Dr. Zapala is an associate professor of audiology in the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic Foundation. He is also a senior consultant in otorhinolaryngology and the chair of the audiology division at the Mayo Clinic Florida. He is active in direct patient care; resident, fellow, and post-doctoral mentorship; clinical research; and clinical information management. From a research perspective, he has focused on mathematical modeling methods to improve audiological and vestibular diagnostics and to quantify the functional consequences of hearing impairment. He also studies the perceptual and functional consequences of vestibular and balance disorders.
Dr. Zapala received a Master of Science degree from Utah State University in 1983 and a PhD from University of Memphis in 1993. Early in his career, he developed the Mid-South Lions Infant Hearing Center and the Methodist/University of Tennessee Hearing and Balance Center at Methodist Healthcare in Memphis. He also served as a clinical professor in otolaryngology at the University of Tennessee. He continues to publish, teach, and present in the areas of vestibular assessment and diagnostic audiology. Dr. Zapala has served on the American Board of Audiology, the American Academy of Audiology Board of Directors, and the American Balance Society Board of Directors. He is also a past president of the Tennessee Academy of Audiology.
More recently, he served on the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine Committee on the Accessibility and Affordability of Hearing Healthcare.
He is the recipient of the Edward Dalstrom Distinguished Service Award by the Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service (2001); Distinguished Service Award from the American Board of Audiology (2007); Jerger Mentor Award in Clinical Research (2009); Outstanding Alumnus of the Year by School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Memphis (2013); and the Arnold D. Tuttle Award in Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine (2013). He was recognized as Clinician of the Year for Mayo Clinic Florida (2016). His research is supported by the Mayo Clinic, the Knowles Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. He is currently funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to study ways of decreasing the cost of hearing health care associated with hearing aid use.