Audiology lost an illustrious leader with the passing of Geary A. McCandless, PhD, on January 4, 2017. A prolific contributor, Dr. McCandless published more than 90 articles and 40 book chapters, and presented hundreds of invited lectures. Dr. McCandless was interested and knowledgeable in a broad variety of topics related to hearing, auditory neurosciences, and beyond. He was an outdoor enthusiast and adventurer, knowledgeable and skilled in a wide range of topics from archeology to aviation and painting beautiful southwestern landscapes in oils.
Dr. McCandless retired from the University of Utah in 2002 as a professor emeritus after a distinguished career spanning over 40 years. He received his PhD from Wayne State University in 1959 studying under John Gaeth and earned his BA and master’s degrees at Brigham Young University in 1953 and 1956, respectively. Dr. McCandless went on to hold several faculty and administrative appointments including associate professor at the University of Colorado Medical School; head of audiology, Division of Otolaryngology at University of Utah; associate dean and interim dean of the College of Health and acting chair, Department of Communicative Disorders at the University of Utah.
His pioneering research in 1964 on the use of auditory-evoked potentials in children (especially the use of “late waves”) helped develop the computerized instrumentation to record these potentials for auditory diagnosis. Other research projects helped establish normative standards for acoustic immittance measures and its use as a screening tool for diagnosing middle ear disease. He worked with Paul Lyragaard to develop an early hearing aid fitting procedure known as Prescription of Gain and Output (POGO). His research on the Symbion Ineraid Cochlear Implant demonstrated the benefits of multi-channel implants over single channel devices. Dr. McCandless was a sought-after consultant and provided services to industry, the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Indian Health Service, and to Songbird Medical, where he designed the acoustic algorithms for their disposable hearing aids.
Dr. McCandless was an exemplary clinician, mentor, scientist, and researcher who was noted for his original thinking and creative ideas. His legacy will live on through the many students and colleagues he influenced during his lifetime.