The Handbook of Auditory Evoked Responses (1992)

The genesis for the Handbook of Auditory Evoked Responses was a chapter I wrote in 1983 for a book published in 1984 by College Hill Press and edited by Dr. Jerger, entitled Hearing Disorders in Adults. I was at the time Associate Professor and Chief of Audiology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, literally just across the street from Dr. Jerger's audiology complex at the Neurosensory Center at Baylor College of Medicine. Peering down from the 6th floor offices in our Department of Otolaryngology I could clearly view Jim's 2nd floor office.

I was not the first choice to author the chapter on auditory brainstem response. Apparently, a then well known audiologist (whose name will not be revealed) had at the last minute backed out of his writing commitment. I enthusiastically threw myself into the task at hand. Back in the good old days at academic institutions, faculty members were usually permitted to devote one day a week to "research and writing" or consulting outside of the university. Those days are, I'm sorry to report, long gone. During work hours I would slip to the well stacked Texas Medical Center Library during breaks and on lunch hour to frantically photocopy articles on the ABR. Then, at night most days and from early morning to evening on Fridays I reviewed the articles and prepared the chapter manuscript. Within a month (and by the new deadline for the chapter), relying on a new and futuristic Compaq computer (thankfully not a typewriter like I had used up to that point) I had amassed over a hundred manuscript pages and hundreds of references. Needing a figure of a normal ABR to include in the chapter, I turned to Brad Stach, a bright junior colleague who ran Jim's audiology clinic next door at Baylor. You should examine the very well formed ABR in the figure with the legend for "a 26-year old normal male". With a little mathematics you'll be able to calculate Brad's current age while you contemplate the possible morphology of his current ABR.

To make a long story a little longer, the publisher ... Dr. Sadanand Singh ... was duly impressed with the chapter. One day, as I was wondering whether the manuscript was adequate (being new at the chapter writing business then) Dr. Singh called to express his compliments at the quality and, especially, the length of the chapter. I remarked that, believe it or not, I had to refrain from including much important information in the chapter. Dr. Singh commented: "Maybe you should publish an entire book on this auditory brainstem response." Soon I was signing my first contract for a book, optimistically promising to deliver the manuscript a few years later. The ponderous manuscript was finally submitted in 1991, just as College Hill Press in San Diego was sold to Little Brown in Boston. Before the book entered production, the manuscript was sold to ProEd Publishers in Austin Texas and then resold to Allyn & Bacon in Needham Heights Massachusetts. After many trials and tribulations, including a retainer for a lawyer that sucked up the first year of royalty payments, the Handbook of Auditory Evoked Responses was finally published in 1992. The royalties have been modest due to the small market for such a book, but invitations began to arrive regularly for speaking engagements. And, importantly, I developed a wonderful working relationship with Dr. Singh that continues on even today with his last publishing company (Plural), launched several years before his death in 2010.

You can order this book online at: www.ablongman.com or www.amazon.com.


James W. Hall III       |       jwhall3phd@gmail.com