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Glossary: E


Also known as the tympanic membrane, the eardrum is a thin membrane at the end of the ear canal.  Sound waves cause it to vibrate.

Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT)

A hospital department and/or doctor that specialises in conditions of the ear, nose or throat.

Early Years Action

Early Years Action is additional support provided by the nursery if they feel your chid is not making expected progress.  This could be through being given slightly different activities to complete, more adult support when working on an activity or more focused work in specific areas of learning.

Early Years Action Plus

The next level of support at Nursery if Early Years Action is not meeting your child's needs.  Professional expertise may be necessary from specialists outside the Nursery, for example a Teacher of the deaf.

Early years support worker

A person who supports deaf children (from birth to two years old) and their families, and specialises in deafness in very young children. Early years support workers can be health visitors, social workers, teachers of deaf children etc. 


An earmould is the part of the hearing aid that fits into the ear. An impression is taken of the ear by the audiologist which is then used to make the earmould from an acrylic or silicone material. It should fit tightly into the ear to make sure that all the amplified sound from the hearing aid travels into the ear. Loose fitting earmoulds will cause escaping sound to re-enter the microphone and cause feedback (or whistling).  

Earmould puffer

Used to blow moisture out of an earmould and tubing.

Educational audiologist

A qualified teacher of the deaf, who also has a recognised qualification in audiology. They are usually employed by education support services or in schools for the deaf. They often provide or participate in hearing testing and hearing aid reviews for children in joint clinics within the community or hospital settings. They also provide guidance to schools, particularly in area of acoustics and maximising listening conditions for hearing impaired pupils.

Education Health and Care Plan (EHC plan)

An EHC plan sets out a child’s/young person’s education, health and social care needs, the desired outcomes which parents, professionals and, wherever possible, the child or young person have identified, and the support which is to be provided to help the child or young person achieve the desired outcomes. It is drawn up by the local authority after an EHC needs assessment has determined that an EHC plan is necessary.

EHC needs assessment

An assessment of a child’s/young person’s education, health and care needs, carried out by the local authority in consultation with relevant professionals such as Teachers of the Deaf, educational psychologists and speech and language therapists. Local authorities must consult the child/young person and parents throughout the process.

Educational Psychologist

A professional who is concerned with helping children or young people who are experiencing problems within an educational setting with the aim of enhancing their learning.  They are likely to assess a child in relation to a Statement of Special Educational Needs or a Coordinated Support Plan (Scotland).

Education and Library Board (Northern Ireland)

There are 5 Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland.  They work in the same way as Local Authorities in England, Wales and Scotland.

Elbow (or tone hook)

The hard plastic tube that sits the hearing aid on top of the ear and connects the hearing aid to the flexible earmould tubing.

Electronic notetaker

Someone who is trained to provide a live, non-verbatim (not every word is typed) account of a lecture or class which is viewed by a deaf student via a laptop. They will be able to use specialist software and type at approximately 120 words per minute. 

ENT consultant

An ENT consultant is a doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and medical and surgical management of disorders, diseases and injuries of the ear, nose and throat, including head and neck cancer and facial plastic surgery. 


Technology designed to help give deaf people greater access to sound every day.  Some items are designed for use with hearing aids or cochlear implants and are especially useful in schools, such as a Radio Aid.  This gives the student direct access to the teachers voice cutting out the background noise.

Other items are designed to give greater independence around the home, such as a pager or vibrating alarm clock.  And some equipment is designed to give access to entertainment - such as a music link or loop system.  NDCS has an equipment loan service called "Technology Test Drive" and families can loan out pieces of equipment for their deaf child to try out free of charge. Technology Test Drive

Eustachian tube

A tube which runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat.  It usually allows the middle ear to be kept full of air, which means the ears can work properly.  However, if the Eustachian tube becomes blocked, air cannot enter the middle ear and the cells lining it begin to produce fluid. This makes it harder for sound to pass through to the inner ear, and is known as glue ear (otitis media).

Exam Access Arrangements

Appropriate arrangements made for students to remove disadvantage in examinations.  Arrangements should be discussed before the start of the course in which the student will take the exam