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doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000294500.55529.d0
Over the Wire


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SOMERSET, NJ— Oticon, Inc., is seeking nominations for its 2001 Oticon Focus on People Awards. This national awards program honors individuals with mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss who have demonstrated that hearing loss does not limit a person's ability to make a difference in their families, communities, and the world.

Oticon President Mikael Worning said, “We created the awards program in the belief that all of us benefit when the public develops a more positive and encouraging perception of hearing loss.”

This year's awards will include four categories: Youth (ages 5–12), Student (ages 13–25 who are full-time students), Adults (over age 18), and Advocacy (persons involved in volunteer or support efforts for the hard-of-hearing and deaf community). Awards in the Practitioner category will also be given to hearing care professionals who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of people with hearing loss.

The award recipients will be announced at the American Academy of Audiology 2001 Convention in April.

Anyone may nominate him/herself or another by using the nomination form available on Oticon's website (, by calling 800/526-3921, or by sending a postcard with name and address to: Oticon Focus on People Awards, c/o Melissa Alfonso, Oticon, Inc., 29 Schoolhouse Road, Somerset, NJ 08873. The deadline for award nominations is February 15.

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CHICAGO— Hear PO Corp. will sponsor the first National Managed Care Summit in hearing health in Reno, NV, April 16–18. Hear PO, a subsidiary of Sonus Corp., is the largest national provider of benefits in the United States, covering over 57 million Americans.

Hear PO President Kathy A. Foltner said, “Hear PO designed the summit to provide hearing professionals with an opportunity to learn practice-building strategies for success in the highly competitive world of managed care. Through a series of seminars, workshops, think-tanks, and one-on-one meetings, hearing professionals will learn how to make managed care work for them.”

For more information, contact: Hear PO Corp., Kim Cavitt, MA, CCC-A, Director of Professional Relations, 800/920-4327 ext. 103, e-mail:

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SAN DIEGO— Representatives of the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists (ADA), American Academy of Audiology (AAA), Organization of AuD Program Directors (OAPD), National Association of Future Doctors of Audiology (NAFDA), and Audiology Foundation of America (AFA) met here in October during ADA's 2000 Convention to discuss AuD program accreditation and standards. The group's consensus was to request that AFA fund a consultant with expertise in accreditation issues to investigate the feasibility of developing an independent accreditation group for AuD programs.

The group agreed to work jointly on several related issues pertaining to accreditation. A representative of each AuD program will be invited to participate in the discussions.

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BETHESDA, MD— Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH) has named Brenda Battat as its acting executive director. She assumed that position on November 1 when SHHH's executive director, John L. Jaco, completed his tenure.

Battat has been with SHHH National for 11 years, and has been deputy executive director of SHHH as well as acting executive director in 1999.

The SHHH board of trustees has formed a search committee to consider candidates for the executive director position. Interested applicants can send a letter of intent and resume to Marcia Finisdore, chair, Executive Director Search Committee, 8 Azalea Lane, Media, PA 19063, e-mail:

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WASHINGTON, DC— The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) has appointed two new senior staff members: John M. Flanders as children's rights advocate and Carol Fraser Fisk as director of operations.

Flanders will take an active role in pressing for the rights of children with hearing loss at the federal, state, and local levels, and for coordinating and providing support for AG Bell's existing network of children's rights advocates.

As director of operations, Fisk will provide oversight for AG Bell's internal operations and will serve as coordinator for the $3 million renovation of the historic Volta Bureau, AG Bell's headquarters. She previously served as executive director of the American Academy of Audiology, vice-president of public policy for Volunteers of America, and founding executive director of the Assisted Living Federation of America. She was also appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the United States Commissioner on Aging, where she administered a $1 billion national program.

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LIVONIA, MI— The Hearing Aid Foundation (HAF), the charitable wing of the International Hearing Society (IHS), announced contributions and appointments at its annual Board of Directors meeting in Anaheim, CA, on September 15 during the IHS 2000 Convention.

The HAF board unanimously voted to grant a $1000 contribution to the National Organization for Hearing Research (NOHR), which provides funding for biomedical research into the treatments, prevention, causes, and cures for hearing loss and deafness.

New appointments to the board include: Patricia Connelly, PhD, CCC-A; Herbert Gorlin, BC-HIS; and Floyd Loupot. The other current directors are Raymond Rich, BC-HIS; Joel Mynders, BC-HIS; Dan Quall, BC-HIS, CCC-A; and Michael Winship, BC-HIS.

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BALTIMORE— Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, publisher of The Hearing Journal and many other journals and books in medicine and allied health, has introduced the Stedman's Electronic Medical Dictionary Version v.5.o. This electronic dictionary contains over 102,000 terms, with 12,000 new to this edition, and over 1000 images to improve comprehension.

Enhanced features include new sound technology, designed to help with pronunciation of over 35,000 difficult terms, and new QuickTime™ animations to illustrate terms.

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Samuel Lybarger, hearing industry pioneer, dies



Samuel Francis Lybarger, a brilliant engineer and inventor who played a major role in the development of hearing aids and other hearing healthcare technology, died November 1 at his home in McMurray, PA. He was 91 years old.

A graduate of Carnegie Tech, Lybarger joined Radioear, a leading hearing aid manufacturer, in 1930. He remained with that company throughout his career, serving for many years as its president. Even after retiring as president in 1973, he continued to serve as a consultant to Radioear for many years.

Among the many devices that he designed or invented were a high-output air/bone audiometer (in 1933), vacuum tube hearing aids with “crystal” microphones, a wearable vacuum tube hearing aid with a magnetic microphone and an inductive telephone pick-up (invented in 1947 and unique for several years), and two types of bone vibrators.

In 1950, Lybarger began working on transistor body aids, using Radioear magnetic microphones. He then helped develop eyeglass and behind-the-ear hearing aids with Knowles transducers. In all, he held 22 patents.

He also invented the half-gain fitting method and wrote numerous book chapters and articles on audiology. He served as president of the Hearing Aid Industry Conference (HAIC), a forerunner of today's Hearing Industries Association.

At the news of his death, friends and colleagues recalled Lybarger both for his extraordinary contributions to the hearing industry and for his personal qualities.

Henry Meltsner, who, along with Harold Spar, founded the Hal-Hen Company and the Widex Hearing Aid Company, served with Lybarger on the board of HAIC. He said, “Sam was an amazing engineer and also the finest of gentlemen. There were no airs about him. He was a credit to the industry and the kind of person you want to have as a friend.”

Mead Killion, PhD, president of Etymotic Research and himself a distinguished engineer, said, “Sam Lybarger was an engineer's engineer and a gentleman's gentleman. He let no challenge stand in his way of making better hearing aids.”

As one example of Lybarger's many contributions, Killion noted that “the 2-cc coupler that we now consider routine he made on a lathe—including the complete condenser microphone at the bottom!”

Killion also recalled Lybarger's “ability to bring people together into a consensus on technical standards.” He added, “Sam's ability to separate the issues—about which he could write strongly and passionately—from the people earned him the respect and admiration of everyone who knew him. Sam was not only a creative and pioneering engineer, he was a friend to all of us.”

Samuel Lybarger is survived by his son, Edward H., four grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. His wife, Alberta, predeceased him.

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Section Description

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, 2124 Broadway, Suite 108, New York, NY 10023, fax (212) 595–9214, or e-mail

Copyright © 2001 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.