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doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000369575.59915.50

Over the Wire, a monthly feature, reports the latest developments in the hearing healthcare profession, including the activities of state and national professional associations and other nonprofit organizations. Please submit information to David Kirkwood, Editor, The Hearing Journal, 108 E 96th St., Suite 16C, New York, NY 10128, fax 212/784-1149; or e-mail

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WASHINGTON, DC—The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) has elected Gordon Walker to a 1-year term as president. Walker has been the VP general manager of the hearing components division of Knowles Electronics since 2005 and has been with the company since 1997.

In accepting his new position he said, “I am thrilled to take a leadership role with BHI and look forward to making a difference in people's awareness of hearing loss as a problem and the solutions that are available. Last year was a good one for BHI, and I believe 2010 will be even better as we launch a discussion forum for people with hearing loss, explore the use of Internet banner advertising and radio public service announcements to promote the BHI web site, establish more relationships within and outside the hearing health industry, publish additional installments of the MarkeTrak VIII publications series, and issue a series of new eGuides and educational articles for consumers.”



In addition to Walker, the BHI board elected Cathy Jones of Phonak as vice-president and Jeff Taylor of Sonion as secretary/treasurer and added Peer Lauritsen, president of Oticon, to the board. Additional board members are Brian Kinnerk (Siemens), Jerry Ruzicka (Starkey), William Luxford, MD (House Ear Clinic), Michele Fusco (Sonus), and Ray Jones (Jones Audiology).

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Financial assistance for hearing aids

BHI has also released Your Guide to Financial Assistance for Hearing Aids, a comprehensive e-guide indexing the multiple charitable foundations, private organizations, insurance plans, corporate benefits, and government programs across the country that help people with hearing loss access the healthcare they need.

Emphasizing the importance of amplification while reinforcing BHI's role as “advocate's for America's ears,” the new guide seeks to assist those two out of three adults who cite financial constraints as a core reason they do not use hearing aids.

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NEW YORK—Deafness Research Foundation (DRF), the leading national source of private funding for research in hearing and balance science, elected Clifford P. Tallman Jr. chairman of the board, effective January 1. He joined DRF's board of directors in 2008.

Figure. C

Figure. C

Tallman brings extensive experience in magazine and custom publishing, cable television, and Internet advertising sales to the job, as well as a dedication to healthy hearing. He is-co-founder and owner of Soskin Tallman Inc., a print and internet marketing firm in Norwalk, CT. He has also served as vice-president for marketing and business development for Miller Sports Group, where he was responsible for consumer marketing for Tennis, Cruising World, and Sailing World magazines. He-has also been publisher of US magazine and House Beautiful and advertising director for Architectural Digest and Changing Times.

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LAFAYETTE,IN—Maryann Heider is the latest recipient of an Audiology Foundation of America (AFA) scholarship. She will use her $1000 scholarship sponsored by Starkey Laboratories to pursue her AuD via distance education at Arizona School of Health Sciences.



Heider has been an audiologist with Hillcrest Hearing Aids in Dayton, OH, for 25 years.

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LEXINGTON, KY—The 18th annual Mid-America Conference on Hearing will be held here June 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency.

The featured speakers will be Cherie Carroll, speaking on web site planning; Margaret Adkins, AuD, on cochlear implants and hearing aids; R. Nadia Siritsky, MS, an ordained rabbi and a social worker, on ethics, motivational theory, and audiology; Jep Hostetler, PhD, on “the Joy Factor”; and Joe Neve, AuD, on documenting patient findings. Ten hours of continuing education will be offered.

For more information or to register, go to

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BETHESDA, MD—The Hearing Loss Association of America's Walk4Hearing™ program surpassed its fundraising goal of $1 million for 2009. Dedicated volunteers organized Walk events in 21 cities across the country, with more than 4000 people participating in the largest walkathon program for people with hearing loss.

The funds will support the association's goal of increasing awareness about hearing loss, minimizing the stigma associated with wearing hearing aids and cochlear implants, and expanding services and programs for people with hearing loss and their families at the national and local levels.

Mike Orscheln, president and CEO of Phonak, served as the first business team chair for the Chicago Walk4Hearing sponsored by Phonak. Other national sponsors included Advanced Bionics, HearUSA, IBM, Sorenson SIP Rela, and T-Mobile.

Washington Redskins safety Reed Doughty, who has had a hearing loss since childhood, was the honorary chair for the Washington, DC Walk4Hearing.

He was featured in a Public Service Announcement aired by Comcast SportsNet.

Lauren Harman of Yardley, PA, who took part in the Garden State Walk4Hearing, won the 2009 Walk4Hearing raffle prize drawing of top fundraisers. She will enjoy a week at the Spa and Golf Resort in Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico.

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DALLAS—The Tinnitus Research Initiative (TRI) and the University of Texas at Dallas, with co-sponsorship by the American Tinnitus Association, will hold the fourth International TRI Tinnitus Conference June 9-11 in Dallas at the Adolphus Hotel.

Conference topics will include: clinical management of tinnitus, diagnosis, basic neuroscience, genetics, pharmacology, sound therapy, auditory training, hearing aids, electrical stimulation of the cochlea, brain stimulation, somatosensory modulation, imaging, neurofeedback, nutrition and diet, and tinnitus subtyping. Those interested in attending may register at

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Ira J. Hirsh, PhD, whose groundbreaking research in hearing, auditory perception, speech and language, helped shape audiology and hearing science, died January 12 in Durham, NC, at the age of 87.

Dr. Hirsh's research findings helped explain how the-human brain and ear process and interpret sounds such as speech and music, and were instrumental in improving hearing aids and teaching methods for deaf children.

He was a major figure at the Central Institute for the Deaf (CID) and Washington University, both in St. Louis, for more than 50 years.

A native of New York City, he received a BA from New York State College for Teachers in Albany in 1942 and an MA from Northwestern University School of Speech in 1944. He then served in the Army Air Force from 1944-1946, where he was an instructor in the communications school and in aural rehabilitation. He earned his PhD from the Harvard University Psychoacoustic Laboratory in 1948, and in 1951 accepted a research appointment at CID and an assistant professorship of psychology at WUSTL. He was director of research at CID from 1965 to 1983 and director from 1992-1994.

At Washington University, where he was professor of psychology, he served as dean of the faculty of arts and sciences from 1969-1973 and chaired the Department of Psychology from 1983-1987. He was named the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Audiology in 1984.

A prolific writer, Dr. Hirsh published the classic textbook The Measurement of Hearing as well as more than 100 scholarly articles and papers. His publications were cited as the basis for research that influenced audiology, acoustics, psychoacoustics, and deaf education.

He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, served as president of the Acoustical Society of America, was a fellow at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and a member of the American Psychological Association.

Among the honors he received were a Gold Medal from the Acoustical Society of America, the Life Achievement Award from the American Auditory Society, and the Peter H. Raven Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Science of St. Louis.

Ira Hirsh found time for many avocations, including singing in the choir at the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis and with the St. Louis Chamber Chorus and the Bach Society of St. Louis. He also was an avid oenophile and world traveler, and he and his wife of 61-years, Shirley Helene Kyle, were accomplished ice dancers.

Dr. Hirsh is survived by two daughters, Eloise Hirsh of New York City and Elizabeth Hirsh of Salt Lake City; two sons, Richard of Chicago and Donald of Chapel Hill, NC; a sister, Jane Davis of Rochester, NY; and seven grandchildren. His wife died in 2004.

Memorial donations may be made to the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis, 5007 Waterman Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108, or to Washington University, Development Services, Campus Box 1082, 1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130.

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