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Glossary: A


A metal fixing attached to the skull which allows a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid to be attached or removed easily.


The science of sound.  This often refers to the quality of the sound environment.  For example, good classroom acoustics are achieved by a low level of background noise and low reverberation time.

Acquired deafness

When children are born hearing but become deaf (often as a result of illness such as Meningitis).

Acquired hearing loss

Hearing loss that was not present at birth but developed later, either during childhood or adulthood.

Additional Learning Needs (ALN)

This applies in Wales where a child requires additional support to benefit from education. A child or young person has ALN if they have a learning difficulty or disability that makes it harder for them to learn if they are not given extra support that is not normally given to other learners their age.

Additional Support for Learning

This applies in Scotland where a child requires additional support in order to benefit from education. Additional Support can include a Personal Learning Plan, Individual Educational Programme or Coordinated Support Plan for example.

Additional Support Needs Tribunal Scotland

Considers appeals (references) made by parents and young people against decisions of Education Authorities regarding the provision of educational support in Scotland.


The causes of deafness.

Alerting devices

Equipment which lets deaf people know when something is happening, using either light, vibration, sound or a combination. For example, there are alarm clocks which have a vibrating pad which can be put under the pillow or mattress, and a flashing light.  Other  items include doorbell alerters, smoke detectors, personal pagers, and telephone indicators, for example.

Amplification or amplify

Makes sounds louder

Amplified telephone

These telephones have a high volume setting, or a  telecoil in the handset which allows the user to switch their hearing instrument to "T" in order to hear the caller.  NDCS loans out amplified telephones through our Technology Test Drive

Annual Review

A yearly review meeting about a child's Statement of special educational needs or Coordinated Support Plan. The main purpose is to monitor your child's progress and to see if the Statement or Support Plan needs to be changed.

Anti-bullying policy

An official, agreed way of preventing and dealing with all forms of bullying. Headteachers must, by law, implement an anti-bullying policy. 


In relation to deafness, atresia is the absence of ear canal.  Microtia is frequently accompanied by atresia.


Reduces the level of sound heard through a stetoclip and allows you to listen to powerful hearing aids at a comfortable volume.


A chart on which some of your child's hearing test results will be written.  It shows you how loud a sound has to be, and at what frequency, before your child can hear it.  Sometimes separate charts will be used to show results for each ear. 

Audiologist or clinical scientist (audiology)

The audiologist or clinical scientist (audiology) is the person who carries out the hearing tests on your child. They will interpret the information given by the hearing tests to determine the level of deafness, and should tell you the options available. They also make  earmoulds,  fit hearing aids and review your child's progress with their hearing aids.     

Audiovestibular physician

An audiovestibular (or audiological) physician is a consultant doctor who specialises in the investigation, diagnosis, medical and rehabilitative management of hearing and balance disorders. 

Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR)

This hearing test measures whether sound is being sent from the cochlea through the auditory (hearing) nerve to the brain.  Three small sensors and a set of headphones will be placed on the child's head.  For an accurate result, the child must be very still and quiet throughout the test. 

Auditory Nerve

The auditory (or hearing) nerve carries signals from the cochlea to the brain where they are understood as sound.

Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder (ANSD)

These terms describe a particular type of hearing loss.  Sounds may be transmitted normally through the middle ear and the cochlea but then do not transmit normally from the cochlea, or along the auditory nerve.  This means that the sound heard is probably very distorted.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

Difficulty with listening and making sense of sound, especially in environments with lots of background noise.  However hearing levels are usually normal.


One of the chromosomes that is the same in men and women – the majority of all our chromosomes except sex chromosomes.