Hearing Screening Online Training Program

Hearing Screening E-Learning Course


Ambient Noise
Background noise present in the screening area.

The use of hearing aids and other electronic devices to increase loudness of a sound so that it may be more easily heard and understood.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Professional organization that provides information and resources on communication disorders to health care professionals and the public.

Closure or absence of the external auditory canal; imperforation (having no opening).

A graph or chart that records a person's ability to hear in terms of loudness (dB) and frequency (Hz).

A health professional specializing in preventing, identifying, and assessing hearing impairments and related disorders as well as managing any non-medical rehabilitation of individuals with hearing loss.

An instrument used to measure hearing.

Auditory Cortex
Part of the cerebral cortex of the brain that processes auditory information and performs basic and higher functions of hearing.

Auditory Hair Cells (also called stereo cilia)
Sensory cells of the inner ear that transform mechanical energy in the middle ear (from sound waves produced by movement of the ossicles) into nerve impulses sent to the brain that produces the sensation of hearing.

Auditory nerve
The 8th cranial nerve (nerve of hearing) that connects the inner ear to the brainstem and is responsible for the sensations of hearing and balance; it sends signals from the cochlea in the inner ear to the brain.

External portion of the ear; also called the pinna.

Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR)
A non-invasive diagnostic hearing test for infants and children who are at high risk for hearing loss due to auditory nerve or cortex damage or who are otherwise impossible to test. Electrodes are used to evaluate the neurotransmission of auditory stimuli. May also be referred to as Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER), Brainstem Evoked Potential (BSEP), and Brainstem Evoked Response (BSER). May require sedation.

Bilateral Hearing Loss
Hearing loss in both ears.

Methods used to determine the accuracy of an audiometer.

Combined Hearing Loss
A combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss that involves both the middle and inner ear. The conductive hearing loss may be medically treated but the sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent.

The wax-like secretion secreted by glands in the external auditory canal; also called ear wax.

Child and Teen Checkups (C&TC)
Minnesota's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program is called the Child and Teen Checkups (C&TC) Program and is the responsibility of the Department of Human Services. EPSDT is the comprehensive and preventive health care program for Medicaid-eligible children and youth from birth through age 20 years.

Snail-shaped and fluid-filled capsule in the inner ear that contains the organ of hearing.

Cochlear Implant
An electronic medical device surgically implanted to bypass damaged structures in the inner ear and directly stimulate the auditory nerve in order to receive and process sound and speech.

Relates to the mobility of the eardrum and the three bones in the middle ear. It is the inverse of stiffness.

Conductive Hearing Loss
A hearing impairment that exists due to a problem in the external and/or middle ear that keeps sound from being properly transmitted to the inner ear.

Congenital Hearing Loss
Hearing loss that is present at birth, associated with the birth process, or developing in the first few days of life.

Craniofacial Anomalies
Differences from the normal structure and/or function of the skull and/or the face.

A group of herpes viruses that infects humans and can cause a variety of clinical conditions including deafness or hearing impairment. Infection with this virus may be present either before or after birth.

Decibel (dB)
Used in audiometry to express the intensity or volume of a sound from quiet to loud. The abbreviation "dB" is written after a number to define how loud a sound is. With the dB scale, zero dB does not indicate absence of sound; rather it indicates a minimal level for normal hearing. The greater the decibel number, the louder the sound and level of discomfort.

A collection of fluid in the middle ear as a result of Eustachian tube dysfunction.

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention.

Eustachian Tube
A small tube that establishes communication between the middle ear space and the back of the throat. It has two main functions: equalizing air pressure on both sides of the tympanic membrane and permitting the drainage of fluids from the middle ear.

External Auditory Canal
The passageway for sound from the auricle (pinna) to the tympanic membrane (ear drum). Also called external auditory meatus.

Denotes the pitch of sound that represents the number of vibrations per second of a sound. It is a unit of measurement expressed in Hertz (Hz).

Hearing Aid
An electronic device that conducts and amplifies sound to the ear.

Hearing Level
The amount of hearing loss indicated by audiometry that is measured in terms of decibels for any given frequency; may be used synonymously with "hearing threshold levels" (HTL).

Hearing Loss
The American Speech-Language- Hearing Association (ASHA) classifies hearing loss as follows:

  • 0-20 dB- normal
  • 21-25 dB- slight
  • 26-40 dB- mild
  • 41-55 dB- moderate
  • 56-70 dB- moderately severe
  • 71-90 dB- severe
  • 91+ dB- profound

Hearing Threshold Level
Minimal hearing level at which an individual responds to a pure sound audiometric test at least 2 out of 3 times.

Hertz (Hz)
The unit of measurement that specifies the frequency or pitch of a sound wave.

High Risk
Children who have one or more of the risk factors known to impact hearing.

