Compared with many other health professions, audiology is a relatively young profession, emerging only a little more than 70 years ago. Because the use of hearing protection was not prevalent until the latter part of World War II, large numbers of veterans sustained permanent hearing loss from the weaponry of war. To address the influx of these hearing-injured service personnel reentering civilian life, otologists (physicians concerned with diseases of the ear) and speech pathologists working within the Veterans’ Administration hospitals in the United States established the first aural rehabilitation centers.

The military-based aural rehabilitation centers were so successful that following the war those involved in the centers’ development sought to expand hearing care services within the civilian sector, establishing hearing rehabilitative programs in communities around ...

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