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Here are some terms that may not be fully understood.
  • ASL: American Sign Language, a signed language that developed from various sources, that has its own grammar and syntax. Contrary to popular belief, ASL is not signed English, and the two languages are vastly different.

  • Audiogram: displays results from a hearing test. An audiogram is a graph that shows the softest sounds a person can hear at different pitches or frequencies. The closer the marks are to the top of the graph, the softer the sounds that person can hear. A visualization of an audiogram can be found here.

  • Audiologists: the primary healthcare professionals who evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage hearing loss and balance disorders in people of all ages.

  • Bilateral hearing loss: hearing loss in both ears.

  • Cochlear implant: an assistive device that is surgically implanted into a d/Deaf person’s skull, bypassing damaged ear structures, providing electrical stimulation directly to that person’s auditory nerve to approximate hearing. Cochlear implants are not easily removable and do not cure hearing loss. People with cochlear implants are still d/Deaf since they cannot hear if they do not wear their external implant processor.

  • Congenital: from birth

  • Cultural perspective: members of the Deaf Community view deafness through a cultural lens, which emphasizes that d/Deaf people are a unique minority group that shares experiences, values, and norms, language, and tacit rules for interaction.

  • “deaf”: the lowercase spelling of this term identifies people who have a measurable hearing loss.

  • “Deaf”: the uppercase spelling of this term indicates people who have a measurable hearing loss, use ASL, follow the values and norms of Deaf Culture, and may not view their hearing loss as a disability.

  • Deaf Community: the minority cultural and linguistic identification for people who are d/Deaf, use ASL, and associate with other d/Deaf people.

  • Degrees of hearing loss:

    • Mild hearing loss: Noises need to be 25 to 40 dB higher than normal to be heard

    • Moderate hearing loss: Noises need to be 40 to 55 dB higher than normal to be heard.

    •  Moderate-to-severe hearing loss: Noises need to be 55 to 70 dB higher than normal to be heard.

    • Severe hearing loss: Noises need to be 70 to 90 dB higher than normal to be heard.

    •  Profound loss: Noises need to be 90 dB or more to be heard.

  •  A visualization of the degrees of hearing loss can be found here.

Child at the Pediatrician
  • Early intervention services: free or low-cost support to provide help to parents and their young children. To find the early intervention services in your state, click here.

  • Hearing aids: removable assistive devices that amplify sounds enough that someone with a hearing loss can benefit. In people with less severe hearing loss, hearing aids may be an adequate intervention, but hearing aids often do not benefit people with more severe or profound hearing loss.

  • Hearing impaired: preferred term used by medical and educational professionals to indicate a person with a hearing loss. Members of the Deaf Community do not like this term, as it simplifies their identity to one of sensory loss, rather than cultural gain.

  • Individual family support plan (IFSP): when a child is found to need early intervention services, professionals and parents collaborate on an IFSP, a written document that outlines the early intervention services children and their families will receive. Common early intervention services for d/Deaf children include speech and language therapy, audiology, sign language education, and occupational therapy.

  •  Language deprivation: an entirely preventable phenomenon that occurs due to a chronic lack of full access to a natural language during the critical period of language acquisition, approximately the first five years of a child’s life.

  •  Medical perspective: hearing professionals, like audiologists, pediatricians, and educational experts, view deafness and disability as a negative state. People who follow the medical perspective of disability seek to “cure” the hearing loss and typically encourage spoken English over ASL.

  • ·Oralism: Coming into prominence with eugenics and the quest for ideal humans, advocates of oralism firmly believe that the acquisition of spoken language is of utmost importance. Oralists, believing that learning and using ASL would prevent deaf children from speaking, strongly discourage manual language.

  • Otolaryngologist: also known as an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor, these doctors are trained in the medical and surgical treatment of hearing loss and related problems.

  • Sensorineural hearing loss: permanent hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear or the nerve between the ear and brain.

  • Social perspective: identifies systemic barriers, derogatory attitudes, and social exclusion (intentional or not), which makes it difficult or impossible for individuals with disabilities to reach their full potential. The social perspective situates the disability not within the individual, but rather with the inaccessible society around them.

  • “Speech banana”: is a useful visual tool for describing where the sounds and phonemes used in everyday human speech occur on an audiogram. It indicates the audible frequency that the sound is typically heard and perceived at. The banana-shaped range on an audiogram covers the frequencies and decibels that are needed to understand speech. Contained within the speech banana are letters and letter combinations for these sounds. Click here for more information and a graphic of the speech banana.

  • Unilateral hearing loss: hearing loss in only one ear.

Mother and Son
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