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Glossary: H

Health visitor

Qualified nurses who’ve had further training in health care. They give help and advice to families about the care of young children. They see babies for routine developmental assessments. Some health visitors do the newborn hearing screening in community clinics when babies are about 10 days old. In Scotland, they’ll also usually act as a child’s ‘named person’ until the child starts school. 

Hearing aid

Hearing aids amplify sound. Air-conduction hearing aids do this by channelling the amplified sound through an earmould into the ear. The sounds picked up by the microphone are converted into electrical signals. These signals are then converted into data. The hearing aid is programmed to change the data, or certain bits of the data, in a similar way to how a computer processes information. Each hearing aid must be programmed precisely for each individual child’s ear and hearing level. The data is then converted back into sound and sent out through the earmould.

Bone-conduction hearing aids convert the amplified sound into vibrations that are transferred across the skull-bone to the cochlea. 

Hearing aid analyser (test box)

A piece of equipment used by audiologists and Teachers of the Deaf (ToDs) to check the acoustic performance of a hearing aid.

Hearing aid retainer ('huggies')

A hearing aid retainer is a latex ring with bands that fit around the hearing aid. The latex ring fits around the whole ear to keep the hearing aid in place. These are often known as 'huggies'. They may be available from your child's audiologist or hearing aid clinic and can also be bought online.


Describes a general oversensitivity of the hearing so that everyday environmental sounds which would not be troublesome to others appear loud, intrusive and sometimes painful to the person affected. Is usually not related to the physical structure of the ear itself.