Inner Ear
Made up of the cochlea, semicircular canals, and vestibules. These structures are responsible for the sense of hearing and balance.

The loudness of a sound, measured in decibels (dB).

In Utero
In the uterus or before birth.

Joing Committee on Infant Hearing

Organ of balance located in the inner ear. Consists of three semicircular canals and the vestibule, or bony cavity of the inner ear.

Subjective judgment of the volume of a sound.

Lost to follow-up
When a child does not receive or complete the recommended diagnostic or intervention process.

Middle Ear
Portion of the ear that is an air-filled cavity between the outer and inner ear. Includes the tympanic membrane, the ossicles (bones), the mastoid and the opening to the Eustachian tube.

Middle ear clearance
When a medical provider has determined that the middle ear is free from fluid and appears healthy.

Any sound that is unwanted, undesired, or that interferes with one's hearing.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)
Hearing loss (either temporary or permanent) that is caused by either a single exposure to a very loud sound or by repeated exposure to sounds over 90dB over an extended period of time. NIHL damages the sensitive structures of the inner ear.

Three small bones in the middle ear cavity: malleus (hammer), incus (anvil), and stapes (stirrup); their main purpose is to deliver sound vibrations from the tympanic membrane to the cochlea in the inner ear.

Otitis Media
Inflammation or infection of the middle ear or eardrum that is a common cause of conductive hearing loss in children.

Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Screening
A test that screens for hearing loss in infants and young children by measuring the functioning of the cochlear hair cells. When the cochlea is stimulated by audible sound the cochlear hair cells start to vibrate, which in turn produces inaudible sounds (otoacoustic emissions) that echo back into the middle ear and the ear canal.

Instrument to examine the ear canal and eardrum.

Having a detrimental effect on either the auditory nerve or the organs of hearing.

Ototoxic Drugs
Drugs that can damage the hearing and balance organs located in the inner ear.

Outer Ear
The portion of the ear from the pinna (auricle) through the external auditory canal to the eardrum (tympanic membrane); sound waves are collected by the pinna, channeled into the external auditory canal, and are transformed into mechanical energy at the tympanic membrane.

Part of outer ear that gathers sound waves from the environment; also known as the auricle.

The quality of a sound quantified by a frequency number that represents the number of vibrations of sound waves per second, measured in Hertz (Hz). Sounds can be ordered on a scale from low to high pitch.

Play Audiometry
A technique used to screen hearing of young children and/or developmentally delayed individuals.

Occurring after birth.

Preauricular Sinus
A tiny pit in the skin in the area where the outer rim of the ear (called the helix) is attached to the face. Preauricular sinuses are significant because they can be an indicator of other ear problems.

Increasing in extent or severity.

Pure Tone
A tone of a single frequency produced by an audiometer. A pure tone contains no harmonics or overtones.

Pure Tone Screening
A method of hearing screening utilizing pure tones of various frequencies and intensities.

Consists of standardized procedures that produces measurable results. An example of objective screening is pure tone audiometry.

Screening Audiometry
A screening procedure that utilizes an audiometer to identify individuals in need of further hearing evaluation. Also called Sweep Screening.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Type of hearing loss due to pathology in the cochlea/ inner ear and/or pathology of the auditory nerve (the nerve of hearing) or the auditory cortex. This type of hearing loss is usually irreversible, but the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants can help children hear and develop speech and language.

Skin Tags
A growth of skin tissue often seen near the ears or elsewhere on the face or neck that is usually small, soft, and skin-colored. Can be attached by a narrow piece of tissue or can appear as a bump on the skin. Usually cause no discomfort or other symptoms, but can get irritated by clothing rubbing against them. In rare cases, children who have a skin tag(s) can also have a hearing problem.

Risk Factors/ history
Questions obtained verbally or in writing that include information related to JCIH risk factors, family history of childhood hearing disability or loss, delay of language acquisition or history of such delay, and a history of repeated otitis media. The child, parent, or guardian must be asked if there are concerns about the child's hearing.

Refer to hearing threshold

Refer to Ventilation Tubes.

Tympanic Membrane
Also known as the eardrum. A thin membrane separating the external auditory canal and the middle ear cavity that vibrates in response to sound waves; the vibrations are then transferred to the ossicular chain of bones in the middle ear.

An instrument that measures the movement of the tympanic membrane and middle ear system under varying air pressures.

Types of Hearing Loss
Refer to Conductive, Sensorineural, and combined.

Unilateral Hearing Loss
A mild to profound hearing loss in one ear.

Ventilation Tubes
A small synthetic tube surgically placed in the tympanic membrane to treat chronic fluid or infection in the middle ear. The tube allows fluid that cannot naturally drain down the Eustachian tube to drain through the ventilation tube into the ear canal.

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