I've been listening to some terrific audiology lectures thanks to the Commonwealth Club of California, "the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum." In May 2008, they offered a "Hearing Miniseries," in which three hearing specialists spoke for about an hour each on various aspects of hearing and hearing-related issues.
1. "How Hearing and the Brain Changes with Age," by Robert W. Sweetow, PhD, Director of Audiology at the UCSF Medical Center on May 15, 2008. Sweetow explains how hearing works, and notes that some age-related hearing problems are due to deterioration of the hearing systems in the ear. Other issues, he says, are more brain-related, because the brain is slower to process information as we age, and this includes processing sound and turning it into something meaningful. You can listen to the audio on the Commonwealth Club web site in real audio, purchase a CD of the lecture ($15), or look for it in iTunes (mp3). His part starts about 5 minutes into the ~66 minute lecture.
#2: "Cochlear Implants: Where Are we in 2008," by Lawrence Lustig, M.D., Division Chief of Otology, Nuerotology and Skull Base Surgery, UCSF, on May 22, 2008. Lustig explains what cochlear implants are and how they work, providing some history and some ideas of the future of cochlear implants. He brought two patients with him who talk briefly about what it was like to get cochlear implants and what effect the implants had on their hearing. You can listen to the audio on the Commonwealth Club web site in real audio, purchase a CD of the lecture ($15), or look for it in iTunes (mp3). His part starts about 6 minutes into the ~65 minute lecture.
#3: "The Future of Hearing: A Sound Investment," by Rodney Perkins M.D., Founder and Chairman of Sound ID, on May 28, 2008. Perkins talked about "hearing devices" (he abhors the term "hearing aids") in general, and then about two devices that his companies are working on. I liked his speaking style -- and I really liked his discussion of why dogs (and, I would argue, cats) perk their ears in different directions (to pinpoint the location of sound). You can listen to the audio on the Commonwealth Club via iTunes or via mp3. His part starts 4 minutes into the ~59 minute lecture.
I'd recommend these lectures to people who are personally interested in hearing -- either because they or someone they know is suffering from hearing loss, or because they are studying hearing / audiology and want some basic information presented in an engaging way. Of course, they're also very helpful for librarians supporting hearing professionals of all stripes.