Phonak, Warrenville, Ill, awarded its first Phonak Lifetime Achievement Award to Patricia Stelmachowicz, PhD, for more than 40 years of exceptional contribution to pediatric audiology at its 6th International Pediatric Conference, “A Sound Foundation Through Early Amplification,” held December 8-11 in Chicago.
Pictured from left to right: Ora Buerkli-Halevy, Phonak AG; Award recipient Patricia Stelmachowicz, Boys Town National Research Hospital; Mary Pat Moeller, Boys Town National Research Hospital; Anne Marie Tharpe, Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, Vanderbilt University
Stelmachowicz received the award and a standing ovation by hundreds of her peers at the conference. Her close colleague and longtime friend, Mary Pat Moeller, PhD, director of the Center for Childhood Deafness and director of the Infant Language Development Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital, feted the inaugural recipient by sharing career highlights with attendees before Stelmachowicz was presented the award by Ora Buerkli-Halevy, Phonak AG’s vice president of brand management.
“Dr Stelmachowicz is truly an outstanding professional and researcher who has sustained a most remarkable and productive career, with significant contributions across several domains,” says Richard C. Seewald, PhD, distinguished professor emeritus at the National Centre for Audiology at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. “She was responsible for the development and administration of one of, if not the highest quality clinical service delivery units in pediatric audiology in the world.”
Stelmachowicz is director of audiology services and the Hearing & Amplification Research Lab at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Throughout her career, she has been published extensively in a variety of areas of clinical practice. Her research work in pediatric speech perception and amplification is highly translational and continually referenced. The National Institutes of Health has validated the quality of her research by awarding her continuous support over most of her career—a rare accomplishment achieved by few researchers in the country.
According to Phonak, one such example of Stelmachowicz’s research excellence was her first in a series of papers on the aided perception of high-frequency speech sounds by children with hearing loss, which served as critical data to support the development of the breakthrough technology SoundRecover, a non-linear frequency compression algorithm that has improved the quality of life for children with hearing loss around the world by providing audibility of the full speech spectrum and enhancing the listening experience.
Another unique aspect of her career is the wide range of research collaborators with whom she has worked over the years, a testament to the quality of her research and her wonderful camaraderie. Additionally, Stelmachowicz has been a stellar mentor of students and colleagues and an exemplary role model for other clinical researchers. Included among her many awards are the Editor’s Award in Hearing from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Editor’s Awards from Ear and Hearing, and the Research Achievement Award from the American Academy of Audiology.
Dr Stelmachowicz received her PhD in Hearing Science from the University of Iowa and both her Master of Science degree in Audiology and Bachelor of Science degree in Hearing and Speech Science from Colorado State University.