Dr. Cynthia Compton-Conley has had a distinguished career as an educator and consumer advocate. From vacuum tubes to Bluetooth®, she is unquestionably best known for expanding awareness of assistive technology for hearing-impaired persons. An acclaimed expert in this specialty area, her counsel and advice are sought worldwide.
Dr. Compton-Conley earned a bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Douglass College at Rutgers University, a master’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Vanderbilt University Medical School and a doctorate in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the City University of New York. Dr. Compton-Conley is currently professor of audiology and director of the Assistive Devices Center at Gallaudet University. In addition to presentations, book chapters, and peer-reviewed articles, she has given generously of her time and talents to community and consumer organizations and the Special Olympics. She has been a consultant to the telecommunications, automotive, transportation, entertainment, retail, construction, and hearing aid industries and to over 20 governmental agencies during her career.
As the principal investigator at Gallaudet’s Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Hearing Enhancement, Dr. Compton-Conley is currently developing an online needs-assessment tool to assist audiologists and consumers in selecting appropriate hearing assistance technology. This project is funded by the Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services.
Dr. Compton-Conley’s contributions to the academic community extend beyond her own department and her own university. She has assisted in curriculum development in the counseling, education, and psychology departments at Gallaudet. She developed metrics for Gallaudet’s Fourth-Year AuD Externship Program, which are also used by other universities. She has served on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology (JAAA), the board of the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE), and the ANSI Working Group on Assistive Technology. She co-authored hearing standards for State of Illinois law enforcement officers for the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Dr. Compton-Conley has demonstrated an inspiring commitment to hearing-impaired consumers, students, and colleagues. Honors and awards include the Special Friends of Hearing Impaired People Award from the Hearing Loss Association of America, an influential consumer group; the Joel Wernick Award from the Academy of Doctors of Audiology; the Faculty of the Year Award for excellence in teaching and mentorship from her students; and the Fletcher Award in Technical Applications from the Center for Hearing and Communication.
Directly and indirectly, the core of Dr. Compton-Conley’s work has concentrated on improving signal-to-noise ratio for hearing-impaired listeners. In describing her contributions to the field, Dr. James Jerger remarked that she “has forgotten more about assistive technology than the rest of us will ever know.” Her now classic video and workbook, Doorways to Independence, earned her international recognition. Dr. Compton-Conley has motivated and inspired students for decades and she is highly esteemed by colleagues for her contributions in the lab, the classroom, and the community.