Audiology in the USA

Wayne Staab
November 25, 2013

Occasionally, we get an opportunity to present material of significant historical interest.  We are honored to provide the post that follows, reprinted with permission from the book “Audiology in the USA” by Dr. James Jerger.

James Jerger, Ph.D. Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences University of Texas at Dallas

James Jerger, Ph.D.
Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
University of Texas at Dallas

The book aims to give students and young audiologists a sense of the history of the profession.  Beginning with the first commercial audiometers, the book traces the development of both the overall profession, and the principle sub-specializations that have developed within it over the past half century.  Emphasis is placed on the contributions of the many individual clinicians and researchers who have pioneered various aspects of the audiological knowledge base and its wide clinical applications.

Topics include the early pioneers, the military programs during and after World War II, and the four major paths along which the profession has developed: the diagnostic path, the rehabilitative path, the screening path and the auditory processing disorder path.  Other topics include, tinnitus, creation of the American Academy of Audiology, and the development of audiological education.  The book, which includes the remainder of this Chapter, is available from Plural Publishing                                                                                       Wayne Staab, Section Editor

Audiology in the USA:

Rehabilitation – Chapter 6

For easy reading, click on the icon at the far right below.

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  1. I would like to add an addendum, or clarification, to Dr. Jerger’s history. It is true that, prior to 1979, ASHA’s Code of Ethics deemed it “unethical” for audiologists to sell HAs to their patients for a profit. It is true that ASHA kicked out some audiologists, including Dr. Barry Elpern, for violating ASHA’s Code. It is true that ASHA changed its Code in 1979. However, there is a little more to the story of WHY ASHA changed its Code than a group of audiologists “exerting pressure on ASHA to change its ethical stance”.

    The actual back story is that a group of engineers sued their national organization for similar ethcal standards that precluded engineers for charging for services that they were educated and licensed to perform. The engineers took the suit to the Supreme Court and won. Their national organization was found to be violating Federal Restraint of Trade laws. When ASHA’s legal counsel caught wind of the outcome of that lawsuit, they advised ASHA to change their Code of Ethics in order to avoid a wave of lawsuits from their member audiologists. The potential threat of ASHA being charged with violating Federal Restraint of Trade laws is what actually caused ASHA to change its position, not pressure from their members or a sudden change of heart for their members. We, and our patients, should all be eternally grateful and thankful to that group of engineers for indirectly rescuing the audiology profession.

    Have a fantastic Thanksgiving!!!!

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