Doreen M. Pollack was a dedicated medical professional who helped people to reach their full potential. As a trailblazer, she challenged the medical community’s conventional belief that there was no effective treatment for the profoundly deaf. Pollack’s groundbreaking textbook on the auditory-verbal approach in 1970 became the number one book used internationally in universities and professional training programs. She received numerous accolades, including honors from the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Colorado Governor John Vanderhoof. Families and audiologists came to Denver from throughout the world to attend Pollack’s workshops. Her 10 principles for practicing Auditory-Verbal Therapy remain the global standard for teaching children who are deaf to listen and talk. Pollack’s methods led to the establishment of the Listen Foundation, an organization providing funding for children in need of therapy for nearly 50 years.
Pollack immigrated to the U.S. from England, educated in speech pathology and therapy. She earned a B.A. degree in 1961 from the University of Denver. Pollack began her work in Colorado with speech therapy at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver. In 1965 she became the Director of Speech and Hearing Services at Porter Memorial Hospital in Englewood.
Pollack fought for the hearing testing of newborns and placement of hearing-impaired children in mainstream classrooms. She was a founding board member of International Committee of Auditory-Verbal Communication and Auditory-Verbal International and honored as Director Emeritus of A-VI.
Pollack dedicated her life to her three children, grandchildren, and to hundreds of others who would not have been able to learn to listen and talk if not for her passion and brilliance.
Pollack persisted through severe medical issues of her own, including kidney disease and the adult onset of polio. Her legacy can be summed up by one of her first students, “Doreen left a legacy to all of us who will always be indebted to her for giving us lives full of sounds that have meaning, are full of friendships, and love. Doreen Pollack instilled in me perseverance, dedication …and a belief that I could become the person I was meant to be.”