William (Billy) Hal Martin, PhD
Dr. Martin has achieved remarkable accomplishments in every aspect of audiology practice spanning research, the clinic, and the classroom. While he may best be known for his work in hearing loss prevention, specifically development of the Dangerous Decibels® program, his areas of expertise span the physical and biological sciences including chemistry, quantitative analysis, computational physics, computer science, electrical engineering, cellular and environmental biology, genetics, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and electrophysiology, along with mathematics in the areas of calculus, analytic geometry, trigonometry, 3-D modeling and experimental design, and statistics. Dr. Martin has received 24 academic awards recognizing his achievements. Those who know Dr. Martin would say that the enthusiasm and inspiration that he has shared over the years with countless individuals in a variety of settings, disciplines, and locations around the world are even greater gifts. Together with his expertise, it is understandable why his contributions have led to his selection for this award.
Three distinct areas stand out in summarizing Dr. Martin’s unique contributions in audiology. First, he has gained national and international distinction for his research in sensory evoked potentials and intraoperative monitoring, where he has helped develop methods of recording evoked potentials that have set the stage for current practices in monitoring sensory and motor activity during surgical procedures. His pioneering work in auditory brainstem responses in infants helped set the foundation for our current practices in newborn hearing screening and diagnostic auditory electrophysiologic assessment.
Tinnitus is the second area where Dr. Martin has had a profound impact on clinical practice. His research has focused on treatment options based on physiologic and medical approaches. He has obtained over $10 million in funding to support this research. All the while he maintained a clinical practice where he worked directly with patients who suffered from tinnitus. A typical appointment involved spending five to six hours with each patient providing extensive counseling coupled with sound therapy options.
The third area is noise and hearing loss prevention. Long before the negative impact from recreational noise became popular, Dr. Martin received federal grants to develop a hearing loss prevention program culminating in the Dangerous Decibels program. Through his efforts, Dangerous Decibels has raised awareness among school-age children regarding the consequences of listening to sounds that are too loud for too long across the United States as well as in several other countries. In 2007, the American Academy of Audiology, through the DiscovEARy Zone, partnered with the Dangerous Decibels program as part of the Academy’s hearing loss prevention program. Under Dr. Martin’s leadership, U-Build-It Jolene Workshops continue to gain popularity among audiologists and nonaudiologists alike as a hearing loss prevention management tool.
Dr. Martin began a new position in November of 2013 as professor at the National University of Singapore where he will be building the audiology program. Previously he was professor of otorhinolaryngology/head and neck surgery and professor of public health and preventive medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), and multi program director at the Oregon Hearing Research Center at OHSU, Portland, OR. He maintains an appointment at OHSU.