Samuel B. Burchfield, Ph.D.

Field Specialty

Pediatric audiology, aural rehabilitation, and pre-linguistic development.  Current research projects are examining the relationship between syllable perception and production in infants with hearing loss as well as assessment methods used in pediatric populations.

Research Interests

Dr. Burchfield, after a thirty year career in didactic and clinical teaching,  is working on the Acceptable Noise Level (ANL) program with Dr. Anna Nabelek. The aim of this  endeavor is to determine if people reject hearing aids because of their inability to accept  background noise. Acceptance of background noise has been found to be a stable but highly individualistic  response. Three independent preliminary investigations, using small subject cohorts, have shown that successful hearing aid users accept more background noise than unsuccessful users. The relationship between background noise acceptance and hearing aid use is currently being examined in a cohort of over 200 subjects (National Institute On Deafness and other Communication Disorders, NIH,  R01 DC05018).

The relationship between acceptance of background noise and hearing aid directivity is also currently being examined in a companion project (National Institute On Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, NIH, R01 DC05018S).


  • B.S.; Speech and Hearing, East Tennessee State University; 1966
  • M.S.; Audiology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; 1967
  • Ph.D.; Hearing and Speech Science, Michigan State University; 1970

Recent Honors and Awards

  • SARIF (1999) Equipment and Infrastructure Fund Proposal (with Anna Nabelek).

  • NIH, Grant (RO1 DC05018, 2001): New test for predicting hearing aid use (with Anna Nabelek).

  • NIH, RO1 Grant Supplement (3 RO1 DC05018-01S1, 2002): New test for predicting hearing aid use (with Anna Nabelek).

Representative Publications

  • Plyler, Burchfield, and Thelin (1998) Telephone Communication with IN-The-Ear Hearing Aids Using Acoustic and Electromagnetic Coupling. JAAA. 9 (6) 434-444.

  • Norwood-Chapman, L and Burchfield, S. (1999). Nursing Home Personnel Knowledge and Attitudes About Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids. Gerontology and Geriatric Education, 20 (2) 37-47.

  • Rogers, Harkrider, Burchfield, and Nabelek (Accepted 2002) JAAA. The influence of listener’s sex on the acceptance of background noise.

  • Rogers DS, Harkrider AW, Burchfield SB, Nabelek AK. (2003) The influence of listener's gender on the acceptance of background noise. JAAA 14:374-385.

  • Nabelek AK, Tampas JW, Burchfield SB. (2004) Comparison of speech perception in background noise with acceptance of background noise in aided and unaided conditions. JSLHR 47:1001-1011.

  • Freyaldenhoven MC, Nabelek AK, Burchfield SB, Thelin JW. (2005). Acceptable noise level (ANL) as a measure of directional benefit. JAAA 16(4) 228-236.

  • Freyaldenhoven MC, Thelin JW, Plyler PN, Nabelek AK, Burchfield SB. (in press). Effect of stimulant medication on the acceptance of background noise in individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. JAAA.

  • Freyaldenhoven MC, Plyler PN, Thelin JW, Nabelek AK, Burchfield SB. (in press). The effects of venting and low frequency gain compensation on performance in noise with directional hearing instruments. JAAA.

  • Nabelek AK, Freyaldenhoven MC, Tampas JW, Burchfield SB, Muenchen RA. (2005). Acceptable noise level as a predictor of hearing aid use. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Courses Taught

  • ASP 303 - Introduction to Hearing Science
  • ASP 493 - Independent Study
  • ASP 499 - Senior Seminar In Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • ASP 500 - Thesis
  • ASP 543 - Amplification Technology for The Hearing Impaired
  • ASP 544 - Amplification Management for The Hearing Impaired
  • ASP 546 - Advanced Audiometry
  • ASP 547 - Laboratory in Amplification for The Hearing Impaired
  • ASP 600 - Doctoral Research and Dissertation
  • ASP 655 - Practicum in College Teaching
  • ASP 656 - Directed Research
  • ASP 660 - Directed Study in Hearing Science

Contact Information

Samuel B. Burchfield
Associate Professor of Audiology (Retired)

Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology
University of Tennessee
442 South Stadium Hall
Knoxville, TN 37996-0740

Phone: (865) 974-4123