Glossary of Terms
Here is a list of common terms and definitions used by CHS professionals and consumers.
Ableism: is discrimination (in belief or practice) based on a person’s abilities, whether developmental, learning, physical, psychiatric or sensory. Ableism is a form of discrimination that devalues and disregards people with disabilities.
American Sign Language (ASL): is a visual language with its own grammar and syntax, distinct from English, used by Deaf people primarily in Canada and the United States. Meaning is conveyed through signs that are comprised of specific movements and shapes of the hand and arms, eyes, face, head and body posture. In Canada, there are two main sign languages: ASL and la langue des signes québécoise (LSQ).
Assistive listening devices (ALDs): help reduce background noise and compensate for poor room acoustics or distance from the sound source. ALDs can be portable or permanently installed. They include FM, Infrared and loop systems. They are designed to connect to the public address system or any audio sound source and send the signal directly to hearing aid and wireless receivers worn by people with hearing loss. The receivers allow individuals to adjust the volume to their comfort level and can be used with a variety of headsets or neckloop listening accessories for those who have a T-switch compatible hearing aid. They are recommended for all meeting assemblies including tours, lectures, small to large meeting venues, classrooms, places of worship, etc.
Audiogram: is a graph that provides a detailed description of a person’s hearing ability following a hearing test. In general, it indicates how loud different sounds must be before they are first heard.
Audiologists: are concerned with the prevention, identification, assessment, treatment and re/habilitation of hearing difficulties in children and adults. They also provide education and counselling services for people experiencing hearing difficulties and inner ear problems, such as dizziness and tinnitus. Audiologists are committed to the prevention of hearing loss through hearing conservation programs and public awareness initiatives. Audiologists at CHS have either a Masters or a Doctorate degree in Audiology and are registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO).
Audiometer: is an electronic instrument used to test hearing.
Audism: is a form of ableism. Audism is discrimination against a person who is deaf or hard of hearing. It holds the belief that a hearing person or a deaf person who behaves in a manner more similar to a hearing person (in appearance, communication and language use, and/or function) is more intelligent, qualified, well-developed, and successful than another individual who may be culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened or hard of hearing and may prefer to use a signed language or has an accent in the production of spoken language due to hearing loss, or uses a communication accommodation unfamiliar and dissimilar to hearing people.
Cochlear implant: is an electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. It consists of an external piece that sits behind the ear as well as a second piece that is surgically implanted under the skin and sends and receives electronic impulses from the auditory nerve to the brain. The sensation of sound from a cochlear implant is unique and requires people who use them to learn new ways of processing sound. Each implant user will experience different levels of success in processing sound and hearing spoken language.
Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART): is the professional word-for-word transcription of speech to text in real time and provides people who are culturally Deaf, oral deaf, deafened and hard of hearing full access to the spoken word.
Computerized notetakers: facilitate communication by typing out the main points of discussions or presentations. A laptop computer is set up near the person who will be accessing the notes so they can read the conversation as it scrolls on the screen. Unlike Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), this support is not a word-for-word, simultaneous transcription of the discussion.
Culturally Deaf: refers to individuals who identify with and participate in the language, culture, and community of Deaf people, based on a signed language. Deaf culture does not perceive hearing loss and deafness from a pathological point of view, but rather from a socio-cultural linguistic point of view, indicated by a capital ‘D’ as in “Deaf culture.” Culturally Deaf people may also use speech, residual hearing, hearing aids, speechreading and gesturing to communicate with people who do not sign.
Deaf: is generally used to describe individuals with a severe to profound hearing loss, with little or no residual hearing. Some deaf people use a spoken language and speechreading, combined with their residual hearing and hearing aids, communication devices, and/or cochlear implants to communicate. Others use a signed language, such as American Sign Language (ASL) or la langue des signes québécoise (LSQ).
Deaf culture: is the culture of Deaf people based on a signed language and values, traditions and behaviour norms specific to the Deaf community. Deaf culture offers a strong sense of belonging and takes a socio-cultural point of view of deafness, rather than a pathological perspective.
