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Glossary: M

Mainstream school

A typical primary or secondary school.  A mainstream school may be "maintained" by the Local Authority, or receive funding from them.  A mainstream school follows the National Curriculum and is regularly inspected by OFSTED. 

Mainstream school with a Hearing Impaired Resource Base

A mainstream school sometimes has a specialist Resource Base attached.  This could be a hearing impaired provision or for children with a broad range of special needs.  Some children may be taught only in the specialist Resource Base.  Others will take part in mainstream classes, or have some classes in the Resource Base.


A simplified language programme using signs and symbols to help people communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.

Mastoid bone

Part of the skull-bone that you can feel behind the pinna (outer ear). 


A voluntary process whereby an independent third party seeks to enable both parties to reach an agreed resolution of their differences. It is not legally binding on either party.

Meatal tip

The part of the earmould or in-the-ear hearing aid that goes into the ear canal. 


The part of the hearing aid that picks up sound. Usually at the top of the hearing aid and faces forwards. The microphone often has a grill or cover over it and may be partially covered by the elbow. 


Microtia is a term used to describe under-development or malformation of the pinna (external part of the ear).  Often accompanied by atresia.

Middle Ear

The middle ear is made up of the ear drum which vibrates because of sound waves, and three tiny bones known as the ossicles which pass on these vibrations to the inner ear.

Mild deafness

A level of deafness. It can be described using the decibel (dB) measurement. This shows how loud a sound has to be for your child to hear it.  Mild deafness means the sound has to be at between 21 and 40 dB


Also known as a textphone. This is a type of telephone with a small keyboard attached, which transmits text down the telephone line. Someone using a textphone can communicate directly with other textphone users, or with a voice telephone user via a text relay service. 


These generate energy for a cell to function. Each mitochondrion carries short length of DNA with a few genes

Mixed deafness

Children who have a sensorineural deafness can also have a conductive deafness, such as glue ear.  This is known as mixed deafness.

Mobile phone

Mobile phones can be used with hearing instruments.  However, they may cause interference, particularly with traditional analogue hearing aids.  If the hearing instrument has the "T" setting, it may be possible to use earhooks, a neckloop or Bluetooth accessories for wireless connection.  We loan out some of these items through our Technology Test Drive loan service.

Moderate deafness

A level of deafness. It can be described using the decibel (dB) measurement.  This shows how loud a sound has to be for your child to hear it.  Moderate deafness means the sound has to be at between 41 and 70 dB.


Hearing with one ear, for example using one hearing aid. 

Music link: Direct Input leads

These can be used with hearing aids which have a direct input facility, for use with a music system.  For children with a cochlear implant, the cochlear implant team may be able to request a special lead.  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. 

Music link: Earhooks

Inductive silhouette earhooks can be used with either one or two hearing aids. These sit between the ear and hearing aid, and the other end plugs into the music system (as with earphones).  The hearing aid picks up sound directly from the earhooks when switched to the T setting.  Bluetooth is now available with some hearing aids and cochlear implants, for wireless listening.