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Glossary of Terms

  • ABR

Acronym which stands for 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 ss

  • Acoustic Reflexes

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

  • Audiologist

A person who specializes in the testing and treatment of hearing disorders; Audiologists and Audiological Scientists have different levels of training but the term "Audiologist" is generally used for both; on an implant team, the audiologist is typically responsible for testing before surgery as well as setting and programming the cochlear implant after surgery

  • Audiometry

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-Verbal Therapist┬« (A-VT)

Someone who specializes in teaching children with hearing loss to use hearing to learn language; the Auditory-Verbal (A-V) method is a well-recognized technique that encourages the parents to be the primary language model for their child and concentrates on hearing as a primary means of communication (rather than a visual language such as sign language); rehabilitation at the centre is based on the A-V model

  • Candidate

Someone for whom a cochlear implant is a good option; candidacy will be determined during tests before surgery and an individual will be told if they are a candidate for an implant once these tests have been completed

  • Cochlea

The organ of hearing; located in the temporal bone; also called the "inner ear"

  • Congenital

Condition that happens at birth or very shortly after birth. For example, congenital hearing loss means hearing loss that is present when a baby is first born.

  • CT Scan

Computerized Topography; used to examine the bony structures of the inner ear prior to implant surgery; all candidates will require either an MRI or CT scan prior to surgery; children will need sedation or general anaesthesia for this procedure

  • Diagnostic Habilitation

Sessions with an Auditory-Verbal Therapist that are used to determine the ability of a young child to learn spoken language. Generally, these sessions take place prior to receiving an implant and help the team to determine if a child is using hearing aids to their fullest potential before an implant is considered.

  • ENT

Ear, Nose and Throat; an ENT consultant is a surgeon who specializes in diseases of the ear, nose and throat; cochlear implant surgery will be carried out by an ENT consultant

  • Habilitation

The training of auditory skills; may also be called rehabilitation (or "rehab" for short) if the person already had auditory skills and is learning them again with a cochlear implant

  • Hearing Aid

A device worn behind or in the ear that amplifies sound for someone who is unable to hear

  • Hearing aid trial

A period of time in which a patient wears hearing aids; in paediatric patients especially it is usually necessary that this trial include full time use

  • Hearing Therapist

A person who specializes in the treatment of adults with hearing loss; at the centre, this person is responsible for the rehabilitation of patients who have had cochlear implant surgery

  • Information Session

Session that is offered to give patients more information about cochlear implants. Generally offered as a group session and for paediatric patients, parents are invited to attend without children present.

  • MAP

A programme that is created during a "mapping" session; a MAP tells the speech processor how to code the incoming sound to allow the cochlear implant user to perceive it as sound

  • Mapping

Also known as Programming; setting the levels of the cochlear implant device to allow a user to hear the sounds around them; this will take place over several sessions and will be similar to a traditional hearing test; the audiologist will be the person responsible for setting and mapping the cochlear implant

  • Meningitis

A disease that can be caused by a virus or bacteria and results in inflammation of the membranes which cover the brain; meningitis can result in hearing loss and patients who have had meningitis are often considered for a cochlear implant and must generally be seen quickly due to the risk of ossification; all cochlear implant patients will receive a vaccine against meningitis prior to surgery as a precaution even though there may be no increased risk of meningitis following surgery

  • MRI Scan

Magnetic Resonance Imaging; used to examine the tissue structures in the inner ear prior to implant surgery; all candidates will require either an MRI or CT scan prior to surgery; children will need sedation or general anaesthesia for this procedure

  • OAE

Otoacoustic Emissions; a test of the function of the cochlea; this test is routinely used for newborn hearing screening and also generally tests the function of the cochlea

  • Ossification

Bony growth that can occur in the cochlea due to an infectious process (ie, after meningitis or head trauma); ossification makes insertion of a cochlear implant very difficult or impossible so care is taken to assess individuals who have had meningitis or head trauma as early as possible

  • Otolaryngology

Another name for the Ear, Nose and Throat specialty

  • Programming

See Mapping

  • Receiver/Stimulator

The internal part of the cochlear implant. This part is placed in the ear during surgery and consists of the electronics which allow the cochlear implant to stimulate the auditory nerve

  • Speech Processor

The external portion of a cochlear implant. The speech processor is the part of the implant that collects sound from the environment and delivers it to the internal device across the skin. Most processors are worn behind the ear and are similar to a hearing aid, though often a bit larger.

  • Sensorineural Hearing Lost

Hearing loss that arises from the cochlea or hearing nerve. This is in contrast to a conductive hearing loss, which occurs in the outer or middle portion of the ear (ie, due to wax in the ears or an ear infection). A sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent while a conductive hearing loss can sometimes be correctable.

  • Speech and Language Therapist

A person who specializes in the testing and treatment of speech and language disorders; sometimes shortened into SALT; on the implant team, the speech and language therapist will be responsible for testing before surgery as well as rehabilitation after surgery

  • Switch-on

The session where the cochlear implant speech processor is activated for the first time; generally takes place 2-4 weeks after surgery during which there is no stimulation through the implant; can be a very emotional day for patients and families

  • Tympanometry

Test that is performed to assess the function of the middle ear; can help to diagnose conditions such as middle ear infections and "glue ear"