Currently viewing Vol. 4 • Issue 2 • 2017

James Jerger: A Life in Audiology

Plural Publishing, 2017 ISBN 9781944883683

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Jerger_JJLAThis book is an autobiography by Dr. James Jerger, but this is also a book about the history of audiology. In the larger scheme of things, I guess it didn’t matter that Dr. Jerger, as a young recruit in 1946 went AWOL for several days, but it definitely adds colour to our field. It probably is irrelevant that he managed to skip basic training, and found himself, by accident of course, aiming a loaded rifle at his commanding officer during a practice session. I guess it’s nice to be human.

In many cases the people that are now in our field came through unusual past times and circumstances before entering our field. Some were women’s dress cutters, and other’s like Dr. Jerger took a more direct path. After an undergraduate at Northwest University in Chicago- interrupted by 2 years of military service, Dr. Jerger wanted to do graduate work in Iowa. However, he was able to get an assistantship with someone named Raymond Carhart so he was able to stay at Northwestern. This was to perform hearing aid evaluations under Dr. Carhart’s guidance.

The book continues, touching on encounters with many of the famous names in our field. Dr. Jerger found himself on the ground floor of many of the technologies and techniques we use every day in our field, and with his research and clinical talents, was able to help push our field forward.

In the introduction, Dr. Jerger states: “My principle purpose in writing this book is to influence students who may be contemplating… a career in the field of audiology that has rewarded me so richly. Along the way I hope to tell you something of my research and of the many colleagues and friends who have influenced my thoughts and my work in ways that I can never fully repay.”

This paragraph says it all. This is a book with anecdotes, incidents, accidental crossings, and descriptions of the birth of technologies, all written in a very gentle manner. I read the entire book in one sitting and was left wanting to read more. Dr. Jerger, other than being Dr. Jerger, is also an excellent writer and has nicely conveyed his love of audiology.

I have no intention of lending this book to anyone since I will probably want to reread it in a year or so.

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About the author
Marshall Chasin, AuD

Marshall Chasin, AuD, Doctor of Audiology, Editor in Chief

Marshall is the director of research at the Musicians' Clinics of Canada and has presented and published extensively on the topics of hearing loss prevention in musicians and hearing aids for music.

Other than being the editor in chief of Canadian Audiologist, Marshall Chasin writes a regular column in the Hearing Review called Back to Basics. Some of these columns are reprinted in this issue of Canadian Audiologist with permission of the Hearing Review.