Linda J. Hood, PhD, is the quintessential audiologist and hearing scientist, having made significant contributions to both clinical and basic science research over her 40-plus year career. After earning her PhD at the University of Maryland, College Park, she completed a three-year NIH post-doctoral fellowship at the Kresge Hearing Research Laboratory studying auditory anatomy and physiology.
Over the course of her academic career, she has held faculty positions at Louisiana State University Departments of Otolaryngology, Communication Disorders, Neuroscience, and Genetics, before taking her current position as a faculty member in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University.
Dr. Hood’s has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles in top audiology and medical journals. She is an outstanding scholar and clinician scientist who has provided foundational insights into the diagnosis of auditory disorders and their genetic bases. Her research in the areas of hereditary hearing loss, novel assays of afferent and efferent neural function, and the clinical diagnosis and management of auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder have had a lasting and meaningful impact on the profession of audiology.
She has been consistently funded by NIH and is currently modeling auditory responses and behaviors in pre-term infants. In addition, Dr. Hood has been an active research mentor to many future investigators, including her leadership on the NIH-NIDCD Developing Research Careers in the Hearing Sciences training grant for AuD students.
As a founding member of the American Academy of Audiology, Dr. Hood is also a dedicated leader in the profession of audiology. She has held multiple leadership roles including past-president for the American Academy of Audiology, the American Auditory Society, and the International Society of Audiology.
Dr. Hood’s nominators describe her as a “giving mentor” whose “strong expertise,” “strength and perseverance,” and “passion and enjoyment of our profession” clearly demonstrate the indelible impact she has had on her colleagues and the profession of audiology.
When the wise men and women of the Academy came up with the International Award in Hearing “to honor and recognize achievements of international significance in audiology,” they obviously had someone like Harvey Dillon, PhD, in mind. A key requirement is that the recipient of the award must have provided “outstanding service to the profession of audiology in a clinical, academic, research or professional capacity.” Dr. Dillon, however, does not quite meet these requirements, as worded. His service to the profession is not limited to a clinical or academic or research or professional capacity. He has made major contributions to the profession of audiology in every one of these areas.
Dr. Dillon’s clinical contributions include innovative new clinical tests and methods of evaluation that are now widely used. One example is the Client Oriented Scale of Improvement (COSI), developed by Dr. Dillon and his colleagues. This technique represents a major advance in the clinical evaluation of hearing aids, rehabilitation strategies, and other methods for improving hearing health. Dr. Dillon’s recent work on developing new ways of evaluating central auditory processing disorders is another example of his many clinical contributions.
His academic contributions are also substantive and of international significance. He is well known as a lecturer who can reduce the complexity of difficult concepts for his attentive audience. A measure of the quality of his teaching is the frequent number of times he has been invited to lecture in countries throughout the world. His textbook, Hearing Aids, now in its second edition, has become the standard reference internationally for students, educators, clinicians, researchers, and others with an interest in hearing aids.
Dr. Dillon’s research contributions have had a major impact on the profession. He has published over 200 scientific articles with a worldwide readership. The Academy recognized him as an outstanding researcher when he received the Research Achievement Award in 2003. He has continued to receive an array of international awards for his research and the application of his research in clinical practice.
The professional contributions of Dr. Dillon are wide-ranging and profound. As director of the Australian National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), he has had a major impact on the profession of audiology in Australia and abroad. His insightful leadership of a talented team of researchers and clinicians has resulted in substantive contributions to the profession with concomitant improvements in audiological practice throughout the world. The Academy chose well in selecting Harvey Dillon for the International Award in Hearing.
Brenda M. Ryals, PhD, is the recipient of the 2012 Jerger Career Award for Research in Audiology. Her career exemplifies the intent of this prestigious award from the American Academy of Audiology. Dr. Ryals is a professor of communication sciences and disorders and director of the auditory research laboratory at James Madison University, as well as an adjunct professor of psychology and of speech and hearing at the University of Maryland. She completed her BS in speech pathology and audiology at East Carolina University, her MA in audiology at the University of Tennessee, and her PhD in audiology and hearing science from the University of Virginia.
Throughout her career, Dr Ryals’ research has informed both the science and practice of audiology, and has resulted in fundamental advancements in auditory neuroscience. Her research has focused on issues of auditory plasticity and the neural and functional consequences of hair cell regeneration during development and after injury. Understanding the impact of hair cell regeneration on central auditory connections and on hearing in birds has important implications for human hearing, in that better predictions can be made concerning the structural and functional consequences of deafness and auditory restoration in humans. During this noteworthy career, Dr. Ryals has managed to mentor a multitude of young scientists, demonstrating (as one supporter notes) “…the curiosity, grace under fire, and ethics to which we all might aspire.”
In addition to her own personal and prolific research career. Dr. Ryals’ service to the scientific and professional communities has also been exemplary. She has served on numerous scientific review panels for the NIH, has been a member of the Scientific Review Board of the Deafness Research Foundation, and served on the NIH/NIDCD National Research Advisory Council. She is a past president of the American Auditory Society, a former member of the executive board of the American Academy of Audiology and is currently the editor-in-chief of the journal of the American Auditory Society, Ear and Hearing, to name only a few. Dr. Ryals has presented her work at more than 100 meetings and, despite her unenviable workload, she has managed to practice her skills by her humanitarian efforts in Kenya and with the Special Olympics International.
In all, Dr. Ryals is a highly productive and internationally respected leader in the fields of audiology and auditory neuroscience. She has a strong clinical background and maintains strong clinical ties, which serve to ground her work in activities that inform clinicians as well as basic scientists, and that have the potential to benefit patients. Her innovative research, her dedicated support of the science of audiology, and her generous and expert mentoring of the research careers of her students and colleagues all epitomize the essence of the Jerger Career Award for Research in Audiology.