Monday, September 29, 2014

Welcome Dr. Lindsay Miller to the Center for Hearing & Speech

Lindsay Miller, Au.D., CCA-A, has joined the Center for Hearing & Speech as an audiologist.

A native St. Louisan, Dr. Miller is a graduate of Lutheran South High School. She completed her undergraduate studies at Murray State University in Kentucky, and earned her doctorate in audiology from the University of Louisville in 2012.

Since then, she’s been employed at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.  Her caseload included working with clients ranging from newborns to 21-year-olds, testing hearing and fitting hearing aids, both bone anchored and traditional. She was also a member of the hospital’s cleft lip, palate and craniofacial team.

She moved back to St. Louis to work and be closer to her family.  “I’m excited to be at the Center for Hearing & Speech,” she said.

“I’m excited to have Dr. Miller here,” said Dr. Rebecca Frazier, the Center’s Chief Audiologist.  “I’m looking forward to working with her and sharing her experiences with the pediatric population.”

Dr. Miller is an avid runner.  “I’ll have to pick up more hobbies,” she quipped.

Founded in 1920, the Center for Hearing & Speech provided approximately $1.5 million in audiology, speech and school screening services to residents of metropolitan St. Louis and surrounding communities in 2013. 

It’s a proud member of the United Way.

The Center can be reached at 314-968-4710 or on the web at


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Part 2 - History of the Center for Hearing & Speech

The Center added the Industrial Hearing Conservation Program in 1972.  It has two mobile units that travel throughout metropolitan St. Louis testing the hearing of employees exposed to high noise levels in their jobs.  Approximately 25,000 people are serviced every year, and the program provides about one-third of the Center’s annual budget. 

At about the same time the Center’s Audiology Department began dispensing hearing aids and offering scholarships to those who needed them. 
When the Center’s former home, Old Sportsmen’s Park in North County, closed, it moved to its present location in Rock Hill.  The Center continues to maintain an office in St. Louis city.

In the early 1980’s and in a three-year contractual partnership with the United Way and United Cerebral Palsy, the Center for Hearing & Speech seeded United Services, the first non-profit in St. Charles County.  The agency provides hearing and speech services.  It continues its mission today, but is no longer affiliated with its St. Louis parent.

In 1998, the Center added testing for middle ear function to the array of screening services it provides to St. Louis area school children.

In 1999, the Center embedded speech/language pathologists in area schools.  Today the Center has off-site partnerships with Agape Academy; Grace Hill Head Start; Grace Hill Child Development Center (two locations); City Academy; Hilltop Child Development Center; Lemay Child and Family Center; St. Cecelia School and Academy; Stella Maris Child Center; Tower Grove Christian Preschool; and Blossom Wood Day School.

*The same year, the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) changed its bylaws to require the Au.D. Degree for new fellow members by 2001.  After a decade-plus of study, ADA determined a master’s degree did not provide adequate preparation for work in the audiology field. The Center currently has five audiologists on staff.

In July 2013 the Center partnered with Grace Hill Health Centers and the Murphy O’Fallon Health Center in North City to provide all the services it offers clients who come to the main facility in Rock Hill.

Last year the Center participated in more than 170 health fairs and related community events. It provided free health fair hearing tests to 388 individuals.

Community assistance from last year includes:

A total of 1,571 clients were served by our audiologists, 61 percent of whom received some type of financial scholarship.  The department dispensed 613 hearing aids, 86 percent of which were provided via financial assistance.  Total value of services provided was in excess of $650,000.

Speech/Language pathologists served 375 speech clients and 281 speech therapy clients. They provided 3,278 speech therapy sessions.  The total value of financial scholarships offered by this department was $225,000.

The school screening program served 11,322 students, 77 percent of which were provided through financial scholarship.  Approximately eight percent of these students did not pass the hearing screening.  The total value of financial scholarships offered through the program was just shy of $60,000.

A total of 25,000 industrial workers were tested by Center staff.  The Industrial Hearing Conservation Program visits work sites within a 250-mile radius of St. Louis.  This program provides approximately one-third of the Center’s total operating budget.

Since the agency is the only one of its kind in the area, it’s not unusual for clients to drive 100 miles or more to receive services, said Executive Director Rita Tintera. 

“Although there will be changes in technology and possibly methodology in treating individuals with hearing and speech deficits, the Center offers consistency, longevity and an open door for people who can’t access our services without financial assistance,” she added.  
*information provided by

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Part 1 - History of The Center for Hearing & Speech

The Center for Hearing & Speech was founded in 1920 and originally operated as The St. Louis League For The Hard of Hearing, Inc. (SLLHH).  It was endorsed by the St. Louis Medical Society, the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce and the St. Louis Community Council.

The St. Louis organization was patterned after a group put together in New York several years prior to World War I by Edward B. Nitchie. The graduate of Amherst College experienced significant hearing loss in his teens. Nitchie took lip reading classes after graduation and in 1903 opened a school for lip reading. He also tried to help hearing impaired men find work, a task he was many times unable to tackle.

The teachers and students at his school organized fundraisers for scholarships and social groups for the hearing impaired. He reached out to employers. In 1913, he founded the New York League for The Hard of Hearing. The American Society for The Hard of Hearing was founded in 1919. By 1940, almost every major city and many smaller communities in the United States had organizations dedicated to providing quality of life for the hearing and speech impaired.

