Dianne Bernath (nee Quinn), age 72, passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 20, in Stoney Lake, Ontario, after a brave battle with cancer. Bernath was a long-time prominent figure within the International Hearing Society (IHS), serving as treasurer of IHS and as the organization’s first Canadian governor. She remained active in her profession and was well known for her dedication to raising educational standards and establishing educational programs for hearing aid specialists in both the United States and her native Canada. In recognition of her achievements, she was honored with the Joel S. Wernick Award for Dispenser Education by Hearing Journal Publisher Jerry Laux at the 50th annual IHS Convention in 2001.
“Dianne was also instrumental in unifying the 4 to 5 different groups in Ontario to become the Association of Hearing Instrument Practitioners (AHIP) of Ontario,” said Jay B. McSpaden, PhD, in a phone conversation with The Hearing Review. “Beyond that, she was just a very smart and very nice woman. She had been trained at George Brown University back when it was a 3-year degree program in hearing instrument sciences. In fact, she and her husband, Steve, and daughter Kelly were among the first to have a 2-year-or-better education in hearing instrument sciences, and this was an extremely rigorous educational program featuring courses that were really no different from our graduate-level curriculum—except that it lasted for 3 years.
“Besides her important work with IHS and [AHIP],” continued Dr McSpaden, “she was also involved in a lot of work with other provinces, notably Alberta and British Columbia. She had a great desire for instilling better training and educational standards for hearing care practitioners.”
Bernath leaves behind her husband of 43 years, Stephen; daughter Kelly Morgan-Batten (Kevin); and her sons Richard Bernath (Mark) and James Bernath (Ozzie); grandchildren Douglas, Kendra (Sam), and Bryan; sisters Carole Quinn, Kathryn Fellows, Sharon Butler, Paula Meier, and Margaret Hewitt. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews. Bernath was predeceased by her brothers, James and Richard.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Ms Bernath was a founder of the Canadian Hearing Society. HR apologizes for the error.