Glossary Of Terms

Audiogram – The chart that shows the lowest levels you can hear at different pitches. This is what is used to select and fit hearing aids that are appropriate for you.

Analog – This type of hearing aid converts the acoustic (sound) signal into a mechanical (vibration) signal and then amplifies it. These are the least flexible and adjustable hearing aids.

Digital – These hearing aids have a tiny computer inside them that is able to constantly analyze the incoming sound. Even entry-level digital hearing aids are more flexible than analog bearing aids. Digital hearing aids also tend to keep the sound at a more comfortable level

Channels – This refers to “bands” or “slices” of the audiogram. The more channels a hearing aid has, the more flexible it will be in terms of adjusting specific pitches (tones) to meet your needs without adjusting other pitches (tones).

Noise Reduction – The ability for a hearing aid to reduce steady, environmental noises. A hearing aid with noise reduction may make you more comfortable in background noise, but it does NOT increase your speech understanding in noise.

Feedback – A whistling or buzzing sound that occurs when sound leaks around the hearing aid and gets fed back into the microphone. You can hear this if you hold the hearing aid in your hand (if it is turned on) or when something gets close to it. It is not normal for feedback to be present unless something is near the hearing aid.

Feedback Control – Feature of certain hearing aids that can reduce or eliminate feedback. In the advanced hearing aids, this can be done automatically and does not result in a loss of volume in the hearing aid.

T – Coil – Telecoil. This is a coil in the hearing aid that allows it to pick up the electromagnetic sound that comes through a telephone. This feature works best with land-line phones with cords.

Omnidirectional Microphone – This microphone picks up sound from all around and does not reduce sound from behind.

Directional/Dual Microphones – These microphones reduce the sound around you so that you can focus on the sound in front of you. You will still hear the noise, but the goal is to make it less bothersome.

Programs – Different settings for different listening situations. Hearing aids can have up to 4 programs, but the most common ones are for quiet situations, noisy situations, and telephone use. A different program would be used for each of these different situations.

In the OSF Center for Health

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Disorders Center

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