Prior to 1990, I was only vaguely aware of otoacoustic emissions and their importance in unlocking mysteries of cochlear function. After listening to a few presentations on OAEs in the early 1990s at the annual winter meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology (ARO), a basic hearing science event, at the Tradewinds Hotel and Resort in beautiful warm St. Pete Beach, I began to informally study the topic. In 1992 I suggested to David Kirkwood a special issue of The Hearing Journal devoted to OAEs. The same year, I had acquired through some research funding at Vanderbilt the only clinical OAE device at the time, an ILO 88. Amazingly, David asked me to edit the issue which I gave the title "Otoacoustic emissions: Facts and fantasies". Soon after, at a conference celebrating the 25th anniversary of Jim Jerger's tenure at Baylor College of Medicine, I gave my first paper on OAEs. A rather critical review of our limited clinical knowledge of OAEs, it was published in a proceedings-type special issue of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (Hall JW III, Chase PA, Baer JE, Schwaber MK. Clinical application of otoacoustic emissions: What do we know about factors influencing measurement and analysis? Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery 110: 22-38, 1994).
That year (1994) at the AAA Convention in Richmond, most manufacturers introduced FDA-approved devices for recording distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs). As director of audiology, I was able to purchase first one DPOAE system (a Virtual device that ran on a Mac computer) and then another (a BioLogic Scout) while also talking another manufacturer into "loaning" me a device for alpha and beta site clinical trials (what evolved into the GSI 60). PhD dissertation research projects on OAE topics under my direction, and presentations at professional meetings followed within months. The publications are documented in my CV. By 1995 I was giving workshops on OAEs for audiologists unfamiliar with the new technique, while simultaneously frustrated by the lack of a good single comprehensive source of information on the topic. Most published papers were either written by researchers with little or no clinical experiences or were limited to screening applications of OAEs (usually with the Otodynamics ILO 88 device for transient OAE measurement).
My fundamental motivation for writing the Handbook of Otoacoustic Emissions was to deliver a book that I had yearned for while learning about the topic. Given the relative success of the other Handbook (of AERs), I had no problem selling the idea to Dr. Singh and others at Singular Publishing. Advances in computer technology and software (particularly for my preference, MacIntosh computers) made for much easier preparation of the book manuscript and figures. Research was easier and less time consuming thanks to the access via Internet to unbelievable quantities of information. Knowing an OAE book was in the offing, I assembled during my clinics plenty of interesting case reports. We were essentially performing OAEs on most patients, whether they needed them or not. Actually, at the time there really were no criteria for when OAEs were appropriate or might contribute to the diagnosis of auditory dysfunction. The Handbook of Otoacoustic Emissions writing went quickly (less than 2 years), and was wrapped up just as I accepted a position at the University of Florida (hence the change in book color scheme from black/gold to a version of the Gator orange and blue). Even though another OAE book (edited by Ted Glattke and Martin Robinette) appeared before mine, the single-authored and clinically oriented Handbook of Otoacoustic Emissions was well received. Well aware of the geometric increase in basic and clinical OAE papers after 2000, I knew it was just a matter of time before a new OAE book would be needed.