Anna Nabelek PhD (March 1, 1934 – May 2, 2015)

Distinguished University of Tennessee Audiology researcher Anna K Nabelek PhD passed away Saturday, May 2nd at the age of 81.

From her obituary in the Knoxville News-Sentinal:

Anna Nabelek PhD

Anna Nabelek PhD (March 1, 1934 – May 2, 2015)

Anna [Karczewska-Nabelek] graduated with a Ph.D. degree in acoustics from the Technical University in Warsaw in 1959. She worked in Warsaw until 1966 at the Polish Academy of Sciences. Anna married Igor during that year and moved to Bratislava, Slovakia, where she worked at the Slovak Academy of Sciences. In 1967, she and Igor were invited to be Visiting Scholars at the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis. To escape communism in Central Europe, the whole family decided to remain in the United States. Anna obtained a fellowship at Gallaudet College for the Deaf in Washington, D.C., followed by a year at the Veterans Administration Hospital. In 1973, Anna and Igor moved to Knoxville, which they made their home for rest of their lives. Anna became a Research Professor at the University of Tennessee in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, where she worked until her retirement. Although she suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis for several decades, she became recognized worldwide for her research on hearing. For her contributions to research and mentoring of students, she was given awards by the University of Tennessee and the American Association of Retired People. She was an honorary fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association. Anna enjoyed arts and was a member of the Knoxville Opera Guild and a supporter of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Anna was a member of local Catholic parishes, was a benefactor for construction of the St. John Neumann Church and School, and a supporter of several charitable organizations. A memorial Mass for Anna will be held at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, 711 Northshore Drive, Knoxville on Saturday May 9, 2015 at 11:00 AM, with Father David Boettner officiating. Following the Mass, the family will receive friends in the Shea Room of the Parish Offices. Her ashes will be interred in her family grave in Poland.


Dr. Anna K. Nabelek’s research interests are in the area of hearing aid efficacy and evaluation of hearing aid outcome procedures, specifically acceptable noise level (ANL),  a subject on which we have written extensively. Current ANL research is examining the effect of amplification on ANL, the comparison of ANL to other predictive/outcome measures in audiology, and the predictive value of ANL. Dr. Nabelek has directed and sponsored many grants in this area. She has also directed numerous student research projects and has served as a committee member for various other projects. Dr. Nabelek has received external support to fund her career, fellow colleagues, and students over the last 20 years.

Recent Honors and Awards:

  • Career Research Award, American Academy of Audiology (2001) Reviewer for professional journals including The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
  • Notable University of Tennessee Woman (2003)
  • Fellow, Acoustical Society of America
  • Reyaldenhoven MC, Nabelek AK, Plyler PN. (2005). Faculty Sponsor: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award.•NIH, NIDCD Grant number: RO1 DC005018 (09/10/2001-08/31/04) New Test for Predicting Hearing Aid Use: This project determined that acceptance of background noise while listening to speech is related to hearing aid use, which led to the development of a model for predicting success with hearing aids. The PI’s role in this investigation was design, design implementation, supervision of data collection, data analysis, and project reporting.
  • NIH NIDCD. Grant number RO1 DC005018S (Supplement) (09/10/2001-08/31/04) Acceptance of Background Noise with Different Hearing Aid Circuits (Research Supplement for Graduate Research Assistant, Melinda C. Freyaldenhoven, M.A.): This investigation determined that acceptance of background noise is capable of quantifying hearing aid directional benefit. The PI’s role in this investigation was design, design implementation, supervision of data collection, data analysis, and project reporting.

You can read about Dr Nabelek’s many other accomplishments on her UT web page.

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About the author

Dan Schwartz

Electrical Engineer, via Georgia Tech

One Comment

  1. Marco Cociglio
    May 9, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    ANL still one of the best tool that I’m using everyday! Thanks

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