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

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