On this and linked pages, you'll get answers to a fundamental and burning question that I never asked before pursuing my chosen career ... What's Audiology and Who is an Audiologist? If you're really curious, you'll also learn more about the numerous lucky events that led me into audiology, and my early years in the profession. The facts and hard documentation are all summarized my Curriculum Vita (CV). Herein is the "rest of the story", or at least part of it.
A fun little pamphlet was developed by Jerry Northern, and distributed at the 2008 Convention of the American Academy of Audiology in Charlotte North Carolina. The document was entitled: "Meet the Founders: Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of the American Academy of Audiology". It included the photographs posted on this page of the 32 audiologists who gathered in Houston Texas and founded the AAA.
Dr. James Jerger organized this revolutionary meeting. Fortunately, I was across the street from Jim and Baylor College of Medicine at the time, serving as Associate Professor and Chief of Audiology in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Texas School of Medicine. When all is said and done, I'll look back at my participation in the beginning of the AAA and its development over the past 20+ years as one of the ... perhaps the most ... exciting rewarding and exciting of my professional activities.
The little booklet included for each of the Founders a brief biographical sketch, and then brief statements for three questions or topics: 1) What inspired you to pursue audiology as a career? 2) Most memorable audiology experience, and 3) Most embarrassing audiology moment. Needless to say, the responses are entertaining and often quite hilarious. If you are an audiologist with an appreciation for who we are and where we've come from (at least in the United States), try to find a copy of the booklet. Although the booklet is a wonderful upbeat update on some of the "Big Names" in the profession, for me it always triggers bittersweet memories. Too many of the enthusiastic bright eyed persons you see in the photograph are no longer with us. I'm particularly saddened when I clearly see in the back row, standing above the crowd, the face of my dear friend and colleague Roger Ruth. For all but two years from 1979 to his death in 2009, Roger and I roomed together at major professional meetings, first ASHA Conventions and then beginning with the first AAA Convention at Kiawah Island South Carolina all subsequent conventions. Only the death of an immediate family member (spouse) and life-saving surgery around the time of a Convention kept Roger away.
Here's my answer to the question: What inspired you to pursue audiology as a career?
"After completing an undergraduate degree with a biology major, I knew I wanted a career in the health professions. My father and grandfather (JW Hall Jr. and Sr.) were optometrists, but I wanted to strike out on my own. I elected to go to Northwestern University (they offered me a full scholarship) for speech pathology (hey, during high school I worked with the pathologist in the lab at the local hospital and that was fun). I had never met an audiologist, or heard of audiology, before arriving in Evanston. During an Intro to Audiology course taught by Earl Harford in my 1st semester of the masters program, I saw the light and converted to audiology."
If you, for whatever reason, are interested in reading more about how and why audiology became such an important part of my life, simply click on the related links.