Paul Willoughby Jr

Paul Willoughby, Jr, (center) pictured with Tani Austin and cousin Bill Austin of Starkey Hearing Technologies.

Paul Willoughby Jr, a hearing aid specialist and expert in ENT and audiological issues, died on Saturday, September 14, due to complications following heart surgery. He was 78.

An constant fixture at hearing healthcare events and conventions for decades, Willoughby was known for his in-depth knowledge of hearing care topics, amazing memory, quick wit and friendly demeanor, and for his expert photographic skills (he frequently contributed photos for The Hearing Review and other publications).

Paul was born August 23, 1941, in Portland, Ore, into a family with deep roots in hearing healthcare. His father, Paul Willoughby, Sr, established Willoughby Hearing Aid Center in Eugene, Ore, in 1949, which is one of the oldest continually operated hearing aid practices in the United States, and Floyd Willoughby, was also a legend in the field (a posthumous recipient of the 2001 Hearing Review Professional Leadership Award). His cousin, Bill Austin, is the founder and CEO of Starkey Hearing Technologies, the fifth-largest hearing aid company in the world.

Paul attended Mt Hood Community College and was awarded his Oregon Society of Hearing Aid Consultants degree in February 1973. He then earned a PhD in Philosophy from Heed University in Hollywood, Fla, in August 1978. He would go on to enjoy a successful and celebrated career in the hearing healthcare industry, following in the footsteps of his father and cousin, and helping grow and expand the family business into other areas of the Pacific Northwest.

Paul was beloved throughout the industry for his many contributions. His sense of humor, infectious laughter, and love of capturing life’s events and moments with his camera were attributes that endeared him to people in all corners of the industry. Paul was a loyal member of both the International Hearing Society (IHS) and the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA). He was always an ardent supporter of the industry and an impassioned advocate for patients.

His many close friends and peers will miss Paul deeply and will always remember him for making the lives of everyone he touched better.