Objective Assessment of Hearing

After giving dozens of workshops on early identification and diagnosis of hearing loss in infants and young children, I finally realized that there was no one source of information on the topic, written for clinical audiologists. In this era of universal newborn hearing screening, audiologists (quite a few but not enough) are re-tooling to meet the increased demand for diagnostic services in the zero to three years population. Many of these audiologists never had formal coursework on some or all of the electroacoustic and electrophysiologic procedures required for evaluating hearing in very young children. Any audiologist who graduated more than 10 years ago missed out on formal didactic instruction, and supervised clinical practicum, on auditory steady state response and tone burst (frequency specific) ABR measurement. Audiologists whose career paths led to hearing aid dispensing and adult services would probably need to be refreshed on other procedures that are included in today's pediatric test battery, such as acoustic immittance measures, otoacoustic emissions, and electrocochleograpy. Other related topics, such as sedation and anesthesia in ABR measurement, and new technology for un-sedated ABR recording, also are part of the workshops I've given.

In planning the New Handbook of Auditory Evoked Responses, I'd discussed with the publisher a thin companion book focusing mostly on tone burst and bone conduction ABR measurements. Not all audiologists who want to purchase a large textbook to find this information, and most available information on electrophyisologic hearing techniques was rather technical, and not practical for the practicing audiologist.

Brad Stach and I were discussing a new series of small and focused books on audiology topics ... topics that warranted more than a book chapter but perhaps not a full textbook. The book series ... Core Clinical Concepts ... was launched by Plural Publishing in 2009. I suggested a book on electrophysiological tests for hearing assessment of infants and young children. As the book was written, we settled on the more direct and descriptive title Objective Assessment of Hearing. I realized that ASSR needed to figure prominently in the new book. Also, I was committed to including young and promising audiologists as authors in this book series. That is, to give these emerging audiology scholars and leaders a taste of what is was like to publish a book. Given those criteria for authors, I immediately thought of my South African audiology colleague De Wet Swanepoel. He was an emerging name in audiology, and an expert on ASSR. We first met at the University of Florida when De Wet was a young faculty member at the University of Pretoria, and just finishing his Ph.D. One summer (ours not his), he toured audiology facilities in the U.S.A. He passed through Gainesville at the time I was giving a workshop on auditory evoked responses and OAEs. I asked De Wet to speak briefly on ASSRs at the workshop, and I was quite impressed.

We wrote the book separately, but made most of the progress when I spent time in Pretoria in my capacity of "Extraordinary Professor" in the Department of Communication Pathology.

Objective Assessment of Hearing has certainly fulfilled the role I envisioned. In fact, we've received many compliments about the book. One of the most positive statements was from another bright and highly productive young audiologist ... Jace Wolfe in Oklahoma City, OK. Within days after the book was shipped to the first group of purchasers, Jace emailed to announce that he read Objective Assessment of Hearing cover-to-cover the day it arrived.

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


James W. Hall III       |       jwhall3phd@gmail.com