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Audiology Desk Reference: Interview with Ross J. Roeser, PhD

Audiology Desk Reference: Interview with Ross J. Roeser, PhD

September 27, 2013 Interviews

Douglas L. Beck, AuD, speaks with Dr. Roeser about his second edition audiology desk reference and his though processes behind the books development.

Academy: Good morning, Ross! Congratulations on the second edition of Audiology Desk Reference. It must have been a real labor of love to revise and update the original?

Roeser: Thanks, Doug. It really was. Much like you, I often swear off writing text books! Nonetheless, during AudiologyNOW! in Dallas, I popped in at the Thieme Booth, and their new medical editor told me they had sold out of the original Roesers Audiology Desk Reference, and they were getting multiple requests, and they wanted to publish a new edition...and as you can imagine, I looked right into her eyes, thought carefully, focused and said no.

Academy: Which is absolutely the correct answeras anyone who has ever written a textbook will surely confirm!

Roeser: Well, I thought so! And then we talked. She told me there were quite a few concessions that they could offer, which might be significant enough for me to re-think my position. Of note, Thieme was ready, willing, and able to get the permissions for re-prints.

Academy: That is huge.

Roeser: Yes, I don't think many of the readers understand how time intensive and expensive it can be to obtain permission to re-print an excellent illustration or photograph, and this is often the most difficult part of the writing and publishing process. In fact, in the vast majority of the cases, when an author provides original text and artwork for a new article or a book, its the publisher who becomes the owner of those materials. Ironically, in some cases, I have had to pay the publisher to re-print my own previously published materials.

Academy: Yes, been there, done that. Its very frustrating to be in that position. But I have to admit, in looking through the new edition, the anatomy and physiology artwork are simply extraordinary.

Roeser: Thanks, Doug. Yes. That section in particular, benefitted tremendously from Thieme obtaining permissions as we were able to pick and choose from hundreds, or perhaps thousands of previously published illustrations from Thieme Medical, to maximally demonstrate the points we were making.

Academy: And the photos of the pinna and the tympanic membrane are simply extraordinary.

Roeser: Yes, Thieme Medical provided some of the clearest and best audiologic photos I've seen.

Academy: Ross, I noticed you have an entire chapter on Audiometric Standards. That's not a topic included in many textbooks. Why did you include it here?

Roeser: I'm glad you asked that, Doug. Finding calibration data is difficult and obtaining actual copies of the same can be very expensive. I think I paid about $225 for a copy of the ANSI S3.6-2010 standard. So I thought it would be useful to abstract this particular information for readers. Further, on pages 143-144, I offer a list of some of the available audiology-oriented standards, which are slightly more voluminous than one might suspect!

Academy: Indeed! You include multiple ANSI standards, ISO standards, IEC standards, as well as classroom acoustics standards. Admittedly, some of these are not at all familiar to me, gulp!

Roeser: Well, again, thats why I posted them. Good to have them all in one place, when someone starts searching for a particular standard.

Academy: And without getting into the details of all the chapters, chapter titles include Anatomy and Physiology, Physical Acoustics, Audiometric Standards, Tinnitus, Hearing Loss Prevention, Vestibular Assessment and Rehabilitation, Hearing Instruments, Psychosocial Aspects/Rehabilitation, Deafness, Organizations and Publications and more.

And its nice to have all of the terms and standards referenced in one text, so for those who grew up under the ASHA, Academy, or IHS models, they can see how the different terms are defined and how they interact, and how they sometimes further confuse the issue! What was that wonderful definition from Carhart with regard to defining audiology?

Roeser: He referred to it as "the science of hearing, art of hearing assessment, and the (re)habilitation of hearing loss." All of which implies (to me) that there does exist some variability in protocols and procedures, and we can and should expect them to change over time as new knowledge comes to the forefront.

Academy: Ross, let me put you on the spot a little and ask you, as someone who has been in the profession for quite a while, has served as a professor at one of the most prominent audiology programs in the world, and as the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Audiology, and as an author of many audiology textbooks, what are the major failings in standard clinical audiology diagnosis in 2013?

Roeser: Wow! Interesting question. I believe there are two test protocols that are lacking and which need to be improved immediately in my opinion. First, any and all word recognition scores should only be obtained using recorded materials. Second, if you're going to test word recognition scores (and you should), you must also test speech in noise ability as the ability to clearly perceive speech in noise is the single most common complaint across all the patients we see, from people with undiagnosed hearing problems, to hearing aid and cochlear implant patients.

Academy: I could not agree more. In fact, Michael Nilsson and I just published (May 2013) a new article exactly on that topic (see link at end of interview), and Jennifer Repovsch (August 2013) and I urged all hearing health-care professionals to incorporate these same protocols into clinical practice. Ill add a few links to other recent Academy interviews that identify these areas as hot topics. Ross, what else can you tell me about Roeser's Audiology Desk Reference?

Roeser: My hope is that readers of this new edition will see the scope and breadth of knowledge areas that one must possess to function adequately in the profession of audiology, and that this information will pique an interest in delving more into the fabulous arena of information in the diagnosis and treatment for those with hearing impairment.

Academy: Thanks very much for your time, Ross. I wish you all the best and good luck with the new book!

Ross J. Roeser, PhD, is a Lois and Howard Wolf professor in pediatric audiology, an executive director emeritus, and head of the doctor of audiology program at the University of Texas at Dallas, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, Dallas, Texas. He is also the author of Roesers Audiology Desk Reference.

Douglas L. Beck, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology, is the Web content editor for the American Academy of Audiology.


Beck DL, Nilsson M. (2013) Speech-in-Noise Testing: A Pragmatic Addendum to Hearing Aid Fittings. Hearing Review 16(37).

Beck D, Repovsch J. (2013) Observations on Speech, Speech-in-Noise and Embedded Tests. Hearing Review 8.

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