Alumna Jean Lovrinic’s impact on hearing science spans decades

Professional headshot of Jean Lovrinic on red background.

Alumna Jean Lovrinic’s impact on hearing science spans decades

15 Jun 2022     By Haley Apel

Jean Lovrinic spent over 50 years studying and teaching hearing science. The Nebraska-native is a world-renowned expert in her field. She’s also known for never resting on her strengths, rather she uses them to create innovative and engaging ways to learn for the next generation.

Lovrinic grew up in the small southwest Nebraska town of Hamlet. She came to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where she graduated in 1962 with a bachelor of science degree in education (English) and a master of arts degree in speech pathology and audiology. Those days she split her time between campus and the Nebraska State Capitol, where she worked as a secretary for Frank Marsh Jr., Nebraska’s Secretary of State.

“I enjoyed my time in Lincoln, but I was very busy,” she recalled. “Between my studies and completing dictation for Frank, my days were full!”

Lovrinic went on to earn a doctorate in audiology from the University of Pittsburgh. She then joined the faculty at Temple University in Philadelphia, where she was part of the School of Medicine. She taught both undergraduate and graduate students training to become speech language pathologists, audiologists, physicians, neuropsychologists, and other related careers.

She enjoyed the work, but it wasn’t long after she became a faculty member that Lovrinic became frustrated about the lack of relevant training resources available to support her teaching.

“At the time, no books existed that covered all of the relevant areas of hearing science,” Lovrinic said. “We needed a book that wasn’t so complicated and difficult. College students needed to understand the concepts that were being presented.”

Finding nothing that met the need, Lovrinic teamed up with John Durrant, professor of communication science and disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. Together the two began working on their book, Bases of Hearing Science, which was published in 1977. Written as an introductory textbook for beginning audiologist and otology students, the book covers the basic and applied physics, acoustics, anatomy, neuroanatomy, physiology, electrophysiology, and psychoacoustics.

Bases of Hearing Science became a relied-upon resource used by students studying hearing science. One of those students was Husker Sherri Jones, who noted the book never left her side while she earned her bachelor’s in speech-language pathology and audiology, master’s in audiology, and a doctorate in psychological and cultural studies with an audiology and hearing science emphasis. Today Jones serves as dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at Nebraska and Velma Warren Hodder Professor.

“Jean Lovrinic was a huge inspiration for me to go into hearing science,” Jones said. “Her book was used by audiologists in-training for decades and contributed greatly to the advancement of the field.”

Lovrinic and Durrant later wrote a second and third edition of Bases of Hearing Sciences. The book was also published in several languages and used around the globe. Lovrinic retired in 2000 after a 34-year career on the Temple faculty. Today, she resides with her husband William, in Sun City, Arizona. The couple continues to foster the growth and development of future hearing science professionals through their financial support of fellowships for graduate students in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at Nebraska.

“I’ve always enjoyed seeing the eagerness to learn from college students,” Lovrinic said. “It’s very hopeful and motivating.”

College of Education and Human Sciences
Special Education and Communication Disorders