Glossary of Terms

ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response) – A test that measures the brain’s response to sound in infants and young children. The ABR test involves attaching electrodes to the head to record electrical activity from the auditory nerve (the hearing nerve) and other parts of the brain.

Anotia – Usually refers to the absence of the external ear, the auricle, the visible part of the ear.

Audiogram – a graph that records the results of a hearing test.  It shows a person’s ability to hear different pitches (frequencies) at different volumes (intensities) of sound.

Auditory – pertaining to the sense of hearing

Aural Atresia – the absence or closure of an ear canal

Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) – a type of hearing aid that is attached to a titanium screw implanted into the skull.  It transmits sound via bone conduction.  A softband version is available for small children.

Bone Conduction Hearing Aid (BCHA) – a hearing aid which transmits sound vibrations to the bones of the skull, which then conducts them directly to the inner ear, bypassing the ear canal and middle ear.

Bilateral – affecting both sides

Canalplasty (also called Atresia Repair) – surgical procedure to open the ear canal.

Cholesteatoma – a skin growth that occurs in an abnormal location, usually in the middle ear behind the eardrum.  Over time, it can increase in size and destroy the surrounding delicate hearing bones of the middle ear (ossicles).

Congenital – relating to a condition that is present from birth

Craniofacial – involving the skull and the face

CT scan (or CAT scan) – Computed Tomography Imaging is a particular type of x- ray that uses multiple x-ray beams at different angles to build up a cross section of the body’s organs and tissues.  They can show several types of tissue with great clarity such as bone, soft tissue and blood

Decibels (dB) – the unit of measurement for the loudness of sound.

ENT – Ears, Nose, Throat.  Doctors who specialise in that are often referred to as an ENT (they can also be called an otolaryngologist)

Goldenhar Syndrome – A condition similar to Hemifacial Microsomia in that one side of the face is smaller than the other.  Goldenhar will also include issues involving the eye and the spine.

Hemifacial Microsomia – A condition in which one side of the face is smaller than the other, including the jaw, ear and facial bony structures.

Medpor – a porus synthetic framework that can be used in ear reconstruction surgery.

Microtia – an incomplete or underdeveloped ear.  Microtia literally means ‘small ear’.

Pinna – the outer projecting portion of the ear.  (Also called the auricle)

Prosthesis – An artificial substitute or replacement of a part of the body.  Prosthetic ears are made from a soft silicone material.

Otolaryngologist – A doctor / surgeon who specialises in diagnosing and treating diseases of the head and neck, especially those involving the ears, nose and throat. (Commonly called an ENT)

Otologist – a doctor who specialises in the medical and surgical treatment of the ear and its diseases.

Rib Graft – refers to the ear reconstruction technique that uses the patient’s own rib cartilage.

Stenosis – a narrowing of the ear canal

Treacher Collins Syndrome – a genetic craniofacial syndrome that is characterized by a range of distinctive facial anomalies.  The main characteristics of TCS are downward slanting eyes, small lower jaw, and Microtia or Anotia.

Unilateral – affecting one side