Deafened: describes individuals who grow up hearing or hard of hearing and, either suddenly or gradually, experience a profound hearing loss. Deafened adults usually use speech with visual cues such as Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) or computerized notetaking, speechreading or a signed language.
Hard of hearing: is generally used to describe individuals whose hearing loss ranges from mild to severe, and occasionally profound. Hard of hearing people use speech and residual hearing to communicate, supplemented by communication strategies that may include speechreading, hearing aids, a signed language and communication devices. The term “person with hearing loss” is also used by this constituency.
Hearing aids: are devices worn behind the ear, in the ear or in the ear canal and composed of a microphone, amplifier, receiver, battery, earmold (or the casing), hook and the tubing. Hearing aids amplify sound – all sound. Although they amplify spoken language, they do not improve the clarity of how speech is heard by someone with a hearing loss. Even when sound and speech are amplified, it is not always possible to discern distinct words. Unlike glasses that can restore 20/20 vision, hearing aids do not restore hearing; they amplify sound. An imperfect solution to a complicated problem, hearing aids are effective in managing hearing loss for many people.
Advancements continue to be made in hearing aid design to improve the ability to understand and differentiate between speech and sound, and to determine the direction from which they are coming.
Hearing care counsellors: are concerned with minimizing the impact of hearing loss on quality of life by identifying how to remain safely and independently at home, teaching strategies to improve communication with family and friends, and how to stay involved in your favourite social activities. Hearing care counsellors at CHS have a university degree in Social Work or a related field such as Gerontology.
Hyperacusis: is a problem that affects about 5 per cent of the population and 50 per cent of patients with troublesome tinnitus. It is defined as a reduced tolerance to everyday environmental sounds. The decreased tolerance to sound is usually noticed with sudden high-pitched noises like alarms, bus brakes, silverware and dishes, children’s crying and clapping.
La langue des signes québécoise (LSQ): (Quebec Sign Language) is a visual language with its own grammar and syntax, distinct from French, used by Deaf people primarily in Quebec and other French Canadian communities. Meaning is conveyed through signs that are comprised of specific movements and shapes of the hand and arms, eyes, face, head and body posture. In Canada, there are two main sign languages: LSQ and American Sign Language (ASL).
Oral deaf: is generally used to describe individuals with a severe to profound hearing loss, with little or no residual hearing. Most use speech to communicate, using their residual hearing and hearing aids, communication devices or cochlear implants, and lipreading or speechreading. Some oral deaf people use a signed language such as American Sign Language (ASL) or la langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) to communicate.
Speechreading: is a communication support in which an individual watches a speaker’s lips, teeth and tongue, along with many other cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, context and body language. When used alone, the effectiveness of speechreading varies since more than half the movements involved in sound formation occur within the mouth and cannot be detected by the eye. Forty to 60 per cent of English words are homophenes (i.e. words which look identical on a speaker’s face) and there is not a single sound that has a distinct lip/jaw movement/position of its own.
Speech-language pathologists: are concerned with the prevention, identification, assessment, treatment and re/habilitation of communication and/or swallowing disorders in children and adults. They also provide education and counselling services. Speech-language pathologists at CHS have a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology. They are registered with the College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO).
TTY: is a text telephone that consists of a keyboard and small display screen which permits communication over a phone line via typed conversation. If both the caller and the receiver have a TTY, the call can take place directly, person to person. If one party does not have a TTY, they can still communicate through a telephone relay operator using a toll-free number. The operator acts as a communication link by typing what the hearing person says so it appears as written text on the TTY screen, and voicing what the TTY user types.
Tinnitus: Tinnitus is a problem that affects about 10 to 15 per cent of the population. It is often described as a ringing, buzzing or pulsating sound in the ear but is defined as a phantom auditory sound (i.e. perceived sound in the absence of an external noise). Many people who suffer from tinnitus also experience tension in their head, neck and jaw, tiredness, irritability, poor concentration, anxiety and depression that can be severe. About 5 per cent of the population reports severely intrusive tinnitus affecting day-to-day activities.