A Memorable Experience in Audiology
William F. Carver, PhD, FAAA Ret.
I was called away from a dinner party on a Saturday evening by several hospital otolaryngology residents to test a patient on an emergency basis. The residents wanted to operate that evening but needed an audiogram before they could start. The patient presented with the history of having dived into the shallow end of a pool in Mexico and hit his head. The patient stated that he “came up deaf in one ear.” Since it was the first day of his vacation and since the local doctor said it was merely middle ear effusion, he stayed for a week, showing up in emergency upon his return.
The patient’s audiogram showed a normal left ear and a severe precipitous mixed loss on the right. Since it was a mixed loss, I did a tympanogram that showed normal middle ear pressure but an extremely compliant drum. I wrote in his chart that he had a interrupted ossicular chain and probably a subluxed footplate… and went back to my dinner party.
When I arrived in my office on Monday, about five of our residents were in my office wanting to know how I knew that the patient had a subluxed footplate. I had only recently purchased the Madsen impedance meter and had made a presentation at grand rounds explaining what it could do. I had promptly been told by the residents that they could do the same with a pneumoscope, but after this incident they were believers!
About the Author: Bill Carver obtained his PhD at the University of Southern California in 1960. His first postdoctoral employment was with Beltone Electronics Corporation (then called Beltone Hearing Aid Co.). Bill spent eight years with Beltone advising on new products and travelling throughout the United States and Canada meeting with colleagues, giving talks, and so on. Deciding that he required additional education and research experience, he took a special postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University under Drs. Raymond Carhart and Tom Tillman for three years. Opportunities opened up for him then, and he took the position of director of audiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
During his tenure at Northwestern and Washington, he noted the need for commercially available tape-recorded test materials. Consequently, he started Auditec of St. Louis, which, at the beginning, was an evening and weekend endeavor. By word of mouth the business picked up, and in time it became obvious that he would have to relinquish his position at Washington and either devote himself full time to the business or let the business drop. Thirty-six years later, Bill is still successfully running Auditec. He often says, “I’m not getting rich monetarily from Auditec, but I am happier than I’ve ever been, and that’s all that matters.” Bill will turn 83 in September.