World Famous Audiologist Dies at Age 100

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Published: 26 Nov 2014      

The famed American audiologist Marion Downs has died at the age of 100. Dr Downs' contributions to the science of audiology are immeasurable and she is credited with being the first doctor in the United States to implement an infant screening program that has since become the national standard for the country.

Previous to Dr Down's program, infants were often not tested as soon as possible once they were born, which led to a large volume of children in the US having various problems that may have been caught if they had been examined more quickly.

Today, following Dr Downs' work at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Centre, more than 95% of babies that are born in the country are screened within the first few hours of their lives, allowing for those with impairments being treated much more quickly. Specifically, children who are identified to have issues with their hearing can now be fitted with an implant soon after birth, ensuring that they avoid many of the speech and language issues that are associated with childhood hearing loss.

Dr Downs was also a renowned teacher and scholar, writing a number of books on the subject of audiology and teaching classes throughout the world in paediatric audiology. In fact, throughout the course of her career, Dr Downs authored more than 100 articles on the subject and also risked her life to provide care and education in Vietnam during the wartime era.

Her extensive work in the field led to her being awarded the Bonfils-Stanton Award for Science and Medicine in 2011 at the grand age of 97 and she leaves behind a legacy of altering the course of the audiology profession throughout the world.

Her seminal book "Hearing in Children" became one of the most popular and respected pieces of literature in relation to paediatric audiology and has been translated to a wide variety of languages since its release.

Dr Downs is survived by her three children, sixteen grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren, in addition to the Marion Downs Foundation, which was set up to continue advancement within the audiology field.

Sonographers Medical would like to express out condolences to Dr Downs' family and our deepest respect for her achievements.

If you wish to donate to the Marion Downs Foundation, be sure to visit the website at


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