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Explore BCIG's glossary of terms.

ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response)
A test of the hearing system that does not require the patient to respond; typically this test is used in very young children and infants as a means of assessing hearing; an individual must be asleep or sedated during this test.
Acoustic Reflex
An acoustic reflex is an involuntary muscle contraction that occurs in the middle ear in response to loud sound stimuli or when the person starts to vocalise.  A test of the reflex function of the auditory system can be used to estimate hearing because someone with a significant degree of hearing loss will not have an acoustic reflex.
Acoustic stimulation
This is the "normal" auditory process by which pressure waves are perceived as sound when the waves are passed through the outer, middle and inner ear, eventually stimulating the auditory nerve.
Appropriate expectations post-implantation
There is a common assumption that cochlear implants allow people to "hear normally." This is not the case and should not be expected. It is appropriate to expect to have some degree, however great or small, of adjustment to a cochlear implant. This adjustment period may last from a few months to a year or beyond.
Assistive Listening Devices
Pieces of equipment (other than hearing aids or cochlear implants) that can help a person hear, particularly in difficult listening environments e.g. background noise.  These devices are often wireless.
Audiologists are Healthcare Professionals who assess, diagnose and manage disorders of hearing and balance.
The tests that are conducted by an audiologist. May include “air-conduction” tests (ie, sound is delivered using headphones or through a speaker) or “bone conduction” testing (ie, sound is delivered using a bone oscillator which bypasses the middle ear and tests the cochlea directly). The chart that results from audiometry is known as an “audiogram”.
Auditory Nerve
The 8th cranial nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain.
Auditory Neuropathy
A hearing disorder where the inner ear can detect sound but has a problem sending  that sound from the ear to the brain.
Auditory Verbal Therapy
Auditory-Verbal Therapy facilitates optimal acquisition of spoken language through listening by newborns, infants, toddlers, and young children who are deaf or hard of hearing. 
Biological system that enables individuals to know where their bodies are in the environment and to maintain a desired position.  Normal balance depends on information from the labyrinth and inner ear and from other sense such as touch, sight and muscle movement.
Bilateral implantation
Cochlear implants placed in both ears.
British Sign Language
Sign language used in the United Kingdom.  A visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression and body language.
Someone for whom a cochlear implant is a good option – determined through the assessment process.
The organ of hearing.  A hollow, spiral shaped bone found in the temporal bone.  Also referred to as the ‘inner ear’.
Cochlear Implantation
A cochlear implant is a small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to a person who has severe to profound deafness.  The implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin.
Cochlear implantation follow-up appointments
Post-implantation cochlear implant follow-up appointments are necessary to ensure that the device is working properly and set to most closely fit the hearing needs of the recipient. Follow-up appointments vary from individual to individual depending on need.
Coding strategies
The manner in which an acoustic sound pattern is picked up and translated into an electrical signal.
Conductive hearing loss
A hearing loss due to problems in the middle or outer ear.
Congenitally deafened
Deafness present at or soon after birth.
Consultants are senior doctors that have completed full medical training in a specialised area of medicine and are listed on the General Medical Council's specialist register.
CT Scan
Computerised Tomography.   Uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body.  Children will need sedation or general anaesthetic for this procedure.
Unit that measures the intensity or loudness of a sound.
The ability to hear a sound.
The ability to tell the difference between sounds.
Physical unsteadiness, imbalance, or lightheadedness associated with balance and other disorders.
Ear Infection
An ear infection (sometimes called acute otitis media) is an infection of the middle ear, the air-filled space behind the eardrum that contains the tiny vibrating bones of the ear. Children are more likely than adults to get ear infections.
Electric stimulation
The method by which the auditory nerve is stimulated when using a cochlear implant.
Electro Acoustic stimulation
This uses two devices (a cochlear implant and a hearing aid) to cover the full range of hearing.   This can be used if a person  has good low-frequency hearing but a severe to profound high frequency loss.
Electrode array
The portion of the cochlear implant which is surgically placed in the cochlea. The array contains individual electrode contacts which provide electrical stimulation.
The measurement of neural activity in response to a stimulus. Neural activity can be measured by electrodes placed on the skin, and can then in turn be displayed on a computer screen and/or plotted on paper.  Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) and the Auditory Steady State Response (ASSR) are commonly used electrophysiological measures used to estimate hearing sensitivity. They are often used in determining cochlear implant candidacy.
Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct
A condition caused by malformation of the inner ear that leads to loss of hearing and vestibular function.
Eustachian Tube
A canal that links the middle ear with the throat area.
Expressive Language
The ability to express your wants and needs through verbal or non verbal communication.
A measurement of the pitch of sound, for example a squeaky sound is high frequency, a rumbling sound is low frequency. Measured in Hertz.
Habilitation (or ‘Rehab)
Training of auditory skills. Helping someone with hearing loss to maximise their potential.
Hair Cells
Sensory cells of the inner ear, which are topped with hair-like structures (stereocilia), which transform the mechanical energy of sound waves into nerve impulses.
Hearing Aid
Small electronic devices worn behind the ear which makes sounds louder.  Hearing aids are programmed to the specific degree and pattern of hearing loss.
Hearing Aid Trial
A period of time when someone wears hearing aids to establish if they can provide emough benefit in terms of hearing.
Hearing Therapist
A person who specialises in the treatment of adults with hearing loss.
Organ of balance located in the inner ear. The labyrinth consists of three semicircular canals and the vestibule.
A system of symbols in the brain representing objects, actions, and feelings that can be recalled and used to communicate.
This tells the sound processor how to code the incoming sound to allow the cochlear implant user to perceive it as sound.
Also known as programming / fitting / tuning: setting the levels of the cochlear implant device to allow a person to hear the sounds around them.
Meningitis is inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord.
Mixed hearing loss
A hearing loss due to problems in both the middle or outer ear and the inner ear or auditory nerve.
MRI Scan
Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.
Postlingually deaf
Deafness that occurs after speech and language has been established.
Prelingually deaf
Deafness that occurs before the development of speech and language.
Helping someone with hearing loss to maximise their potential.
Research protocols
A detailed plan of a scientific or medical experiment.
Residual hearing
Most deaf people are not totally deaf.  Residual hearing is the hearing that is left.
Sensorineural hearing loss
A hearing loss due to damage either within the inner ear or the auditory nerve.
Severity of hearing loss
Severity of a hearing loss is determined by the air conduction thresholds obtained by an audiologist during a hearing test.
Signal processing
A set of rules that define how the sound processor analyses acoustic signals and codes them for delivery to the cochlear implant.
Sound can be described as a type of vibration that travels through the air in the form of a wave of pressure. Not all sounds are speech.
Speech can be classified as orally produced sound waves shaped by the vocal tract (oral cavity, nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, and the respiratory system) that a listener of that language can derive meaning from. All speech is sound.
Speech production
Ability to produce speech.
Speech recognition or perception testing
Speech recognition or perception testing is one way to determine the benefit obtained by a cochlear implant. When testing for speech recognition, people with cochlear implant are typically required to repeat or recognise speech stimuli (i.e., consonants, vowels, words, or sentences, etc.), either with or without the aid of visual cues and either with or without background noise.  This produces a score.  The score may be compared to the score before implantation, when the person was using hearing aids.

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