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Glossary: D



When the word ‘deaf’ is written with a lowercase d, it usually refers to the audiological experience of deafness. This means someone who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing. The National Deaf Children’s Society uses the word ‘deaf’ to refer to any level of hearing loss.


When the word ‘Deaf’ is written with a capital D, it refers to the cultural experience of deafness. When someone identifies as Deaf, they identify as a member of the Deaf community and share a sense of Deaf culture with other members of the Deaf community. Most people who identify as Deaf use sign language.

Deaf awareness

An understanding of the types and levels of deafness, deaf culture and language, terminology used to talk about deafness, access issues deaf people face and how to communicate in a deaf-friendly way.

Decibel (dB)

A unit of measurement used to measure sound level. Different levels of deafness can be described as a decibel (dB) hearing level (how loud a sound has to be for your child to hear it) or by using the terms mild, moderate, severe or profound.

Department for Education (DfE) – England

A government department that is responsible for education and children's services in England.

Department of Education (DE) – Northern Ireland

A government department that aims to promote the education of the people of Northern Ireland and to ensure the effective implementation of education policy.

Department for Education and Skills (DfES) – Wales

Government department responsible for education, training and children's services in Wales.

Direct audio input

Allows you to connect your child's hearing instrument directly to other audio equipment, such as a radio aid, tablet, laptop or mobile phone.

Direct input leads

These can be used with hearing aids which have a direct input facility for use with a music system.  One end of the lead plugs into the music system. The other plugs into a shoe connected to the bottom of the hearing aid. The microphone on the hearing aid usually stays on so that children can still listen to the sounds around them. For children with a cochlear implant, the cochlear implant team may be able to request a special lead.


The legal definition of ‘disability’ is when a person has a physical or mental impairment or illness which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Long-term means lasting, or likely to last, at least 12 months.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - England, Northern Ireland and Wales

A benefit for disabled children and young people up to the age of 16. DLA helps to cover the additional cost of raising a child with a disability or long-term health condition.


The chemical that genes and chromosomes are made from.

Dominant gene

When one altered copy of a gene can cause an effect or condition even if there’s a second working copy of the gene. 


A small drill used to help remove old tubing from an earmould.