Acoustic Neuroma – A tumor, usually benign, which develops on the hearing and balance nerves, that can cause gradual hearing loss, tinnitus, and dizziness.

Acoustic Salience describes the audibility of the segmentals or suprasegmentals features of speech. Certain features of a speech sounds can be made more salient due to acoustic highlighting (e.g. elongating, whispering, stress, etc.). One can increase the acoustic salience of a sound or make a sound more acoustically salient by using acoustic highlighting techniques.

Acquired Deafness – Loss of hearing that occurs or develops sometime in the course of a lifetime, but is not present at birth.

American Academy of Audiology (AAA)– Largest of the professional organizations for audiologists.

American Sign Language (ASL) – Manual (sign) language with its own syntax and grammar used primarily by people who are deaf.

American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) – A professional organization for both speech–language pathologists and audiologists.

Amplifier – An electronic sound processor located inside of a hearing aid that increases the incoming signal to improve the audibility of the outgoing signal.

Aphasia – Loss of language abilities due to brain damage, usually on the left side of the brain where most people have their “language centers”. We often see aphasia as the result of an adult who has had a stroke and has trouble naming items, remembering words, categorizing, and conversing. Children can also have aphasia as a result of brain damage.

Apraxia – A speech disorder in which the child or adult has trouble coordinating voluntary movements. SLPs refer to this as a motor planning disorder, where the child may know what he wants to say, but has trouble making his mouth/tongue/lips/teeth move in the right order to produce clear speech. Also called apraxia of speech, developmental apraxia or childhood apraxia (there is also a limb apraxia).

Articulation – Speech sounds produced from the use of “articulators” (lips, tongue, teeth), or a general term to describe speech.  Children that have an articulation disorder may have sound substitutions, distortions or sound deletions.

Atresia – The absence or closure of the external auditory meatus (ear canal).

Assistive Listening Devices (ALD’s) – Non–hearing aid devices used by a hearing impaired individual to improve communication and the performance of activities in specific environments. ALDs include devices such as infrared and FM personal amplifiers, alerting devices, and closed captioning equipment.

Audiologist – A health care professional trained to evaluate hearing loss and related disorders, including balance (vestibular) disorders and tinnitus, and to rehabilitate people with hearing loss and related disorders. Audiologists use a variety of tests and procedures to assess hearing and balance function and to fit and dispense hearing aids and other assistive devices for hearing loss. Most audiologists have advanced doctorate degrees.

Au.D. – Doctor of Audiology. A clinical doctorate degree.

Audiogram – A chart onto which is graphed the results of a hearing test. The chart has intensity levels listed on one axis and frequencies (pitches) listed on the other axis.

Audiology – The science of the assessment and management of hearing and balance disorders.

Auditory-Verbal An early intervention program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their parents/caregivers.  The goal of auditory-verbal therapy is to provide guidance to parents of children with hearing loss, in the application of techniques and strategies that will help children learn to develop spoken language and communication primarily through listening with the help of appropriately selected and fitted hearing technology.  The professionals who provide auditory-verbal therapy, and the families follow all ten of the guiding principles of LSLS Auditory-Verbal Therapy.  The goal of auditory-verbal practice is for children with hearing loss to listen, speak and to be mainstreamed into typical educational settings.

Auditory/Verbal Therapists – The development of speech and verbal language through the maximized use of auditory potential by trained and licenced auditory/verbal therapists.

Augmentative Devices – Tools that help individuals with limited or absent speech to communicate, such as communication boards, pictographs (symbols that look like the things they represent), or ideographs (symbols representing ideas).

Aural Rehabilitation – Techniques used with people who are hearing impaired to improve their ability to speak and communicate.

Autism – A disorder which is under the category of “Pervasive Developmental Disorders”. Children with autism typically have delayed language, tend to be “literal” or “concrete”, and have difficulty interacting with others and figuring out social situations. Specialists may say they suspect that a child is on the “spectrum”, which means the child may show one or more symptoms of a PDD disorder (Autism, Asperger’s, ADD, ADHD…).

Autoimmune Deafness – Individual’s immune system produces abnormal antibodies that react against the body’s healthy tissues.

This list is not an exhaustive list of terms in the field, but rather, is meant to provide reference for some of the words you may find in our blogs. Definitions in this section are from AG Bell, American Speech Language Hearing Association, the American Academy of Audiology and Children’s Speech Care Center
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