By James Jerger This article is a part of the September/October 2017, Volume 29, Volume 5, Audiology Today issue. I will always regret that I never met C.C. Bunch. I like to think of him as the very first audiologist. Toward the end of his life, he was a member of the faculty of my alma mater, Northwestern University, but he died three years before I entered the school as a freshman in 1945. He was well remembered by the older faculty, especially by voice scientist Paul Moore, who helped Bunch prepare his book, Clinical Audiometry, the first real tutorial on the techniques and interpretations of pure-tone audiometric testing. Bunch wrote the book while at Northwestern in 1941–1942, just before his untimely death in June of 1942. The story of C.C. Bunch’s career as the first audiologist begins in 1917 at the University of Iowa. Psychologist Carl Seashore was dean of the graduate school and a lifelong student of music. He is perhaps best known for the Seashore Tests of Musical Ability. His wide interests included many other aspects of the auditory sense, especially the measurement of hearing loss. He shared this interest with local otologist Lee Wallace Dean. Together they embarked on a project to study “practical applications of methods of testing hearing.” In 1917, testing for hearing loss was still dominated by tuning fork tests, especially the Weber, Rinné, and Schwabach (Newby, 1958). These procedures were specialized for deciding what kind of hearing loss the patient had, but were not very good at estimating the degree of loss at various frequencies. What Seashore and Dean had in mind was a device capable of presenting a pure-tone whose frequency and intensity could be controlled precisely, rather than by the imprecise manual stimulation from the stem of a tuning fork (i.e., nothing less than what we today call an audiometer). What they needed, they both agreed, was a bright young physicist who could carry the project through to the actual fabrication of such a device. They had both been impressed by Bunch, who had just completed his master’s degree in psychology and physics at Iowa. Dean described him as a brilliant young man. Supported by a five-year grant obtained by Seashore and Dean, Bunch pursued his PhD degree in psychology as he worked on the construction of what he termed the “pitch range audiometer.” Bunch succeeded in building a prototype audiometer but it was never commercially available. The range of frequencies was generated by a variable speed DC motor, driving a set of two rotating disks. Intensity level was varied by means of resistors. Bunch used this device in early studies of Dr. Dean’s patients, but in a few years the Western Electric 1-A audiometer, which took advantage of the capabilities offered by the recent development of the vacuum tube, was available. Bunch and Dean acquired one for the then-steep price of $1,500, and Bunch used it exclusively for the next two decades. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!