H. Wayne Rudmose

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H. Wayne Rudmose
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Cisco, Texas
Alma materUniversity of Texas
  • Acoustics
  • Inventors

H. Wayne Rudmose (1915-2006), a pioneer in the field of acoustics, was the inventor of the automatic audiometer, a device to measure hearing with more precision than previous devices. He also was a leader in the effort to protect industrial workers from excessive noise and developed a device to test hearing in newborn infants.

Rudmose was born in Cisco, Texas, and enrolled at the age of 16 at the University of Texas at Austin where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in physics. He received a scholarship to Harvard University where his studies to obtain a Ph.D in physics were interrupted by World War II.[1]

During the war Rudmose worked in the Harvard Cruft Laboratory under Dr. Leo Beranek and investigated vibration and noise levels that interfered with communication between crew members in airplanes and aboard aircraft carriers. [2]He completed his Ph.D at Harvard in 1946 and returned to Texas where he joined the physics faculty at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas.

While teaching at SMU he developed instruments for measuring sound and formed a consulting business, Rudmose Associates. Rudmose consulted on many private and public projects that included designing the sound systems for Dallas' Love Field Airport, the San Juan Puerto Rico Airport, and the SMU Coliseum. His work at Love Field applied new theories in acoustic equalization of sound.[3] He was granted a leave of absence from SMU in 1953 to collect data from industrial sites throughout the United States to assist a subcommittee of the American Standards Association that was measuring hearing loss from exposure to industrial noise.[4][5]

During this time he developed the first variable pulse audiometer that added automation to the manual audiometers then being used to test hearing. Manual audiometers required the individual being tested to raise a finger when a tone was heard and for an operator to record each indication by the subject, often resulting in data recording errors. Rudmose's device allowed the individual being tested to press a button on a hand switch when the tone was audible and the results were recorded on a data punch card, thereby eliminating operator errors. The automated audiometer was first tested at the 1955 Wisconsin State Fair and was initially used by the Air Force and school systems.[6]

Rudmose Associates was acquired by Tracor, Inc., an electronics defense contractor in Austin, Texas, in 1963. Rudmose joined Tracor and became Group Vice President of Science and Systems, a position he held until his retirement in 1980. While at Tracor he continued his study of acoustics and the effects of noise on hearing and developed the Warblet, a device that generated a loud tone so that observers could observe the reactions of newborns to the sound and detect hearing irregularities.[7]


  1. Oakes, Melvin (21 September 2023). ""University of Texas Harald Wayne (Jones) Rudmose March 16, 1915-March 26, 2006"". The History of the University of Texas at Austin Department of Physics. Retrieved 21 September 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. Traynor, Robert (7 November 2018). ""Aircraft Noise Reduction During World War II"". Hearing Health and Technology Matters. Retrieved 21 September 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. Bohn, Dennis (1997). ""Operator Adjustable Equalizers: An Overview"". Retrieved 21 September 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. Sataloff, Robert and Joseph (2006). Occupation Hearing Loss (3rd ed.). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. p. 403. ISBN 9780429118906.
  5. Broadbent, D.E. (7 December 1956). "Noise and Behaviour". Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine. Retrieved 21 September 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. Brannon, Marie (28 April 2009). "Rudmose Associates Audiometers First Introduced in the 1960s". Retrieved 21 September 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. Gerber, Sanford (21 September 2023). "Neonatal Auditory Testing: A Review" (PDF). Conference on Newborn Hearing Screening 1971. Retrieved 21 September 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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