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ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response), see also Auditory Evoked Potentials

test that records the acoustic nerve activity in response to sound stimuli, through electrodes positioned on the skin of the skull.


tinnitus or "tinnitus" is the perception of a sound not present in the environment but generated within the auditory apparatus or surrounding anatomical structures.

Auditory adaptation

it represents a modest elevation of the auditory threshold that occurs, for a very short time, after the presentation of a sound stimulus, regardless of the intensity of the stimulus.

Hearing aid

electronic device that elaborates and amplifies the environmental sounds reproducing them at increased volume in the ear of the person with hearing impairment.

Reusable Hearing Aid

hearing aid that can be delivered by the NHS (upon contribution).

Auditory Areas

cortical areas appointed to receive and decode sounds.

Atresia Auris

congenital malformation characterized by the lack of normal patency of the external auditory canal, often associated with alteration of the auricle and of the components of the middle ear.


graph showing the auditory ability of the tested subject, by air and bone, for both ears.


specialist medical discipline that studies the auditory mechanisms, the anatomy and physiology of the auditory system, its pathology, diagnostic methods and therapy.

Tonal Audiometry

non-invasive test, which allows the hearing threshold to be established, that is the minimum sound intensity that a person is able to perceive.

Vocal Audiometry

non-invasive test, which allows to define the ability of discrimination of the spoken voice to different sound intensities.


auditory sensation, sometimes unpleasant, of listening to one's voice or louder or distorted body sounds.


trauma of the middle ear and the eardrum membrane, due to an excessive variation in pressure between the air contained in the middle ear and the outer ear.

BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid)

literally "acoustic prosthesis anchored to the bone". Initially indicated for all transmissive or mixed type of hearing loss, the use was also extended to medium-grade neurosensory deficits.

Ossicular Chain

set of small bones (hammer, anvil and stirrup), of the middle ear.

Snail or Cochlea

portion of the inner ear where the hair cells are contained. Its name owes it to the particular spiral conformation.


portion of the inner ear where the hair cells are contained. Its name owes it to the particular spiral conformation.


non-malignant neoformation of the middle ear, of an inflammatory or congenital nature whose matrix consists of stratified cornifying paving epithelium.


unit of measurement of sound intensity.

Cognitive decline

pathological alteration of normal brain functions with progressive loss of number, efficacy and modifiability of synaptic connections in specific brain areas.


therapeutic method that exploits the healing properties of mineral waters.


motor language disorder, which consists in the difficulty in performing the movements necessary for the articulation of the word, determined by an alteration of the nerve pathways.


stimulation with different sounds for both ears.


stimulation with equal sounds for both ears.


language disorder that determines the inability to sort words according to a logical scheme.


motor deficit of the vocal cords expressed with an alteration of the voice.


inability to perform a voluntary movement.

Electrocochleography (ECoG)

diagnostic method used to study cochlear electrical activity. Useful for hearing losses of unknown origin.

Electronistagmography (ENG)

electrophysiological investigation method consisting of the electronic recording of nystagmus.

Otoacoustic emissions

weak sounds produced by external hair cells in response to acoustic stimulation and recorded by a small microphone inserted into the external auditory canal.


liquid contained in the membranous labyrinth of the inner ear


unconscious fear of exposing oneself to particular sounds regardless of the sound intensity of these sounds.

Sound Level Meter

sound level meter tool.

Audible frequencies

in humans, sound signals between 20 and 20,000 Hz

Frenzel (glasses)

necessary tool for performing the vestibular exam, consisting of a mask with 20-dioptre lenses. Highlight of nystagmus.


serum-mucous otitis of childhood.

Acoustic Gain

for hearing aids it is the difference in sound level, expressed in decibels, between the input signal and the amplifier output.

Hertz (Hz)

international unit of measurement for the frequency of a sound.

Endolymphatic hydrops

increase in endolymph pressure contained in the membranous labyrinth of the inner ear. Endolymphatic hydrops can manifest as Menière's disease.

