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Glossary: O

Ofsted – England

The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. Ofsted regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care. They inspect schools and colleges and assess children's services in local areas. 


An ombudsman is a person who has been appointed to consider complaints against local authorities and other organisations such as local admissions and exclusions appeal panels. They will investigate whether the local authority has acted reasonably within the law, its own policies and within generally accepted standards of local government. These are known as the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in England, the Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman (NIPSO) in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) in Scotland and the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.


Three tiny bones in the middle ear: the malleus, incus and stapes (sometimes known as the hammer, anvil and stirrup). These are known together as the ossicles. They increase the strength of the vibrations from the eardrum, caused by sound waves. These vibrations are passed by the ossicles across the middle ear to the cochlea.

Otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test

Tests if the cochlea responds to sound, which gives information about how well the outer hair cells are working. This test is commonly used as part of the newborn hearing screening but can be carried out on older children as well. During the test, a small earpiece is placed in the child's ear and a clicking sound is played. If the cochlea is working properly, the earpiece will pick up the response. The response is then recorded on a computer.

Otoferm cream

One brand of cream used to make the earmould more comfortable in the ear. It can help you insert the earmould more easily and reduce feedback (whistling) by providing a better seal between the earmould and the ear itself. Otoferm may be available from your child's hearing aid clinic and can also be bought online.

Outer ear

The outside part of the ear (pinna) which catches sound waves and directs them down the ear canal to the eardrum.

Outcomes – England

Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans must specify the outcomes sought for the child or young person. These are outcomes which will enable children and young people to progress in their learning and be well prepared for adulthood.