Since receiving his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1971 and the electrical engineer professional degree from MIT in 1972, James M. Kates’s accomplishments as a research engineer in both industry and academia demonstrate his profound influence on the hearing aid industry. He has held positions at Siemens Hearing Instruments, AudioLogic, Cirrus Logic, and GN ReSound, developing and contributing to key advancements in digital hearing aids and advanced signal processing features. Most notable is his research into multiband compression and advanced feedback cancellation algorithms, features that almost every hearing aid in the world now uses. In 2012, after retiring from GN ReSound, Kates continued his work in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder as a scholar-in-residence and a professor of hearing engineering research practice. Most recently, he has turned his attention to developing objective metrics for predicting hearing aid sound quality and speech intelligibility and is recognized as one of the leading experts on sound quality and the development and testing of signal-processing algorithms to improve the quality of sound delivered through hearing aids.
Kates’s willingness to share his expertise with others is evident in much of his work. Whether teaching graduate courses in hearing aid signal-processing concepts, providing computer code so that others can implement, learn from, and use his methods, or capturing more than 40 years of knowledge in his textbook Digital Hearing Aids, his expertise has benefitted audiologists and engineers around the world. Indeed, most digital-signal-processing engineers working for hearing aid companies today have his book on their shelves.
Over his distinguished career, Kates has authored or coauthored more than 75 professional papers, trade journal articles, and book chapters and holds 26 U.S. patents. He is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and of the Audio Engineering Society. His research and scholarly achievements and his service to the industry and audiology community make James M. Kates a most deserving recipient of this award.