Semin Hear 2004; 25(1): 81-92
DOI: 10.1055/s-2004-823050
Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

What Are Standards - and Why Do I Care?

Laura Ann Wilber1
  • 1Professor of Audiology and Hearing Sciences, Professor of Otolaryngology, Northwestern University, Wilmette, Illinois
A Dedication to Tom Tillman This article is dedicated to Tom Tillman, who was my teacher, my colleague, and my friend. Tom taught me how to check the calibration of audiometric equipment (back in the days when we used volt meters, multiplied the output voltage by k factors and used log tables to determine dB SPL) and why that was important. He introduced me to the standards used for calibration of audiometers. Much later, I had the pleasure of working with him when he chaired the Council on Professional Standards of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. His warm manner, his humor, his intelligence and his leadership were invaluable as that council began its work. He even told me about standards for judging chickens…but that is another story. We miss him, but we shall not forget him. Tom always insisted that work be done carefully and correctly. He was truly a gentleman and a scholar, and a man who inspired his many students.
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
02 April 2004 (online)


This article reviews bioacoustic standards related to audiology. Specifically, it discusses what standards are, why we have standards, and how and by whom standards are developed. It discusses why such standards are necessary, how they are developed, and what should be remembered about standards and the standardization process. It provides a list of current American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards related to calibration and to the testing of hearing. It concludes that standards help make hearing testing more reliable and results easier to exchange.


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Laura Ann Wilber, Ph.D. 

Professor of Audiology and Hearing Sciences, Northwestern University

422 Skokie Boulevard

Wilmette, IL 60091-3003