The mission of SLLHH was clear from the beginning:  focus on helping individuals with communication disorders.

In May 1926 SLLHH observed “Watch Your Hearing” week. The first event of its kind in the nation, it quickly spread and next year was observed throughout the United States. Among other things, the week was dedicated to conferences, educating the public and news media about conservation of hearing, especially in children, and publicizing the need to test the hearing of all school-age children. In 1936 Franklin Roosevelt was the first American president to endorse Hearing Week.

SLLHH pioneer members established lip reading classes in Roosevelt; Sumner; Beaumont; Soldan; and Vashon high schools in St. Louis. The classes met for two hours, two days per week and cost $1 per semester. Summer lip reading classes were available as well.

SLLHH sponsored weekly open houses; a Bridge Club; a Voice Class; and a Bible Class at its facilities on Westminster Place. In 1940 members started an Outing Club for 20-something’s to get together, tour area attractions and socialize.

In the 1950’s, SLLHH was renamed the Center for Hearing & Speech.  Up until this time the agency only provided services to the hearing impaired. It now added speech and language services to community members who needed them.
The Center for Hearing & Speech started the first speech/language preschool in St. Louis for the hard of hearing.  The school was closed when public schools took on the task of providing services to children with hearing and speech deficits.

In 1968 the Junior League of St. Louis, (JLSL) the United Fund and private donors gave $43,000 to the St. Louis Hearing & Speech Center to purchase a large white van that traveled to schools throughout the area testing student’s hearing.   “We put that handsome piece of equipment in the same class with yachts and Rolls Royces,” JLSL member Judith Engelsmann said in a February 1969 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. JLSL so strongly believed hearing impaired children needed diagnosis and treatment that its members, along with a professional audiologist, staffed the van five days per week.

Part 2 of The History of the Center for Hearing & Speech will post on Thursday, September 25.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Check Out Your Hearing At The Library Next Week??

The library is usually the place to go to pick up a good book, do some research, meet a favorite author or perhaps join a reading group.

Next week you can have your hearing tested there as well.

Sponsored by the Center for Hearing & Speech, the “Hear Today, Hear Tomorrow!” event runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, September 24 at the St. Louis Public Library Central Branch, 1301 Olive Street. It features free hearing screenings for children and adults, plus a presentation followed by a question and answer session led by Dr. Rebecca Frazier, chief audiologist at the Center.  The event will take place in the library’s Training Room. 
“I’m excited to help educate the St. Louis City community about hearing loss, the prevention of hearing loss and overall ear health,” Dr. Frazier said. “We want people to know about the audiology clinic at the Grace Hill Murphy O’Fallon Health Center.” Open since July 2013, it’s located at 1717 Biddle Street in north St. Louis.  The clinic serves clients who can’t access services available at the Center’s main facility in Rock Hill. 
Dr. Frazier will talk about hearing health and maintenance; hearing loss; hearing aids; and financial assistance.  Participants are invited to ask questions both during and after her presentation. “I thrive on that (interaction),” she said.

The free hearing screenings are offered to the first 30 individuals who call and register at the Center for Hearing & Speech at 314-968-4710. 

Founded in 1920, the Center is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that last year provided approximately $1.5 million in audiology, speech therapy and school screening services to residents in the greater metropolitan St. Louis area and surrounding communities.  Since its inception, its goal is to provide quality of life to children and adults with hearing and speech deficits, regardless of one’s ability to pay.

The Center for Hearing & Speech is a proud member of the United Way, and receives a major portion of its funding from the agency.

For more information about the event, please call us at 314-968-4710, or log on to our website at

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Meet Our Contributors

We have a great team of experienced writers who will talk about what's currently going on at the Center and, in some cases, tell you about plans for the future.

Rita Tintera is Executive Director of the Center for Hearing & Speech.

A native St. Louisan, Rita attended Fontbonne University.  She has worked at the Center since 1970 in a variety of capacities. This is her 20th year serving the Center as Executive Director.

Although funding sources and number of clients served has grown steadily during her tenure, Rita says the mission of the organization remains what it was when the center was first founded:  helping individuals with communications disorders regardless of one’s ability to pay.   

Martha Coleman is Communications and Volunteer Manager of the Center for Hearing & Speech.

A native St. Louisan, Martha graduated from Kirkwood High School in 2005 and Truman State University in 2009.  She has worked at the Center in various capacities for the past five years.
In her current role, and among other duties, she recruits and trains volunteers and develops and executes communications strategies across print and social media platforms.

Martha’s guilty pleasure:  watching ABC’s Bachelor In Paradise, which is just about to air its final episode of the season. Newly engaged, she and her fiance' are planning a fall 2015 wedding.     

Julie Conrey is a new volunteer in the Communications and Marketing Department at the Center for Hearing & Speech. 

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, the mother of four is a freelance writer, editor and blogger. 

She resides in Chesterfield with her husband Kevin, daughter Mariah, two dogs and a year-old-plus cat named Tubby who sometimes graces family members with his ‘pleasant’ disposition. 

Kelsey Dentinger was the Center's marketing volunteer this summer but after accepting a job at KSDK News Channel 5 as a Production Assistant, she plans to stay with us as a contributor to our blog!

She recently earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from DePauw University, majoring in political broadcast journalism.

Kelsey spends her free time playing with her dog, Ziggy Joe Toronto, watching Netflix and enjoying St. Louis's many festivals.