Marion Downs

Marion Downs working with a hearing-impaired child.

National Public Radio (NPR) celebrated audiology legend Marion Downs with a December 28, 2014 broadcast by producer Becky Sullivan on its “All Things Considered” program. Marion Downs, who passed away in November 2014 at the age of 100, was a noted pediatric audiologist who advocated for newborns to be screened for hearing loss soon after birth.

NPR’s broadcast covers many highlights of Downs’ extraordinary life and career, including her audiology training, which began just after World War II. The radio broadcast and accompanying article on the NPR website recount how, in the early 1960s, Downs started testing newborns herself with horns and rattles. Many within the hearing industry already know that Downs had spent years pushing for early intervention for infants with hearing loss, because she believed critical language development occurs in early childhood. The NPR story relays how she spent much of her career visiting pediatricians and audiologists across the country, urging them to screen newborns. Eventually, technology was developed that made universal screening easier and more affordable.

To listen to the broadcast about this audiology pioneer, follow the NPR audio link, or visit the NPR website.

For more on Marion Downs, please see the November 13, 2014 article in The Hearing Review.

Source: NPR

Photo credit: Marion Downs Center