Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

Glossary of Terms

Age at Onset – The age at which a person’s hearing becomes impaired.

ALD and ALS – Technical tools to assist hard of hearing people with or without a hearing aid. They bring the speakers voice directly to the ear. They help overcome the problems of distance and surrounding noise.

ALD – Assistive Listening Device for personal use.

ALS – Assistive Listening System for groups of people.

Amplification – The use of hearing aids or any other mechanics used by a person with a hearing impairment to amplify sound.

Amplified Phone – Phones equipped with volume controls on the handset.

ASL (American Sign Language) – A natural visual-gestural language with syntax, structure, and grammar rules different from English.

Audiogram – A graph used to record the results of a hearing evaluation.

Audiology – The science of hearing, including the evaluation of hearing impairments and the rehabilitation of people with hearing impairments.

Closed-Captioning Decoder – A device which allows closed captioning to be seen on a television screen.

Compatible Phone – A phone which generates an induction signal that can be picked up by a hearing aid telecoil. Federal law requires that all corded phones sold in the United States must be hearing aid compatible.

Conductive Hearing Loss – The loss of sound sensitivity produced by abnormalities of the outer and/or middle ear.

Cued Speech – The use of handshapes and placements around the mouth to aid in the recognition of spoken words – used in some parts of the country extensively, and not much in other areas.

Cued Speech Transliterator – Transliterators translate from spoken language to the visual mode of communication Cued Speech. Transliterators provide real-time access to all information occurring in the classroom.

Cumulative Trauma Disorder – A painful physical condition, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, that is caused by overuse and repetitive motion without sufficient breaks for resting.

Deaf Person – One whose hearing loss makes it impossible for him/her to understand speech and language with or without the use of hearing aids.

Decibel – A unit for expressing the intensity (loudness) of sounds.

Degree of Hearing Loss – The extent of hearing impairment usually categorized as “slight,” “mild,” “moderate,” “severe,” or “profound.”

Dual Party Relay – Three-way telephone access system linking Deaf and Hard of Hearing callers using an agent who has access to both parties.

Etiology of Hearing Loss – The cause of a hearing loss.

Frequency – It is the subjective impression of highness or lowness of a sound (pitch).

Hard of Hearing Person – One whose hearing loss makes it difficult, but not impossible, for him/her to understand speech and language with or without the use of hearing aids.

Interpreter – A trained professional, fluent in both English and American Sign Language, who is bound by a code of ethics to facilitate communication between deaf and hearing persons.

Notetaker – a person, typically a student in the class, who takes notes and provides them to the student with a disability. Notes include lecture information, diagrams and notes from class as well as threads of class discussions.

Open Caption – Text that appears on the television screen that conveys the spoken information – does not require a decoder.

Oral Interpreting – A form of interpreting in which the interpreter mouths without voice what is being said so the person who is deaf or hard of hearing can speechread more easily.

Real Time Captioning – Captioning that is provided simultaneously as a spoken word using a computerized software program.

Residual Hearing – Any usable hearing that a person may have.

RID – Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, the organization responsible for testing and certifying interpreters, and the formation of the Code of Ethics.

Section 504 – Section 504 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Pub. L. No. 93-112, as amended). It protects the civil rights of people with disabilities in many environments including college settings.

Sensorioneural Hearing Loss – The loss of sound sensitivity produced by abnormalities of the inner ear or the eighth cranial nerve pathway beyond the inner ear to the brain.

Speechreading (also known as lipreading) – The process of watching a person’s mouth movements and facial expressions to ascertain what is being said. Speechreading ability varies from person to person and can be influenced by factors such as the amount of usable hearing a person has and their knowledge of spoken English. Other factors can include the amount of light and the noise level of the environment.

“T” Switch – A switch on a hearing aid that is compatible with telephone use, allowing the user to cut off all competing sounds.

Tactile Interpreting – A form of interpreting with individuals who are deaf blind which involves them receiving information by placing their hands on the interpreter’s hands during the interpretation.

TTY (formerly TDD) – A Telecommunications Device for the Deaf, used by those who cannot communicate on the phone. A typewriter-like unit prints the conversation on a screen or paper so that it can be read. A TTY must connect with another TTY or a computer. The transmission is with a special coding call Baudot.

Type of Loss – The nature of a hearing impairment, usually classified as “conductive,” “sensori-neural,” or “mixed.”