Impedance analysis

non-invasive diagnostic test, which provides indications about the motility of the tympanic membrane (tympanometry), the presence of endotympanic effusion and the presence or absence of stapedial reflexes.

Cochlear implant

electronic device, which replaces the functions of the external ear, middle ear and cochlea. Find the right indication in severely deaf people who have little or no benefit from using hearing aids.

Auditory plant at the trunk (ABI)

surgically implanted electronic device that provides auditory sensations in anacusic patients, with impaired cochlea or auditory nerve that prevents the placement of a Cochlear Implant. The ABI exploits a technology similar to that of the IC, but electrical stimulation takes place at the level of the brain stem, rather than at the cochlear level.


bone of the middle ear, inserted between hammer and stirrup.


audible frequency signals below 20 Hz.


(comp. of hyper- and gr. ákoysis "audition") an aberrant increase in hearing sensitivity, which is very often associated with the perception of sounds (tinnitus).

Hearing loss

decrease in sound perception determined by an alteration in the functionality of the auditory system.

Acquired hypoacusis

hearing impairment which began after birth.

Congenital hypoacusis

reduction of hearing ability present from birth.


inflammatory process of the inner ear with a violent crisis of objective rotatory vertigo.

Logàtomi (Logotomi)

meaningless phonetic units (eg rati, sovi) used in vocal audiometry.

Liberating maneuvers

changes in the position of the body and the patient's head - under the guidance of the doctor - to eliminate the detached otoliths, cause of positional vertigo, thus freeing the affected channel.


bone of the middle ear, anteriorly inserted in the context of the membrane of the eardrum and posteriorly in continuity with the anvil.


in audiology it is the use of a distracting sound, sent to the ear that feels better, to assess the hearing ability of the worst ear. It is used when the difference between the two ears is at least 40 dB.

Tympanic membrane

structure that closes the external auditory canal with the role of pressure receptor. It has an elliptical appearance, it vibrates following the stresses of sound pressure giving movements to the chain of ossicles.

Menière (disease of)

inner ear disorder which causes episodes of vertigo, fluctuating hearing loss, tinnitus, full ear sensation and sometimes nausea and vomiting.


anatomical reconstruction of the damaged tympanic membrane.


intolerance towards specific sounds, which causes feelings of anxiety, stress and anger, regardless of the volume of the sound itself.

Acoustic Nerve

VIII pair of cranial nerves (each formed by the cochlear and vestibular). The cochlear is responsible for the transmission of sound stimuli from the cochlea to the central nervous system. The vestibular responsible for the transmission of stimuli connected with static and dynamic equilibrium.

Neurinoma of the auditory nerve

benign tumor of the VIII cranial nerve, generally slow-growing, non-infiltrating, caused by hyper-production of the cells that normally surround the nerve fibers (Schwann cells).

Auditory neuropathy

dysfunction of the auditory system, not attributable to a classic cochlear lesion, with consequent alteration of the "processing" of the auditory signal.

Nystagmus (Ny)

involuntary eye movement, whose research is useful for the study of the vestibulo-oculomotor system.


involuntary eye movement, whose research is useful for the study of the vestibulo-oculomotor system.

Ear infection

generic term that defines an inflammatory (bacterial or viral) or traumatic, acute or chronic condition of one or more components of the ear.


ear pain caused by an ear injury.

Acoustic Emissions

see Otoacoustic Emissions.


small formations of calcium oxalate contained in the endolymph of the inner ear.


bleeding from the external auditory canal.


leakage from the external auditory canal of a serous, muco-purulent or purulent secretion.


middle ear pathology caused by a dystrophic process of the otic capsule.


harmful action carried out by some drugs on one or more components of the auditory system.

