New Handbook of Auditory Evoked Responses

After the publication of the Handbook of Otoacoustic Emissions (by Singular Publishing in 2000), I contacted Allyn & Bacon, the publisher of the original Handbook of Auditory Evoked Responses, to suggest a second edition. Even if a contract were signed at that time, and writing went atypically fast, more than 10 years would have passed since the original Handbook. Unfortunately, the publisher expressed no interest in an updated book. I was beginning to detect grumbling from audiologists about the organization of the original book (no clear distinction in the sections for each auditory evoked response) and, of course, the absence of new information. Each year at the AAA Convention, I visited the publisher's booth to argue my case. Finally, the idea of another Handbook of AERs was accepted when Steve Dragin took over as editor of Allyn & Bacon. Since there were many copies of the original Handbook still in the warehouse, the decision was made to publish a new book, rather than another edition. That way both books could be actively promoted and sold. I came up with the not-so-original idea of titling the new Handbook the New Handbook, and an agreement was signed in 2001.

Preparation of the manuscript for the New Handbook would be a challenge for two reasons, one anticipated and one unexpected. The publisher understandably wanted a shorter book than the original Handbook, to keep the price of the book within a reasonable range for the market. We agreed on a length of about 500 to 600 pages. However, over the years since 1992 when the original Handbook appeared many thousands of new papers on auditory evoked responses had appeared in the literature. In fact, information on some responses that were not really well known in the 1980s needed to be included in the New Handbook, among them the mismatch negativity (MMN) response, auditory steady state response (ASSR), and vestibular evoked myogenic potential (VEMP). Some serious condensing of material was in order, along with a major reorganization.

As luck would have it, weeks after signing the agreement for the New Handbook I was appointed chair of the Department of Communication Disorders. I didn't seek the position and I didn't want the position, but what the Dean wants the Dean gets. The Department needed to be guided through a rough period, with a new governance system and the chair's attention to big contracts and personnel changes. Complicating matters further, my tenure as chair began in late September 2001 ... less than 2 weeks after 9-11. Refusing to give up, or even reduce, my teaching and clinical duties, and with no one to accept my Chief of Audiology responsibilities, I entered the most demanding and stressful period of my entire career in audiology. Weeks, and then months, and then years slipped by with no consistent progress in writing the Book. Fortunately, I benefited from some very hard working and competent graduate assistants who steadily gathered articles and other resources I would need once the writing began.

Finally, with my self-limited term of not quite 4 years as chair coming to an end, I was able to set aside time for work on the Book. Progress was slow, and I exceeded the agreed upon deadline for delivery of the manuscript (by 3 years!). A move from Gainesville to St. Augustine and other writing and professional commitments also complicated the process, but by 2006 the Book was in production and publication was imminent. All in all, I was quite satisfied with the final product.

You can order this book online at: or at

James W. Hall III       |