss (20 -40 decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls between 20 – 40 decibels.

Mixed Hearing Loss - a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. (see sensorineural and conductive)

Moderate Hearing Loss (40-60 decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls between 40 – 60 decibels.

Multi-band Dual Mode – Oticon's dual band directional microphone system in their Synchro product.

Multi-band Adaptive Directional Microphones – directional microphone systems that are capable of suppressing more than one sound source at a time in different frequencies.

Multi Channel Directional Optimization – Siemens’ multiple channel directional microphone system in the Acuris product line.

Mini Canal Hearing Aid – style of hearing aid slightly larger than a CIC and smaller than an ITC.

Back to the top

N

Nanoscience – studying and working with matter on an ultra small scale.

Noise – sound perceived as unwanted

Noise Reduction – reducing the perception of noise

Back to the top

O

Omnidirectional – type of microphone that picks up sound from all around.

Open Ear Acoustics – method of fitting hearing aids so that the ear canal is left as open as possible.

Open Ear Hearing Aid – a hearing aid designed to fit over the ear with a thin tube or wire running into the ear, and a small, soft plastic tip. The tip has holes to keep from blocking the ear canal so that the user does not feel plugged. Open Ear hearing aids are primarily used for high frequency hearing loss.

Back to the top

P

Phase Cancellation – cancellation of sound by creating a sound exactly opposite.

  -Inverted Phase Feedback Canceller – a more advanced form of phase cancellation with improved performance.

Processor – the part of a digital chip where information is interpreted and changed based on the instructions that have been programmed into the processor.

Processing Power – how fast a processor works.

Profound Hearing Loss (over 80 Decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls at 80 decibels or worse.

Program – refers to a set of instructions given to the processor.

Programmable Telecoil – a telecoil that is connected to one of the memory slots of a hearing aid and can be programmed to the users needs apart from the other memories.

Programming- creating and sending the program to the processor.

Progressive Hearing Loss – a hearing loss that becomes progressively worse over time.

PROM (Programmable Read-Only Memory) - the memory portion of the hearing aid in which programming information is stored.

PxP Matrix (Extreme Power Matrix) – Starkey DaVinci PxP, a brand name for their super high power hearing aid.

Back to the top

R

Receiver – the speaker of the hearing aid

Reverberation – sound being reflected off of a surface.

Back to the top


S

Sampling Rate – the rate at which incoming analog sounds are taken and converted to digital form.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss – hearing loss due to damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or the nerve pathway from the cochlea to the brain.

Severe Hearing Loss (60-80 decibels) where the softest sound perceptible at any frequency tested falls between 60 – 80 decibels.

Shell – The outer portion of the hearing aid that is custom formed to fit the ear.

Sound Waves - Sound is made up of molecules of air that move and when they push together the form waves.

Sound Navigation – automatic feature in Phonak Savia that changes the hearing aid between 4 different programs dependent on the environment.

Speech Comfort System – Siemens noise management system in the Triano products.

Speech Understanding – also called discrimination, refers to the ability to understand speech when amplified to a comfortable level.

Stable Hearing Loss – a hearing loss that has not changed for several years.

Sudden Hearing Loss – a hearing loss that occurs with a rapid onset requiring immediate medical treatment.

Symmetrical Hearing Loss – hearing loss that is the same or very similar in both ears.

Back to the top

T

Telecoil – devise in a hearing aid that can connect with the magnetic coils of a telephone and transgfer the sound through the hearing aid without feedback.

 

- Automatic Telecoil – programmable telecoil that activates automatically when a telephone is placed near.

- Programmable Telecoil – a telecoil that is connected to one of the memory slots of a hearing aid and can be programmed to the users needs apart from the other memories.

Tone – the perceived frequency of a note or sound

 

- High Tone – high frequency sounds such as a soft s or f, crickets, children's voices, treble

- Low Tone – low frequency sounds such as vowels and hard consonants, bass.

TriState Noise Management – the noise management system in Oticon Sumo DM which combines VoiceFinder speech detection and noise management.

Back to the top

U

Unilateral Hearing Loss – hearing loss in only one ear.

Back to the top

V

Vent – an air channel in the hearing aid or earmold to alleviate pressure and reduce low frequency amplification.

Voice Aligned Compression – multiple band compression strategy in Oticon Syncro II.

VoiceFinder – noise management system in Oticon Adapto.

Voice Priority Processing – processing strategy that combines adaptive directional microphones, noise management, and compression to provide maximum speech understanding and comfort.

Volume Control – component of the hearing aid that turns the volume up or down

 

-Automatic Volume Control – the hearing aid automatically adjusts the volume for the wearer.

-Manual Volume Control– the wearer adjusts the volume setting.

Back to the top

 

W

Warp Processing – a type of digital processing that improves execution time and energy consumption

Warranty – the period of time for which a hearing is covered for repairs and/or loss and damage.

Wide Dynamic Range Compression (WDRC) – hearing aid processing type that works to keep soft sounds audible and loud sounds comfortable.

Wind Noise Manager – device within a digital processor that reduces the sound of wind noise on the microphone.

Back to the top

For More Information About Digital Hearing Aids, Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss, Hearing Aid, Siemens, Starkey, MicroTech, GN ReSound, Widex, Rexton, Sonic Innovations, Unitron, and Phonak, please visit AidRight.com