Auricular Pavilion (auricola)

structure placed symmetrically on the sides of the head, in the shape of a very irregular shell, at the center of which is the external acoustic pore (entrance to the auditory canal). The skeleton is formed by cartilage coated with skin.


liquid present between the bony and membranous labyrinth, different from the endolymph due to its chemical composition (high sodium content and low potassium content).


surgery, in the case of otosclerosis, in which the branches of the bracket, the bracket plate, are removed, with subsequent insertion of the prosthesis that will replace the bracket.


surgery, in the case of otosclerosis, in which a hole is created in the plate of the bracket, in order to introduce a small piston (prosthesis) that will replace the bracket.

Auditory evoked potentials (Auditory Brainstem Response)

tests that record the activity of the acoustic nerve in response to sound stimuli, through electrodes positioned on the skin of the skull.


reduction of hearing ability that takes over with age due to the phenomena of physiological senescence, with gradual onset and slow progression.

Acoustic Prosthesis

see hearing aid.


science that analyzes the psychic reactions of the human being to sound stimulation.


exudate characteristic of purulent infections.


from the English "recruitment", indicates a loss of linearity in the relationship between sensation (loudness) and intensity of a sound stimulus. In small increments of stimulus intensity, disproportionately large loudness increments are produced.

Stapedial reflex (study of)

recording of contraction of the stapedius muscle induced by a high intensity sound. The contraction of the stapedius muscle causes a stiffening of the eardrum-ossicular system with a protective role against cochlear acoustic cells.

Rinne (proof of)

test that establishes the relationship between the duration of sound perception by bone and that by air, the latter greater in normal hearing.


decrease in verbal intelligibility, depending on the increase in sound intensity. High significance of acoustic nerve injury.

Romberg (test of)

otoneurological test to define a labyrinthine deficit.

Tympanic-Ossular System (STO)

structure of the middle ear, composed of a tympanic membrane and an ossicular chain (antero-posterior: hammer, anvil, bracket), responsible for the mechanical transmission of sound.

Wireless Systems

from the English term wireless (wireless) means a communication between electronic devices (eg hearing aid - cellular) without the use of cables. Wireless systems use low-power radio waves; however the definition also extends to devices, less widespread, which exploit infrared radiation or laser.


hearing deficit with such severity that no benefit can be derived from any acoustic amplification.

Sudden deafness (hearing loss)

rapid hearing loss that appears suddenly or, at most, within three days of the onset of anticipatory symptoms (tinnitus, sensation of full ear, hearing impairment).


"The sensory hearing impairment is considered deaf-mute, suffering from congenital deafness or acquired during the developmental age that prevented him from learning normal spoken language" Law n. 381 of 1970, art. 1, paragraph 2 °. At present we could define deaf-mute, a deaf person who is not rehabilitated.

Sound Therapy

therapeutic strategy used for the treatment of tinnitus or other psychosomatic disorders.


instrumental investigation to measure and evaluate the function of the static and dynamic postural system.


bone of the middle ear, anteriorly connected with the anvil and, posteriorly, in continuity with the oval cochlear window.


vibration generated by a body (sound source), transmitted by an elastic medium (air), capable of causing an auditory sensation.


evaluation of changes in acoustic impedance measured at the eardrum membrane. Tympanometry measures the "elasticity" of the eardrum-ossicular system.


sclerosis of the tympanic membrane.


acoustic signals above 20,000 Hz.


abnormal sensation of movement of the body or the surrounding environment, triggered by alterations of the vestibular system (a system responsible for controlling static and dynamic equilibrium).

Positional vertigo

common form of vertigo caused by changes in the position of the head, caused by the detachment, of small formations of calcium oxalate (otoliths) contained in the endolymph of the inner ear, with consequent mechanical stimulation of the labyrinth receptors.

Weber (test of)

diagnostic test by bone, useful in the differential diagnosis of hearing loss.


instrumental method that allows to determine the subjective intensity of the tinnitus (loudness) and the tonal range (frequency or pitch).


inability to recognize people, objects and one's body through sight, touch or hearing without there being disturbances of elementary sensations (R. Angeleurgues - H. Hécaen).


complete unilateral hearing loss

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