Personal Style and Hearing Aid Fitting
Dear Editor: In the article1 by Robert Traynor, EdD, in the August 2003 Hearing Review and in a subsequent letter2 published in the September/October edition of Audiology Today, Dr. Traynor made several serious errors in interpreting the data of my article3 in the July/August AT. He reported that my survey revealed “…substantially different stratification [than his study]…” and “…a high number of audiologists online are NTs…” (p 22).1 Tables III and IV of the AT article show NTs were a low number. The majority of audiologists online were SJs (38.7%) comprising: ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ and ISFJ. Of the four possible groups, NTs were second-to-last in numbers.

Dr. Traynor misses the fact that both of our studies showed SJs as the primary personality style (Carmen 38.7%; Traynor 56%), and both studies found the same “second-most-frequent” personality style among audiologists to be NFs (Carmen 36%; Traynor 21%). Furthermore, combined SJs and NFs comprised 75% of my subject population and 77% of his. This is tremendously high corroboration, not differences! The only meaningful difference was in distribution and not, as he stated, in stratification. In short, he based his erroneous conclusions (and statements in the related AT letter) on his own misinterpreted data. He concludes that I had “…[skewed] the survey toward those that are computer-minded…”1 The fundamental problem with this claim is that, in today’s world, most audiologists are computer-minded, because dispensing, audiology, neurotology, etc, require it. In my opinion, Traynor missed an extraordinary opportunity to show that two separate investigators found the same preponderance of personality styles among audiologists—with no meaningful differences in the data!

It is possible that some of this sharp commentary arose from my not mentioning the Traynor & Holmes4 article that was published in Trends in Amplification 2002. When I began my research into personality profiling a couple years ago, in addition to standard Medline-type searches, I conducted an extensive personal literature review in audiology, but did not find this Trends article at that time. Personal calls to those knowledgeable in the field turned up nothing relative to the personality-typing of hearing care professionals.

Critical thinking and expressed criticism is essential and beneficial to audiology when that commentary is well founded. However, with regard to Dr. Traynor’s negative comments, I believe any thoughtful review of the information from my study shows that the facts stand on their own merit.

–– Richard Carmen, Sedona, Ariz.

1. Traynor R. Personal style and hearing aid fitting. Hearing Review. 2003;10(9):22.
2. Traynor R. Response to Carmen. Audiol Today. 2003;15(5):9.
3. Carmen R. Personality types among audiologists using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Audiol Today. 2003;15(4):14-19.
4. Traynor R & Holmes A. Personal styles and hearing aid fitting. Trends Amplif. 2002;6(1):1-31.