What’s In A Name: A New Audiology Name Game!

In my continued search for all things audiology and international, my travels recently took me to Bismarck, North Dakota. Yes, I know, North Dakota is part of the U.S., but the city was named after the German,  Otto Von Bismarck, Chancellor of the German Empire.   I just had a sense something audiologic might appear. I couldn’t find Otto, but I did locate someone with German ancestry, Herman Gustav Mueller III, better known as Gus. This week at Hearing International we are treated to the fun observations of my old friend, colleague and North Dakota native, Gus Mueller. An old 1960s song that allowed us to play “The Name Game”. In 1963, Shirley Ellis gave us a unique way to play a game with names and the lyrics go……

The Name Game for Shirley 

Shirley, Shirley 
Bo-ber-ley, bo-na-na fanna 
Fo-fer-ley. fee fi mo-mer-ley, Shirley! 

In case you do not remember this one……….Heres how it goes……Click here for a Shirly Ellis rendition of her Name Game  song………

Growing up in North Dakota, USA of course has it interesting benefits and liabilities.  As usual, Dr. Mueller puts things in a unique and practical perspective that sums up a topic very well.  No, its not probe microphone technology this time, its a NEW Audiology NAME GAME!……RMT

“What would your name be if you were an exotic dancer?” 


You’ve probably all played this game: 

The way it works is you take the name of your first pet as your first name, and the street you lived on as a child as your last name. So, for example, if you happened to live on Fern street, we might have a dancer from named Flossie Fern. Not bad.

For me, growing up on a farm just outside of Ryder, N. D., that little game never worked so well. Women just don’t run up to the stage to shove a dollar in your waistband when your name is “Rover Dump Ground.” I’m guessing that is what derailed my childhood neighbor Faye Wilson’s pole-dancing career, as “Bessie Dump Ground” really isn’t much better. Yes, it’s true, the road heading southeast of town, leading out to the Mueller and Wilson farms along the railroad tracks has been called “Dump Ground Road” for a long, long time, although I don’t think there ever was a sign to that effect. In case you’re curious, it indeed was the road that you would normally take to get to the Ryder dump ground, but that still doesn’t make it right.
What made it all worse growing up on that road was that I had to compete with other farm kids who lived on roads with cool names. For example, my buddies Lee Sorenson and Mike Larson lived on farms southwest of Ryder on Highway 2, except it was called “King’s Highway. ”How do you compete with King’s Highway when you’re on Dump Ground Road? Well, for starters, our farm was recently named a North Dakota Centennial Farm. This distinction is awarded to farms that have been in the same family for 100 years—in our case this goes back to my grandfather, Herman Gustav the 1st. Armed with this clout, my nephew Kirby Mueller went to work to establish a new name for our road. I should mention, that adjacent to the original homestead, there is a large slough, which if you squint a little, sort of looks like a lake.

And so now . . . it finally happened . . . the road is officially named “Mueller Lake Road,” complete with a road sign located just south of the elevators as you leave the town of Ryder. The scorn of the dump ground is finally removed. “Rover Lake” . . . Yeah . . . Not bad. I might try that dancing venture after all!



Guest Author for this Post:

H. Gustav Mueller, Ph.D.
Dr. H. Gustav Mueller is Professor of Audiology, Vanderbilt University, and has a private consulting practice nestled between the tundra and reality on an island west of Bismarck, ND. He is the Senior Audiology consultant for Sivantos Group and Contributing Editor for AudiologyOnline. He also holds faculty positions with the University of Northern Colorado and Rush University.



Ellis, S. and Chase, L. (1963).  The Name Game. Producer: Charles Castello, Congress Records, Kapp Records now MCA.  Retrieved July 10, 2018.  



About Robert Traynor

Robert M. Traynor is a board certified audiologist with 45 years of clinical practice in audiology. He is a hearing industry consultant, trainer, professor, conference speaker, practice manager, and author. He has 45 years experience teaching courses and training clinicians within the field of audiology with specific emphasis in hearing and tinnitus rehabilitation. Currently, he is an adjunct professor in various university audiology programs.